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Hobo Spider Identification Tips

Sucheta Pradhan
Hobo spider is a lesser known species of venomous spiders whose bite can cause serious dermatological wounds to humans.

Did You Know?

Hobo spider's venom is not known to be fatal to humans. However, depending on the severity, the wounds may take weeks or even months to heal.
Scientifically known as Tegenaria agrestis, the hobo spider is one of those species that are classified under the umbrella term, funnel-web spiders. The funnel-web spiders are called so because they are known to build a funnel-shaped structure, wherein they hide and wait patiently for their prey to crawl inside.
However, what differentiates the hobo spiders is that their webs are often found in and around places inhabited by humans. Owing to the fact that hobo spiders pose some serious threats to humans, it becomes extremely necessary to identify them quickly.
Here is a brief hobo spider identification guide to help you know if a spider you are dealing with is a hobo spider or not.

How to Identify a Hobo Spider

Although the hobo spider is a relatively lesser known species of venomous spiders than the brown recluse and black widow, it does not mean that it is not as dangerous as the latter two.
Colloquially known as the aggressive house spider, the hobo spider is known to have rapidly expanded its habitat since the recent past. Of late, the spider has been proving to be a constant threat, especially in certain parts of the United States. Here are a few practical tips to help you identify this spider species.
Tip : Observe the size of the spider. Hobo spiders are not very big; they are not known to grow more than two inches.
This means, if you are dealing with a spider that is more than two inches in size, you can be sure that it is not a hobo spider. In fact, it might not be one of the poisonous spider species found in the United States.
Tip : Check out the spider's abdomen. The abdomen of a hobo spider bears V-shaped patterns, called chevrons, that run down its middle portion. It should be noted that these chevrons point towards the head of the spider. If you do not observe these patterns on the spider's abdomen, it is definitely not a hobo spider.
Tip : Check if the spider has a light-colored band running down the middle of the sternum. On the left and right sides of the sternum, if you find about three or four pairs of light spots, it means that it is not the hobo spider after all.
However, in the absence of advanced devices (such as microscope), such an observation should not be regarded as conclusive. This is because many times, the spots on the sternum tend to be extremely light, and are rarely visible to the naked eyes.
Tip : Examine the legs of the spider in question. If you see colored bands near the joints of the spider's legs, rest assured that it is not a hobo spider. The legs of the hobo spiders are evenly colored, and do not bear any sort of bands. Moreover, the legs of a hobo spider are not shiny, but have numerous fine hair on them.
Tip : Inspect the cephalothorax (tagma of the head and the thorax). Many species of spiders found in the United States have two dark, longitudinal stripes on their cephalothorax. However, hobo spiders lack these. On the contrary, their cephalothorax bears numerous diffused patterns, which are difficult to separate from one another.
Tip : Lastly, it is important that you know the habitat range of the hobo spider. The species is predominantly found in Europe and North America; however, in Europe, it is generally found in the fields, and not in the areas of human habitation.
Therefore, people in Europe are less prone to the threat by these arachnids. On the other hand, in North America, it is found in most parts of the Pacific Northwest, and even in certain parts of Canada.
Moreover, though it is a non-native species in the United States, it is found in many areas (owing to the rapid expansion of its habitat range) including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, etc. Therefore, if you find a similar-looking spider in one of these areas, it is likely to be a hobo spider.
Although the identification tips mentioned already may help you identify a species, it should be noted that they might not be foolproof in absence of detailed analysis. Therefore, if you happen to be bitten by a spider that looks similar to the hobo spider, it is advisable to consult your doctor with immediate effect.