The large one, probably more experienced, disappeared down a hole within seconds. The tiny one tried to pretend she* wasn't there. Even though I brought the camera to within an inch of her, she didn't twitch. She stayed put while I swept down the wall, detouring around her, and didn't leave until I had gone to put away the broom.
So I got a few photos.
It's a Tegenaria. Which may or not mean trouble. Tegenaria agrestis, the "hobo spider", has been long accused of aggressive behaviour and dangerous bites, which can turn tissue necrotic or cause allergic reactions. But T. domestica or T. duellica (gigantea) may be harmless.
Which is she? It is impossible to be sure without a microscope. BugGuide says,
The actual spider (not a photo) needs to be examined by an expert for a definite identification.From a link on that page, though, I found a useful article; "How to identify (or misidentify) the hobo spider". How to tell if your spider is NOT a hobo. Just what I needed!
If the spider has any of the following, it is NOT T. agrestis. And probably not dangerous:
- Spots on the sternum.
I couldn't check this, since I didn't capture the spider.
- Distinct stripes on the cephalothorax.
Let me see... The cephalothorax (head-chest) is the front section. Very definite stripes down the back. (photo 1.) Not a hobo.
- Dark rings around the legs.
Black and brown striped legs. Not a hobo.
- Shiny dark orange legs with no hair.
Photo 2. Dull legs, with some hair. Not a hobo.
- Long, pointy palps (Two "grabbers" in front of the eyes).
I didn't get a look at the palps.
Now this one, on the other hand:
Broken marks on cephalothorax, not definite stripes. (See photo below) No spots on legs. Hairy, though. Blunt palps, I think.
Compare her with this one, positively identified as a hobo, on BugGuide:
I found her in about the same spot, last June. And it seems possible that she was a hobo. Next time, I'll capture any I find, carefully, flip it over, and examine the sternum, too.
For now, I shake out my back door shoes every time I put them on, and keep gardening gloves handy. I don't want hobo bites on my toes or fingers.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~* She, because the palps, what I could see of them, seem to be of uniform thickness. Male spiders carry heavy, bulbous palps.