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Funnel-web Spider
Calilena arizonica, Hololena hola, Novalena lutzi

Family: Agelenidae
Spanish name: zacatera

Description

The funnel-web spider is similar in appearance to the wolf spider, but it is smaller and more delicate, with a body length of about ¼ inch (12 mm). It builds a sheet-like web with a distinct funnel shape leading to a retreat. Because these webs are often built in grasses, a common name for these arachnids is “grass spider.”

Distribution and Habitat

Funnel-web spiders live world-wide; these three species are common in southern Arizona. They build webs in grass or leaf litter, on stones, or in the corners of buildings.

Ecology

These spiders use their webs to catch prey. The sheet of the web acts as a catch basin for insects that blunder onto it, becoming stuck in the sticky silk. The spider, sensing the vibrations in the web, goes out to retrieve its meal. If the prey item is small enough, the spider will cut it out of the web and bring it down into its retreat to feed on.

Life History

Funnel-web spiders are active from March through October. A male spider must communicate to the female via stridulations and web stroking. Once the female accepts him onto her web, mating takes place. The female lays 100 to 200 eggs in an egg case. She weaves the egg case into her web, near or within her funnel retreat. After about a month the eggs hatch and the young disperse, often by ballooning.