About Multispecies Ethnography

The genus of spiders that includes the aforementioned species is known informally for its prowess in the construction of funnel webs. However, there are times when Hobo spiders are mistaken for Australian funnel-web spiders, who, as their name suggests, are renowned for their expert ability to weave funnel-shaped webs. Additionally, there are currently discussions that are related to the dispute surrounding the Hobo spider bite. Eratigena agrestis is the official scientific name for hobo spiders. Agelenidae is the family they belong to, and arachnida is their class (Cole, 2017).
They are classified as belonging to the Phylum Arthropoda. The species of the Hobo spiders were first discovered in native Europe thus the name Western Hobo spider. However, they seem to have been introduced to the Northwestern United States in the early 1980s and due to their aggressive nature, they became known to human beings. Ever since, the spiders have managed to expand their range towards the east and the south which is the reason as to why they can now be found extensively in northern parts of Utah (Vibert et al., 2017). Seemingly, the first discovery of the species and the interpretation that the scientists had regarding the species was wrong which was the sole reason they were given the name the aggressive hobo house spiders. This was due to the fact that they were initially perceived to be quite aggressive towards human beings and human environments (Cole, 2017).

However recent debates have shed some light on the species and their bites. In most case scenarios, their bites are often poorly understood and medical significance it poses to human beings. Just like any other species of arachnids, the spider species vary significantly in appearance thus the identification can prove to be very difficult in most cases. In terms of interaction, I cannot say that I have frequent interaction with spider species owing to the toxicity they pose to human beings, but I try to examine them at close range. I still have the mystification that all spider species are toxic thus the fear to get into contact with them. On the same note, recent studies have been carried out try prove that the species is not as harmful and toxic as the others are which serves right to demystify the underlying notion (Vibert et al., 2016­­). Another reason as to why I have minimal contact with the species is because the often avoid human habitats owing to the competition they face there which is staged by the giant house spiders which are known to be common inhabitants of human houses and structures.

The relationship I have with the species is not that strong since they perceive human beings as threats to their survival or rather enemies while human beings which in this case represents me, feel as though they are toxic and perilous (McKeown et al., 2014). However, in line with the minimal times, I have had contact with the hobo spider species; I can attest that they are generally quiet unless they are in imminent danger that they feel they should defend themselves from at the opportune time and moment. The formation of symbiotic relations and non-hierarchical alliances with some of the species under study is often negated by either the human or the species inability to form mingling interactive sessions with each other. The reason being that either party may be afraid of the other thus the strain in the relation. On the same note fear perhaps the reason there is the strain as it deters the human instincts and those of the animal from perceiving the other as having good intentions.

Notably, as far multispecies ethnography is concerned, there have been various networks of study aimed at establishing findings related to the hobo spiders, but the problem has been attributed to the fact that there is no specific order dictated to the research (Vetter et al., 201$). Recent studies see to go against the very grain on which the survey regarding hobo spiders is pegged. When they were first discovered, they were afraid of inhabiting human dwellings but now they have no problem doing the same as they have grown fond of individual apartments. This is due to the fact that they are inferior climbers but may climb up to four feet which can only take place when the surface is sufficiently porous (Gendreau et al., 2017). The latter is the exact state of the walls, and it is one of the major factors that attract them.

The reason as to why the hobo spiders are often purported to be dangerous is because of the color and features which are quite familiar to other spiders thus makes human beings for confusing them for others who have proven to be perilous (Schmidt et al., 2017). However, they are suitable for human settlement as they play a pivotal role in keeping the house free from other insects because their behavioral and feeding habits are reliant on insects. Another advantage is that they may also feed on other spiders which makes it easy for humans not to get into contact with those other spiders that are known to be toxic to humans (Davis, 2015).

Additionally, they don’t just form the funnel webs because they are fun or have the capabilities to do so, but they instead serve as magnets to attract insects that they would end up feeding on in the long run. Studies show that the hobo spiders are overly protective of their eggs sacs. In the determination of imminent danger that they perceive to be meant towards their eggs, they may even bite just to keep them from any threat (Vetter et al., 2015). The controversy underlying the ongoing debate and the confusion regarding the hobo spiders is whether the hobo spiders are dangerous or not. In most instances, humans are not aware of the threat they pose to the spiders and their eggs in which as I had mentioned earlier, they may not think about biting just to safeguard.

The reason is that they often chose the dark places within the human house to settle and build their funnel-webs. By so saying, individuals walking past such parts may not see the place they, may be headed to end thus up stumbling upon them or their eggs. In such scenarios, they get noted ad being dangerous which may not be the actual case. The first encounter I had with a hobo spider was quite friendly, but I must admit I was a little bit frightened as I had the notion that all spiders are dangerous and toxic. Conclusively, the hobo house spiders’ species are utterly welcoming and friendly towards humans and should not be misinterpreted as being toxic towards them.


Vetter, R. S., Swanson, D. L., Weinstein, S. A., & White, J. (2015). Do spiders vector bacteria during bites? The evidence indicates otherwise. Toxicon, 93, 171-174.

McKeown, N., Vetter, R. S., & Hendrickson, R. G. (2014). Verified spider bites in Oregon (USA) with the intent to assess hobo spider venom toxicity. Toxicon, 84, 51-55.

Davis, R. S. (2015). Hobo Spider.

Gendreau, K. L., Haney, R. A., Schwager, E. E., Wierschin, T., Stanke, M., Richards, S., & Garb, J. E. (2017). House spider genome uncovers evolutionary shifts in the diversity and expression of black widow venom proteins associated with extreme toxicity. BMC Genomics, 18(1), 178.

Vibert, S., Salomon, M., Scott, C., Blackburn, G. S., & Gries, G. (2017). Life-history data for the funnel weavers Eratigena agrestis and Eratigena Africa (Araneae: Agelenidae) in the Pacific Northwest of North America. The Canadian Entomologist, 149(3), 345-356.

Vibert, S., Scott, C., & Gries, G. (2016). Vibration transmission through sheet webs of hobo spiders (Eratigena agrestis) and tangled webs of western black widow spiders (Latrodectus Hesperus). Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 202(11), 749-758.

Vetter, R. S., Hoddle, M. S., Choe, D. H., & Thoms, E. (2014). Exposure of brown recluse and brown widow spiders (Araneae: Sicariidae, Theridiidae) to a commercial sulfuryl fluoride fumigation. Journal of economic entomology, 107(5), 1813-1817.

Schmidt, J. O., Vetter, R. S., & Howe, A. K. (2017). Egg toxicity in diverse spider taxa. Journal of Arachnology, 45(2), 209-212.

Cole, T. C. (2017). XI. Arthropoda: Chelicerata–Spinnentiere–Spiders, Mites, Horseshoe Crabs. In Wörterbuch der Wirbellosen/Dictionary of Invertebrates (pp. 173-216). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

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