The spiders of this family are medium to large sized. The most common spider of this family is, as the name suggests, the Common house spider (Eratigena atrica). They have remarkably large rear spinnerets which are clearly longer than those in the front. The rear spinnerets have two identifiable segments.
The spiders build a quite broad, horizontal web, that has a funnel-shaped retreat on one side. The spiders often sit on top of their web, but when disturbed they move very quickly back into their retreat. About 200 species can be found in Europe.
These often nicely patterned spiders build a funnelweb between shrubs. The spider usually sits at the opening of her retreat, where she waits for a prey to become entangled in her web. The spider then pulls the prey to the funnelopening where she will eat it.
These medium-sized spiders closely resemble in appearance, behavior and habitat the species of the genus Agelena, to which they belonged until recently. Allagelena is also considered a sister genus of Agelena.
The spiders of this genus have a robust appearance with a broad head and sturdy chelicerae and legs. They make tubular retreats under stones, tree trunks and other dead wood or below slopes. Around the entrance of the retreat is a characteristic silk collar. After hatching, the young spiders remain with their mother until they are quite big. In the beginning, the mother spider shares prey with them. In autumn she dies, after which the young spiders eat her up before they start swarming away from the retreat.
Eratigena is a new genus within the Agelenidae. It was introduced in 2013 with a revision of this family. With this revision many Tegenaria– and Malthonica-species are categorized in this new genus. 18 species occur worldwide.
The spiders often build their funnelweb in and around houses, but sometimes in shrubs or between stones. The webs are sometimes small, but they can also be of considerable size in a quiet area. The spiders spend most of their time in their web, but in late summer / early autumn the males go out searching for the females. They can sometimes be seen walking across the floor or found stranded in the bathtub or sink. The different species can be distinguished by the pattern on the sternum.
Textrix is one of the smaller spiders within the Agelenidae and looks a bit like a species of the Lycosidae. The spinnerets of Textrix on the contrary, are remarkably big. They can often be seen running rapidly across the floor. The web is small, but as with Tegenaria it can also be quite extensive.