Black House Spider

The Black House Spider (Badumna insignis) is a species of arachnid that is found in Australia. It is found throughout much of Australia and prefers urban habitat mostly. They build their webs on tree trunks, logs, rock walls, and buildings (walls crevices and window frames). In the bush, this species prefers trees with rough bark which provide good shelter. Trees that have been attacked by wood-boring insects are also make good homes for this species, as the sap flowing from the bored holes attracts other insects that the spider can easily prey upon. They also feed on household pests that are attracted to the light of windows and lamps. Their enemies include the White-tailed Spider, as well as parasitic wasps and flies.

The Black House Spider is a dark colored spider. The female is up to 0.7 inches long, while the male is only about half that size. The carapace and legs are dark brown to black, and the abdomen is charcoal gray with white dorsal markings. The venom of this spider is not considered dangerous to humans, although a bite can be quite painful and may cause swelling and infection. Symptoms from a bite might include nausea, vomiting, sweating and giddiness. In rare cases, skin lesions have developed after multiple bites.

This spider builds a messy triangular web that is usually stretched out in the corner of walls, windows, or tree limbs. Somewhere in the web is a funnel-shaped entrance to the nest, where the spider spends most of its time, waiting for prey to happen along. These webs are often confused with the webs of Funnel-web Spiders. The female spider never leaves the web unless forced to, but keeps on repairing it, which makes the web seem messy or untidy. Old webs can look gray and woolly from constant additions of silk.

Mating males search for females and their webs. The male plucks the web of the female to attract her attention. Once the male is sure the female will be receptive, he can safely approach and inseminate her. They may stay together for several days and continue to mate several times. The female constructs several white silk egg sacs, which are secured within the web retreat. The female stays with the eggs until they hatch. The spiderlings disperse upon hatching. The spiders mature over the summer and live for about two years.

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