Currently viewing the category: "Cellar Spiders"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: can Pholcus phalangioides change its coloration to match its environment?
Location: Jefferson County, Illinois
November 28, 2014 6:35 pm
Hello!
I am extremely nature friendly and generally let spiders have the run of my house within reason. This year I had a bumper crop of cellar spiders and although I find them interesting, their webs can get to be an issue and I am constantly tidying up after them. Not long ago I noticed a silk-wrapped stilt bug hanging down by the kitchen table and as I bent down to brush it away I noticed something luminous and bright green on it. Upon closer inspection I was fascinated to find that I had discovered both dinner and diner and , most importantly, the diner appeared to be one of “my” cellar spiders that had somehow turned a strange shade of green I’ve never seen before! All of the cellar spiders I have seen here are various shades of tan, brown, or even a light translucent grey, but never this bright green. Even stranger, the spider has been residing among a collection of volleyball trophies on my tabletop and the background color in these trophies is the exact shade of green. Initially I thought well yes, if you are looking at the spider at the right time of day with the right light, the abdomen is likely reflecting the green from the trophies. But the cephalothorax is the expected color, as are the legs, and even in dim light or shadow you can still see the bright green. So I am puzzled and intrigued.
I am aware that many creatures can manipulate their background color but is there anything known about cellar spiders having this ability? If she ( I say she, I can’t see any pedipalps without disturbing the spider) weren’t so fragile I would put her in a different location and watch for changes but I don’t want to harm her.
Anyway I hope I can load the pictures correctly so you can have a look-see.
thank you !
WT
Signature: Wendy T.

Green Cellar Spider or something else???

Green Cellar Spider or something else???

Dear Wendy,
This sure looks like a Cellar Spider, but the green coloration is certainly unusual.  We are going to post your images and attempt to research this more thoroughly before we weigh in with an opinion, and hopefully one of our readers can either provide a definitive identification or comment on the coloration.

Possibly Green Cellar Spider

Possibly Green Cellar Spider

Rob Nease, Amy Gosch, Jessica M. Schemm, MaryBeth Kelly, Andrea Leonard Drummond, Ana Šorc liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Close ups of the Cellar Spider
Location: Leamington Ontario. Old farm house
September 22, 2014 7:24 am
I’ve looked to see what my little alien being was called and have seen old posts of fuzzy pictures. So i figured for the sake of science and imagination! This guy was hanging from a web. I’m almost positive it’s dead.
Signature: Adrienne

Cellar Spider with Fungus Infection

Cellar Spider with Fungus Infection

Hi Adrienne,
Thanks for adding to the images we have of Cellar Spider infested with Fungus.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Unknown Unusual Spider
Location: Stoughton, WI
September 14, 2014 7:51 pm
We’ve got them too!
We have an 103 year old four square and found them in the basement cellar under the porch. We never go there, but we went down there when we found a chipmunk coming in and out from our porch foundation. We went down to flush the chipmunk out and fill in the hole when we discovered these fascinating creatures … albeit creepy!
We live just south of Madison, WI
We had never seen them before.
We have the same questions as everyone else.
Why is this fungus suddenly appearing?
And, is it harmful to humans?
Signature: Mariah

Fungus Riddled Spider

Fungus Riddled Spider

Dear Mariah,
These are probably the best images we have received of Cellar Spiders infested with a deadly fungus.

Seemingly contagious Spider Fungus

Seemingly contagious Spider Fungus

Fungus Infested Spider
Fungus Infested Spider

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: fungus/spider
December 6, 2013 11:56 am
Hi, I am so glad to be introduced to this website!  We’ve been finding the cellar spiders with “pom-pom” fungus (in our cellar) for several years.  It’s awful to think they might still be alive when the fungus first moves in.  Ours have each been found dead. I wondered if the fungus is feeding on proteins in the joints (and body) of the spider.   Any ideas?
Is this a “new” fungus?  We expect to learn that it might be. Our investigations of biowarfare  (especially regarding so-called Lyme) have led us to components of that disease which are “new” (and patented….) but I do digress :-).
Thanks again!
We are in eastern New York State (near the Vermont border.
Signature: Bonnie

Spider attacked by Fungus

Spider attacked by Fungus

Dear Bonnie,
We are illustrating your comment with a photo from our archives since you did not provide one.  We don’t have much additional information on this phenomenon.  According to BugGuide:  “Cellar spiders with
Torrubiella pulvinata. The online book Tracks & Sign of Insects & Other Invertebrates:  A Guide to North American Species by Charley Eiseman and Noah Charney states:  “Many insects and spiders meet their end as a result of infection by pathogenic fungi, which are often highly host-specific.  Infection generally begins with a fungal spore simply landing on the host.  The spore germinates, and the fungus grows internally until it kills the host, at which point spore-bearing structures usually emerge from the corpse.  There are many unrelated groups of pathogenic fungi, and they come in a variety of forms, but the few that are described here account for the majority of the conspicuous and commonly seen types. …  A related but very different-looking fungus, Torrubiella pulvinata, kills cellar spiders (Pholcidae).  It first appears as white, fluffy spheres surrounding the body and each of the leg joints, eventually forming a complete covering of white fuzz.”  So the spider is alive when it is first attacked and it is eventually killed by the fungus.

