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article imageHouse spider survey launched in the U.K.

By Tim Sandle     Sep 1, 2013 in Science
As an example of 'citizen science', people in the U.K. are being asked to survey the numbers and types of house spiders they get in their homes using smartphone apps.
The Society of Biology has launched a recording scheme and free house spider reporting app, called 'Spider in da house'.
It is estimated that there are about 650 different species of spider in the UK, and most of them never come inside. However, each autumn male house spiders come indoors in search of a mate. Scientists are uncertain how many spiders come into homes and exactly which species. To find out more they have called upon 'citizen scientists', and some smartphone technology, to help them with the task of finding out more about the behavior of spiders.
The app is available through the Android and Apple app stores and allows people to report their sightings of male house spiders (Tegenaria), as they come into homes to seek out mates.
The large, hairy house spiders commonly seen in the U.K. belong to the [i]Tegenaria[/i] genus. These are are fast-running brownish funnel-web weavers.
For some people, spiders are a little off-putting. However, the house spider provides a service for home owners, eating flies and other unwanted insects. They are also ecologically important as food for birds and other animals.
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