Currently viewing the category: "Cellar Spiders"
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 and  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

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 if it was not found in the Smoky Mountains.

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

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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

white spider with round balls on its joints looks frozen almost
March 30, 2010
We have these in our bulked.. we rarely open it .. and this is what we found … they are alive and crawling, seems to cower from the light.. If you need more pictures I am sure I can try and brave the spiders and take some more..
Bourne, Ma

Cellar Spider with Fungus Infection

Dear Pam,
Numerous times in the past we have received similar images, and we have maintained that the creatures in the photos were dead and being consumed by fungus.  Readers continue to write to us insisting that the spiders are alive.  Your spider is the first that actually does look alive, and we can only surmise that it will soon succumb to this fungus infection.  We are linking to a similar photo on BugGuide of a Cellar Spider in the family Pholcidae that was infected with fungus.  Your spider is also a Cellar Spider.  It may be Pholcus phalangioides, the Longbodied Cellar Spider, a common household species.
These Cellar Spiders appear to be especially prone to fungus infections, as do many flies. Since it is the final day of the month, we need to select a Bug of the Month for April to sit at the top of our homepage for thirty days.  Your letter and photo get that honor for April.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

cobweb spider with egg sack
We have these in our basement shower all the time but this is the first time I’ve seen one with an egg sack. I didn’t see a picture of a cobweb spider with an egg sack as good as this one on your web site and thought you might like it. Hope you enjoy it.

Hi Becky,
We will happily post your image of a Cobweb Spider, Pholcus phalangioides, and her Egg Sac. We use the common name Cobweb Spider after Hogue in his wonderful book “Insects of the Los Angeles Basin, but BugGuide calls this the Long Bodied Cellar Spider.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Cobweb Spider?
Hello again!
I recently sent you in a photo of an unknown spider that I found in my basement. It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to send in any pictures of new bugs not many bugs to be found in 5 ft snow banks! I did, however, find a spider on the ceiling in my basement. It was in a web and had very long legs. I’m not sure what kind of spider it is. I thought maybe it was a long jawed orb weaver, but when I looked that up, they didn’t really match. I’m not very fond of finding spiders in my home, but didn’t have the heart to terminate this one. I let it go in my garage, but I imaging he’ll find it’s way back inside, as it is still rather cold out. I’ve had a bit more time to research your pages and I’m wondering if the spider is a cobweb spider. When I relocated the spider from its web, it did start gyrating like crazy, which is described in the cobweb spider submission on your Spider 2 page, sent in by Kathy. I can’t really tell if my spider matches the image posted on that page, though. Thanks again for any info you may have.

Hi Yvonne,
Yes, this is a Cobweb Spider, Pholcus phalangioides.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination