Subject: Spider is checking me out!
Location: Mount Lowe/Angeles National Forest, California
June 26, 2016 1:43 am
I see these tunnel shaped webs all over Angeles Forest. I found this one at the tope of Mount Lowe, near Mount Wilson. When I began to edit the photos, I was surprised to see the spider made his way to the opening of his little cave, his many eyeballs staring right into my camera lens! Is he a trap door spider of some sort?
Signature: Jessica Chortkoff
Hi again Jessica,
This is NOT a Trapdoor Spider. It sure looks to us like a Funnel Web Spider in the family Agelenidae. According to BugGuide: “For this family of spiders, the web is a horizontal, sheet-like web with a small funnel-like tube off to a side (or for some species, the middle of the web). This funnel is what the family is named for, and is used by the spider for hunting and protection. The spider will lay in wait in the funnel, and when an insect flies into, or lands on the web, the spider will rush out, very quickly check to see if it is prey, and if it is prey, bite it. The venom is fast-acting on the prey, so once the prey is subdued (within a second or two), the spider will drag the prey back into the funnel (for safety while eating, and to prevent other insects from recognizing the danger that lurks on the web…).” Eye arrangement is one of the methods that one can distinguish the correct family for taxonomic classification, and upon enlarging your image, the eye arrangement on your individual appears to match the eye arrangement for the family of Funnel Web Spiders. BugGuide also indicates: “Like most spiders, funnel weavers are nocturnal. They are often seen when the lights are turned on, or at least the ambient lighting changes enough that the spider feels it must run for cover. There are approximately 1,200 species of funnel weaver world-wide, and a little over 100 of them are found in North America ((1)(accessed October 2012). Sometimes, if you slowly approach the web, and look around the funnel or down into the funnel, you might see the spider. (Sudden movements or changes in light (like your shadow) will cause the spider to retreat deep into the funnel so you most likely will be unable to see it).”