Longbodied Cellar Spider

The longbodied cellar spider has extremely long legs and is found in many types of buildings throughout the year. It is not known to be in any way harmful.
Longbodied Cellar Spider - Articles
Longbodied Cellar Spider

Joseph Berger, Bugwood.org

Pholcus phalangioides

The longbodied cellar spider is the most common of the Pholcidae in the United States. It has extremely long legs and is found in many types of buildings throughout the year. Although these spiders can develop large populations in protected locations, they are not known to be in any way harmful. This spider is commonly found in cellars, warehouses, garages, caves, and other dark, quiet, protected spots.

Description

The females are from 7 to 8 millimeters and the males 6 millimeters in length. The carapace is very wide. The abdomen is about three times as long as it is wide and cylindrical in shape. The eyes are arranged in two triads of larger, light-colored eyes on the top of the cephalothorax and a pair of dark, small eyes on the front. The color of the carapace and abdomen is a pale tan or yellow with a gray mark in the center of the carapace.

The forelegs of the adult female are about 50 millimeters in length. The webs are an irregular mesh of threads.

Life History/Behavior

Both male and female spiders can be found in heated structures anytime of the year. It takes approximately one year for the spiders to mature and they can live for at least another two.

The eggs, which are about 1 millimeter in diameter, are deposited in clusters of 25 to 60 and wrapped in a thin layer of silk. The sac is held by the female in her chelicerae as she hangs inverted in her web.

An unusual behavior is that the spiders will rapidly vibrate in a circular fashion in the web if threatened, making it difficult to see them.

Medical Importance

These spiders are not known to bite people and are not a medically important species.

Reference

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Baerg, W. J. 1959. The Black Widow and Five Other Venomous Spiders in the United States. Ark. Agr. Expt. Sta. Bul. 608. 43 pp.

Bradley, R. A. 2013. Common Spiders of North America. University of California Press. 271 pp.

Breene, R. G., et al. 2003. Common Names of Arachnids. 5th ed. The American Arachnological Society Committee on Common Names of Arachnids. 42 pp.

Gertsch, W. J., and F. Ennik. 1983. "The spider genus Loxosceles in North America, Central America, and the West Indies (Araneae, Loxoscelidae)." Bul Amer Mus. Nat. Hist. 175: 24-360.

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McKeown, N., R. S. Vetter, and R. G. Hendrickson. 2014. "Verified spider bites in Oregon (USA) with the intent to assess hobo spider venom toxicity." Toxicon 84: 51-55.

Ubick, D., P. Paquin, P. E. Cushing, and V. Roth, eds. 2005. Spiders of North America: An Identification Manual. American Arachnological Society. 377 pp.

Vetter, R. S., and P. Kirk Visscher. 1998. "Bites and Stings of Medically Important Venomous Arthropods." International. J. Derm. 37: 481-496.

Vetter, R. S., et al. 2006. "Verified Bites By Yellow Sac Spiders (Genus Cheiracanthium) in the United States and Australia: Where Is the Necrosis?" Amer. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 74(6): 1,043-1,048.

Vetter, R. S., and G.K. Isbister. 2008. "Medical aspects of spider bites." Annu. Rev. Entomol. 53: 409-429.

Authored by: Steve Jacobs, Sr. Extension Associate

March 2002 Revised 2015