The House Spider
I am not sure if this is the House Spider. I know my daughter would freak if she saw it. At least it is out in the shed, minding its own business. According to Jane Powers in her book An Irish Nature Year (if I am identifying the correct spider, spidery people will know) it is called Eratigena atrica. She said that males mature in the autumn of their second year and begin roaming around for a mate. The females usually stay in their webs and if they like the look of the male, he is allowed to mate. She says that the process is not what you might expect. There is no conjoining of intimate parts, he uses his pedipalps, the bulbous appendages located in front of his first pair of legs, to transfer his sperm into her epigynal opening on the underside of her abdomen. The resulting eggs hatch before winter and the spiderlings overwinter as juveniles.