Monday, May 17, 2010

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.


Anonymous said...

If Ed is a female, you could call her Edna.

Denise said...

Never met an Ed I did not like...

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