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Funnel Weaving Spiders Spinning Last Webs of the Year

10-16-14 funnel weaver web 045A number of unrelated spider families in North America spin webs with funnel-shaped retreats. These spiders are all referred to as funnel weavers. The spider lies in wait in the funnel, and when an insect flies into or lands on the web, the spider rushes out, checks to see if it is prey, and if it is, bites it. Its venom is fast-acting, and as soon as the prey is largely immobile, the spider drags it back into its funnel to safely consume it out of sight. Many species’ funnel webs are horizontal, and found in grass and bushes, but others are vertical. Like most spiders, funnel weavers are nocturnal. Many species die in the fall, but a few live a year or two. If you find a funnel web inhabited, it is likely to be a female. Males spend most of their life wandering in search of a mate, and after finding one and mating a few times, often die.

Funnel weaving spiders are docile and non-aggressive, and their bite is rarely as bad as a bee sting. Funnel weaving spiders are sometimes referred to as “funnel web spiders.” True funnel web spiders are not found in North America, but in Australia, where their bite is considered harmful.

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4 responses

  1. Mary, They remind me of the web-building stonefly larvae. It is always strange to see what looks like spider webs underwater. They too, hide inside and eat what gets caught in the web; they eat the web as well, if I’m not mistaken.

    October 16, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    • I know about caddisfly larvae spinning nets, but wasn’t aware the stonefly larvae did…and have never seen either. One life just isn’t enough for all there is to discover!

      October 16, 2014 at 3:20 pm

  2. Susan Holland

    Great photograph – as always! And I think that if I were an insect, I would be drawn into that funnel!

    October 16, 2014 at 4:22 pm

  3. Always fun to learn from you! Thanks for another interesting post, Mary.

    October 17, 2014 at 2:13 am

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