House Spider

House Spider

House Spider

Spiders such as this one are often found indoors as well as outdoors.

The identifying characteristics of spiders involve more than their overall color, shape and size. To get a precise identification, you also need to see their eyes (number and arrangement) and other features — including their undersides.

Although the images shown here don't reveal enough information to pinpoint an exact species, this spider belongs to the Therididae family (comb-footed spiders), says Frank Hale, state entomologist in Nashville, Tenn. That family includes harmless house spiders as well as the more problematic black widow and brown widow spiders.

House Spider

House Spider

Close-up of the underside of a house spider.

In this case, however, the underbelly of the spider doesn't have the hourglass figure (often reddish-orange) that widow spiders have, but it does have many of the markings of a common house spider such as Achaearanea tepidariorum.

House spiders are found throughout the world — and not just in homes but also in sheds, barns, greenhouses, porches and garages. They're prolific web builders, creating irregular, tangled webs and often abandoning one web to create another when they don't catch enough prey.

House spiders rarely bite humans.

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