Classified by many as Malthonica silvestris (since 2005), the Wood House Spider (Tegenaria silvestris), has since been reclassified in the Tegenaria genus. This puts it in the same genus as the so-called 'house spiders', although it is not one to be found in the home. Species living in association with humans are called synanthropic.
HABITAT AND DISTRIBUTION
The wood house spider is usually found further away from houses than other Tegenaria, preferring the woodlands, caves and forest edges, where it can be found under bark, stones, logs and detritus. It prefers the damper areas such as ditches and low vegetation. Found throughout the southern part of the UK (rare in the north), this species is also found across Europe and into the Ukraine and Moldavia.
Similar in appearance to the Giant House Spider (Eratigena duellica), this species has an overall light brown to reddish-brown appearance with a darker brown abdomen. The carapace has a series of dark brown lines or bands, and the abdomen has a series of pale chevrons or spots, sometimes with a median band (running from the cephalothorax to the rear of the abdomen). The dark and light yellow-grey banded legs (annulated) help distinguish this species from most other similar Tegenaria and Eritagena. The male appears almost identical to the female only smaller and slightly darker in colour. The female averages 6 - 9mm in length with the smaller male reaching 5 - 6mm.
DIET, BEHAVIOUR AND REPRODUCTION
The wood house spider builds sheet webs, with a funnel retreat. Its prey consists of insects and invertebrates. This species is of little concern to humans as it poses no threat.
OTHER NOTABLE FACTS
The wood house spider is also rather similar to the Charcoal Spider (Tegenaria ferruginea) but the latter is a lot darker, larger and may have a reddish median band on the abdomen.