cellar spider   Leave a comment

what when where pic
cellar spider, pholcidae, genus pholcus, sp. phalangioides? 2009-06-07 basement of home

I’m guessing the genus and the species partly because I believe this is what lives around here. The two main species are longbodied and globose; I’m not really sure what this one is, but I suspect it is globose. These are often called daddy longlegs, but they are not the same as harvestmen, which are not spiders at all but opiliones. Incidentally, these are the only haplogyne spiders I have ever seen: they “lack hardened female genitalia (epigynes)”. Every other spider I’ve seen has been a member of Entelegynae.

The web is pretty much a mess, but that’s good for them — it’s almost impossible to approach the spider without setting off one of the trip wires. The spiders themselves are pretty shy when the web gets disturbed. In other species, they are known to start vibrating like mad when they feel disturbed, but I have been unsuccessful in getting this to happen!. For all this shyness, they are predators of other spiders and apparently often munch on tegenaria, much to the relief of people with hobo spider infestations.

From insects and spiders
From insects and spiders

In this photo, look at the white dot. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that it is a spider mite.

From insects and spiders

Here’s a photo of another spider that appears to have something similar:

From insects and spiders

I don’t own a microscope so couldn’t find out if it was indeed a mite. One day! But an interesting question: how do spider mites find one another for mating?

Here’s a link to a wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pholcidae

This is a wiki photograph that includes the eye pattern:

wiki photo of cellar spider with eye pattern

And here is another from bugguide.net.

Here’s a youtube video of a cellar spider gyrating, with further info:

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