As found at work last week:
(Yep, thatís 1cm graph paper itís on - scale it to size in your viewer and tremble!)
Tegenaria parietina, or the Cardinal Spider. Britainís biggest by far, as far as legs are concerned. Arachnologists prefer to cite body length which leads to lots of disputes. None of the others with similar-sized bodies are as big as your hand though.
Unfortunately the individual above is deceased - it didnít seem well when I found it and expired a few days later, but at least Iíd saved it from a Hoovery doom. A couple of sessions trying to photograph it live proved fruitless as, although quite slow, it would not sit still out in the open. I photographed it first on a plain background but no-one would believe me that it was printed life-sized. Iím really annoyed with it: Iíve found a number of these before but have never had the opportunity to try and catch and retain one - and this one karks on me!
Much more cooperative and perfectly alive and well is his little cousin below, a good-sized example of T. gigantea (= T. duellica nowadays, apparently), who conveniently appeared on my hallway wall on Tuesday night and so could be photoíed with the same set-up. These are the common House Spiders found all over the South-East and elsewhere. (In some areas, notably the South-West and North-West, there are other very similar species, but they are much the same size).
Note both these specimens are males, since it is they who go wandering about in late summer looking for females, who generally stay put. In both species the females have slightly larger bodies but relatively shorter legs so it is the males who are most impressive!
For those interested:
Span leg I - leg† IV:
T. parietina†††††††††††††††† 140 mm / 5.5 inch
T. gigantea†††††††††††††††† 78 mm / 3.1 inch
Leg I alone on parietina exceeds 75 mm:† leg I - leg I span is around 6 inches!