Thank you, Daniel.
I don’t have the means to take photo and get it to you.  Or rather, I have the means but don’t quite know how to do it.  Sorry.  I am a Luddite at heart. That said, I also have a podcast I call Landslide, on www.ourstreamingplanet.com and www.goingbeyondradio.com  I use the name Bonfire.
In my Lyme disease investigation it is the mycoplasma fermentans that makes me  wonder about the Torrubiella pulvinata’s origins, especially given that it is a fungus.  Pathogenic mycoplasma, one of the Lyme components I am researching, is a patented disease, derived from AIDS and ARC patients and sometimes found in the blood of Lyme patients.
Thanks for responding.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

A whole unknown type of arachno-family
Location: McCreary County, Kentucky
November 5, 2011 5:48 pm
Hello. I am very curious as to what kind of spider these may be. While I am arachnophobic, I am also quite adventurous, and thoroughly curious.
While on vacation this past August in Southeastern Kentucky, I came across this ”little” guy in the Daniel Boone National Forrest. He was hanging around the underside of a damp rock face along with several other fairly common arachnids like Wolf and furrow spiders.
I am under the impression that it is likely that this is a male and female coupling since what I think is a freshly hatched bunch of young are clinging to the smaller of the two.
Unfortunately I could not figure out a way to include a visual size reference in the image. However, I noted that the smaller of the two is roughly the same size as a common cellar spider.
I could not tell if the web was orb or cob-web like.
I lived in this area for 6 years and never saw, or at least noticed, anything quite like this.
I have several questions.
What kind of spider or spiders are these?
Are they male and female?
Are the newly-born eating or riding the smaller critter?
Thanks for any information you may have!
Signature: arsinal Apocalypse

Lampshade Weaver and Long Bodied Cellar Spider with Brood

Dear arsinal Apocalypse,
We are relatively confident that the smaller spider with the brood is a Long Bodied Cellar Spider,
Pholcus phalangioides, and we found a photo depicting similar maternal care on BugGuide.  The female Long Bodied Cellar Spider carries the eggs about until they hatch.  Here is another photo series from BugGuide showing the eggs in the process of hatching.  We believe the larger spider is a different species.  We hope to get a more definitive answer eventually.

Long Bodied Cellar Spider with Brood

Daniel:
Would really, really help to know the geographic location where the spiders were found….
That said, it looks like maybe a male “lampshade weaver,” genus Hypochilus, family Hypochilidae.  They only occur in the Appalachian mountains, parts of the southern Rocky Mountains, and parts of the Sierras(?) in North America.
Looking forward to learning more.  This might be of interest for Bugguide.net if it was not found in the Smoky Mountains.
Eric

Male Lampshade Weaver

This picture was taken at the Split Bow Arch in McCreary County, Kentucky in the Appalachian area.
I thought the other looked like a cellar spider, as my size reference may have indicated, but with the close proximity of the two, my distance and my lack of knowledge, I had to wonder.
The image seems fairly spot on to me, specifically the dark dot like marking on the back! Thanks for answering my question and IDing my bugs! You guys are Awesome!
The ‘cave spider’ name explains it all. I’ve done hiking and camping in the area, but I tend to stay away from the caves and rock shelters for obvious reasons. I can handle being within a certain distance of 8 legged critters as long as they don’t move. The second they move, I’m outta dodge! Hence my interest to learn as much as I can about them and (hopefully) conquer whatever is stuck in my head that they are *after* me :P
The worst were always the 6 spot fishing spiders. I don’t know that they were *after* me persay, but they certainly weren’t too shy to chase after a human invading their space, even if it was my room :P

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Weird Bug
Location:  Thetford, Norfolk, England
September 26, 2010 3:57 am
I found this on my toilet wall very near 2 dead spiders. it’s about 5cm long.
Signature:  name of the bug

Long Bodied Cellar Spider

This sure looks to us like a Long Bodied Cellar Spider, Pholcus phalangioides, which has a worldwide distribution according to BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination