Summary for Tegenaria gigantea (Araneae)
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About this speciesRecorded altitude range
0m to 400m
T. gigantea is widespread across eastern, central and northern England, but more sporadic in Scotland and the west. In mainland Europe, the natural range seems to be confined to France and the Iberian Peninsula although it has been reported in a number of other countries (Maurer 1992; Croucher, Oxford & Searle, unpublished), apparently as a result of importation.
Habitat and ecology
The species is often found in houses, garages and sheds. It also occurs in areas far from human habitation throughout its range (cf Roberts 1995), where it inhabits rock, stone and tree crevices, overhanging banks, rabbit holes and very dense vegetation (Roberts 1995). Within houses, the species is most often noticed in autumn when males wander freely in search of the more sedentary females. Mating occurs in autumn and females over-winter with stored sperm. In spring, with increasing temperature and food supply, egg-sacs are produced over an extended period. Growth to maturity usually takes two years. Males die after mating but females may live for a further year or more. The total number of instars to maturity can vary widely, which explains the large differences in size often found in mature individuals (Merrett 1980). Where this species overlaps geographically with the closely related Tegenaria saeva, hybrids can form and may be common in some areas e.g. central Yorkshire (Oxford & Smith 1987; Oxford & Plowman 1991). Adults of both sexes have mostly been recorded in late summer and autumn.
Very common where it occurs.
Original author of profile: G. Oxford.
Text based on Harvey, P.R., Nellist, D.R. & Telfer, M.G. (eds) 2002. Provisional atlas of British spiders (Arachnida, Araneae), Volumes 1 & 2. Huntingdon: Biological Records Centre. References