Tuesday, September 20, 2016


This small cellar spider hangs from the ceiling near my window, day after day, waiting for an incautious mosquito or blundering crane fly. She eats them and cuts them loose from her skimpy web; when I dust the dresser beneath her, I find crane fly legs and wings longer than her entire body. (But not longer than her legs; never longer than her legs.)

Long-bodied cellar spider, Pholcus phalangoides*.

These spiders look so delicate, so fragile, that it is surprising sometimes to find one halfway through eating a huge, hairy, large-fanged house spider.

The remains of a Tegenaria with the cellar spider who caught it. Compare the relative sizes of the pedipalps (feelers/grabbers, centre front, just above the fangs).

At first glance, it looks like she has two eyes, instead of the usual eight; they're arranged in two clumps of three, with two tiny eyes in the centre.

Zooming in. She's got a fat belly; she may be pregnant.

*The meaning of the name, Pholcus phalangioides, is uncertain, but it probably means "Squinty-eyed critter that looks like a harvestman"; both of these and the crane flies share the nickname, "Daddy long-legs".

1 comment:

  1. Such a beautiful colour to her body. We don't get many spiders up at the cabin, but I do see them float by at certain times with s wisp of web. - Margy


If your comment is on a post older than a week, it will be held for moderation. Sorry about that, but spammers seem to love old posts!

Also, I have word verification on, because I found out that not only do I get spam without it, but it gets passed on to anyone commenting in that thread. Not cool!