Skip to main content

Ed the spider

I've got an uninvited but not altogether unwelcome tenant on a dark corner of my basement. It's a spider; specifically a House Funnel Weaver, Tegenaria domestica. I call him Ed, even if it is a female.

Ed in his lair, in a dank intersection of concrete blocks behind my dryer. He's a bit of a celeb in the spider world, as a photo that I took of him last year made it into the new Division of Wildlife spider booklet (p. 15). That's right - last year. These funnel weavers can live a long time, and I first photographed Ed on November 29, 2009, and he'd been around for at least a month or two prior to that.

During the day, you'll generally not see hide nor hair of Ed. Come nightfall, and he ventures to the mouth of his funnel retreat. The flash of my camera seems not to bother him one whit, and I got these images last night. The capture sheet in the foreground has become a thick, lustrous mat strung between the two cellar walls, as funnel weavers continually add to it. If you are a bug unfortunate enough to fall into the web, watch out! Quick as a wink, Ed'll dart from that tunnel and toxify you with a venomous bite. One of these days I'll have to capture a cricket and toss it in and video the outcome for your viewing pleasure.

Lest you think me an odd spider-charmer, I'm really not. Ed or his kind probably wouldn't be allowed to take up occupancy in the neat and clean upstairs rooms of my home. But he causes absolutely no problems in the subterranean level. In fact, as basements are a major hideout for all manner of undesirable nasties such as earwigs, silverfish, house centipedes, and other creepy-crawlies of the night, Ed probably does a tremendous service by routinely taking them out.

Chances are good that you've got a funnel weaver or two in your basement. They aren't particularly large, nor do they command a lot of space. Might just consider letting them be, as they'll pay their rent by dispatching less desirable critters.

Comments

Anonymous said…
If Ed is a female, you could call her Edna.
Denise said…
Never met an Ed I did not like...

Popular posts from this blog

The Pinching Beetle, a rather brutish looking bug

The world is awash in beetles, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Few of them can match the intimidation factor of a Pinching Beetle, Lucanus capreolus, though. Those formidable looking mandibles look like they could slice off a finger.

Today was one of those coolly diverse days. I started off down in Fayette County, visiting the farm of a friend. He has restored about 25 acres of wetlands, and the response by the animal community has been nothing short of phenomenal. Blizzards of dragonflies of many species, amphibians galore, and nesting Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, and Sora. Among MANY other things. And all in a short two years. Add water and they will come.

Then, working my way home, I ducked into a Madison County cemetery that has a thriving population of Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels, and shot images of our native prairie dog. Then, I stopped at a spot along Little Darby Creek, waded on in, and procured some pretty nice shots of various stream bluets and dancers. …

Calliope Hummingbird in central Ohio!

A hatch-year male Calliope Hummingbird strikes a pose. Small but tough, the hummingbird was feeding actively yesterday in 39 F temperatures. It frequents feeders and gardens at a home in Delaware County, Ohio, about a half-hour north of Columbus.

Fortunately, the wayward hummer appeared at the home of Tania and Corey Perry. Tania is a birder, and knew right away that the hummingbird was something special. For a while, the identification was up in the air, which isn't surprising. The Calliope Hummingbird used to be placed in its own genus, Stellula, but has recently been submerged into the genus Selasphorus, which includes Allen's, Broad-tailed, and Rufous hummingbirds. The latter two, especially, are quite similar to the Calliope in subadult plumage. Rufous is the default "vagrant" hummingbird here, with dozens of records and birds turning up annually. There is but one Ohio record of Allen's Hummingbird, from late fall/early winter 2009. Ditto the Calliope Hummi…

Ballooning spiders

Fear not, ye arachnophobes. The subject of this entry is indeed about spiders, but the star of the show is about as cute as a spider can get. And you'll want to know what we're about to learn...

On my recent West Virginia foray, we were strolling down a seldom-used lane, when a bright yellow object caught our eye. It was a goldenrod crab spider, Misumena vatia, on top of a post! Not only that, she - it is a girl - was acting extraordinarily goofy. The spider would stilt up as high as she could go on her legs, weave back and forth, jig side to side, and otherwise engage in what appeared to be spider break-dancing.

Click the pic for expansion, and you can see two columns of silk issuing from her spinnerets. This is an important point, as we set about determining what this non-web-making spider is doing.


So fixated was our spider on her task that she even rejected what would seem to me to be a perfectly scrumptious meal. This little caterpillar climbed rapidly up the post and dire…