Thursday, June 9, 2011

House Funnel Weaver returns

A little over a year ago, I made some posts - RIGHT HERE, and HERE - about a long-lived house funnel weaver spider, Tegeneria domestica, that had taken up residence in my basement. It lived for at least nine months, as I recall, but finally kicked the bucket several months back. I know it died, because one day I saw its dessicated husk in the middle of the web.

Well, I left the web stand, sort of to see what might happen. Lest you think me a slovenly housekeeper, I'm not - the upstairs floors are generally neat as a pin. But the basement, well, not so much. Besides, many of your various and sundry creepie-crawlies tend to hide in the dank recesses of basements during the day, and emerge under cover of nightfall. Why not let the spiders remain with them, as they'll only capture the more free-ranging critters that you might like even less.

Anyway, this house funnel weaver's web is behind my dryer, and it's quite an architectural gem. The main sheet web, stretching from wall to wall and forming a triangle, is thick as a blanket and has held up well. So, I was down there earlier today, and lo and behold, a new tenant has moved in! Apparently funnel weavers will appropriate another's web if the opportunity arises. I guess that makes sense, as it takes a lot of silk and a lot of labor to make one of these things.

I took my macro lens down to the basement this evening, and made a few photos of the new spider. Funnel weavers like to sit right at the entrance of their retreat, watching and waiting. If some hapless victim falls onto that sheet, it's curtains - the spider will immediately rush forth and in the blink of an eye pounce and subdue the prey with a savage bite.

I'll be curious to see how long this one lasts. Insofar as I know, this is her first day on the job, in this web. There really isn't much animal life down there, in my basement, so I might have to try and remember to catch the occasional cricket or something and toss it in. If I do feed her, I'll be sure and have the camera handy for action shots.

I'm sure you'll just love that.


nina said...

I've been hosting a giant spider at my house as well.
What would summer be without watching and feeding spiders?

OpposableChums said...

Well, that answers a question...

The funnel webs in the window sills of my CT. farmhouse, which I've always left undisturbed, seem to be occupied year after year, and I was beginning to wonder if this was a supernaturally long-lived species.

They sure are fast little buggers.

Jim McCormac said...

You'll have to photgraph and blog that spider, Nina.

Good comment and astute observation, Jason. For a long time, the fastest species of spider on record was another species of Tegenaria, the giant house spider. It can cover nearly ten feet in a second!