Funnel Web Spider
Location: Mountains of WNC
September 3, 2010 10:24 pm
I’ve figured this is some kind of a funnel web spider. We’ve got at least 4 living in the bushes in front of our porch. This is the best shot I’ve been able to get (taken on 9/3/10). My question is, what *kind* of funnel web spider is it? There’s also some kind of shiny (and kinda slimy-looking) stuff in the web. Any ideas what that is? (If you need bigger photos, please let me know & I’ll be happy to send you the link to the Flickr pages.)
Thank you so much!
We are guessing WNC stands for Western North Carolina. 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…) Depending on the species, the web may or may not be sticky. If the web is not sticky, the web will actually become tangled around the prey’s feet, ensnaring it in the web. Sometimes, this may cause hardship for the spider later, because if the spider wanders across a web that is sticky… the spider does not know how to walk on a sticky web, and become prey for another funnel-web spider.” It appears that your spider may be a Grass Spider in the genus Agelenopsis, and according to BugGuide: “The funnel web for Agelenopsis is a distinctive web, and often is noticed in bushes and grass, especially in the early fall mornings, where the dew has collected on the web. The webs can be expansive, covering several square feet, or just small webs in the grass.”
Yes, WNC is Western North Carolina. Henderson County, to be a little more specific. Thank you so much for the information! I also appreciate you getting back to me so quickly.