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I just watched Arachnophobia for the first time in many years. I understand the story line on how the Venezuelan spider that hitched a ride in the photographer's coffin mated with the house spider that Jeff Daniels' family put out in the barn and that their offspring are deadly.

The scene that has always puzzled me is when they show the house spider and the Venezuelan spider mating. They both look like large tarantulas. How can one of these be a house spider? The scene is 20:25 minutes in.

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If I had to guess the reason, as I have not seen the movie, it would be because the creators of the movie did not research what a house spider really is and only focused on what it looks like. Here is what I have found so far...

According to this Merriam-Webster, a house spider is "any of various spiders (as members of the genus Tegenaria) that habitually live in buildings". I looked up what other species were in the Tegenaria genus here and one of them was the Tegenaria domestica (domestic house spider), and I am assuming that is what the spider mated with. From the movie, we know that the Venezuelan spider was a male, so the house spider had to be a female. Female house spiders only grow to about 18 mm in size (.70 inches), so they could not have actually mated. However, looking at a picture of a female house spider, it does have some similarities to larger spiders. So my hypothesis is that the creators of the movie saw a picture of a house spider and just used what it looks like to create a larger spider.

Hope this helps.

  • I see your point; however, I still cannot understand how an obvious tarantula (as seen in the movie scene) can be mistaken for a common house spider. At the end of the movie, the spider "expert" even explains that the 2 spiders had mated. I appreciate you taking the time to research the house spider :) – steelersquirrel Aug 12 '15 at 3:15

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