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
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.
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.
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 😛
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 😛