Funnel Web Spiders are common in Arizona and the US

Funnel web spiders are known for their “tunnel looking, funnel shaped webs.   There are over 500 species of funnel web spiders belonging to the Agelenidae family.  This esoteric arachnid is very common in the United States and Canada.   These spiders are medium size with the females being larger than the males which is called sexual dimorphism.   Only the body length is measured when determining the size of a spider.

spider web that looks like a tunnel
Brown Funnel Web Spider

This distinctive tunnel shaped web is constructed close to the ground in the grass or low vegetation.  The web is not sticky; instead the strands slow down prey that walk on it and catches their feet as they fall through. The spider can walk on top of it and sprint out of her funnel to grab and bite.  Fun fact These arachnids are shy and come out at night to do repairs and work on their webs.  

funnel spider web
the web that looks like a tunnel

Funnel web spiders hide in their funnel.  The web is open at both ends, so this spider can run away if attacked.  We have several species of aloe plants which the funnel web spiders seem to keep occupied.  It is a fact that these arachnids prefer moist environments.  Once sexually mature, the males spend the rest of their life wandering in search of a mate.  Shortly after mating a few times, the male often dies.

Funnel Web Spider
Funnel Web Spider carrying a large egg sac

These female spiders build their tunnel shaped web and stay with it their entire life.  She spends most of her time capturing and eating prey; while building up her strength to mate and lay eggs.   This female arachnid does not search for mates, but rather, waits for the males to wander by and find her.

brown spiders in the garden grass
round egg sac attached to a female funnel web spider

Spiderlings that hatch out of eggs look like tiny adults.  They have to shed their skin (molt) in order to grow.  Spiders have exoskeletons on the outside of their body.

funnel web brown spider
spider web that looks like a tunnel

The broad funnel shaped web, looks like a tunnel ( see photo above ) and is made by the spider to connect to their burrow.  When an insect enters the web the spider feels the vibrations and rushes out from the narrow end to bite its prey and inject it with venom.

PLEASE NOTE:

The Arizona funnel web spiders are NOT the same as the deadly Australian Funnel-web spiders, Atrax robustus, and are NOT dangerous to humans.

If you were bitten by several funnel web spiders the venom could make you ill and you should see a doctor.

brown spider with long legs
Medium sized brown funnel web spider

Funnel web spiders have been mistaken for Wolf spiders.  When identifying a wolf spider remember wolf spiders DO NOT spin webs.  Wolf spiders are larger.

desert spiders long legs
large gray male wolf spider

I am not crazy about spiders and they make the hair on my arms stand up but spiders are very important to the ecosystem and health of our planet.

Advertisements

A large, hairy gray spider – Wolf Spider in my Lantana

Wolf spiders are expert hunters and pretty easy to identify due to their large size and hairy bodies.  If touched or threatened a Wolf spider will bite.   I was careful while observing this large gray, grey, Wolf spider that made his home in our Lantana plant.

Arizona hairy spider
grey hairy Arizona Wolf Spider

Wolf Spiders have over 2,000 species and are members of the Lycosidae family. They live mostly solitary lives and hunt alone. Some Wolf spiders will chase their prey and others will wait in their burrow for passing prey.  Wolf spiders are fast runners.

hairy spiders Arizona
Wolf Spiders, Lycosidae Family

Arizona Wolf spiders are generally hairy with varying colors from browns and grays.  Sometimes this spider will have a pattern along the back of the abdomen and head.  Wolf spiders have good camouflage for living in the desert.  They depend on camouflage for protection.

wolf spider
Gray Wolf Spider Eyes

The photo above and below shows the eyes of the Wolf spider.  They have eight eyes in three horizontal rows;  with 4 small eyes on the bottom, 2 large eyes in the middle and 2 medium eyes on the top.

eyes of hairy wolf spider
Arizona Wolf Spider, eyes
desert Wolf Spider
AZ Wolf spider row of eyes,  fangs – chelicera

The light from the flashlight has been reflected from the Wolf spider’s eyes producing a glow in the photo below.  According to the Arizona – Sonora Desert Museum, the eye shine is caused by a tapetum in the eye which reflects light rays back through the eye retina and probably enhances the spider’s night vision. Wolf spiders are primarily nocturnal predators and are rarely seen during the day.

wolf spider eyes glow
wolf spiders eyes glow with the flashlight
desert spiders long legs
large gray male wolf spider

The male Wolf spider has two additional leg-like appendages, called palps, that are attached behind the mouthparts.  These palps are used to hold and position prey and in the mating ritual.  Female Wolf spiders are larger than males.

palp of a male wolf spider
visible Palp of a Male Wolf Spider

Female Wolf spiders carry their egg case at the end of the abdomen by attaching it to their spinnerets.  The female spider holds her abdomen up in the air so the egg sac doesn’t drag on the ground.  When the spiderlings hatch they climb onto the female Wolf spider’s abdomen and hold her hairs.

Wolf spiders are capable of defensive bites if provoked.  Symptoms of the Wolf Spider’s venomous bite include swelling, pain, redness and itching.  The skin area at the Wolf spider bite may turn black. Swelling and pain can last up to ten days.

hairy light brown spider
wolf spiders in the desert southwest

Nevertheless, having wolf spiders is considered favorable because they consume undesirable arachnids.  I’m quite happy to have this Wolf spider guarding our large Lantana shrub.

 

What kind of spider makes a tunnel web – funnel web spiders in Arizona

This medium sized light brown spider with dark stripes built his tunnel web in our aloe and cactus plants.  Funnel web Spiders are known for their tunnel looking, funnel shaped webs.

webs that look like tunnels
Funnel Web Spider has a tunnel

These spiders are found all over the world.  There are over 600 species of funnel-web spiders, belonging to the Agelenidae family.

web with a hole in it like a tunnel
spider web looks like a tunnel

We have several species of aloe desert plants on our property which the funnel web spiders seem to keep occupied.  It is a fact that funnel-web spiders prefer moist environments.

brown grey spider in a tunnel web
funnel web gray brown spider

Funnel web spiders are shy and come out at night.  It was a cloudy day around the Tucson area and I was able to spot this arachnid repairing their web.

web with a hole entrance
spider tunnel web with an egg sac, funnel web
Funnel Web Spider
Funnel Web Spider carrying a large egg sac

The broad funnel shaped web, looks like a tunnel ( see photo below )  and is made by the spider to connect to their burrow.  When an insect enters the web the spider feels the vibrations and rushes out from the narrow end to bite its prey and inject it with venom.

fennel web
the web that looks like a tunnel

The Arizona funnel-web spiders are NOT the same as the deadly Australian Funnel-web spiders, Atrax robustus, and are NOT dangerous to humans.

  • The Australian Funnel-web spider is in the family Hexathelidae.
  • The Arizona Funnel-web spider is in the family Agelenidae.

If you were bitten by SEVERAL funnel web spiders the venom could make you very ill and you should see a doctor.

fennelweb spider
funnel web spider

Identifying a funnel-web spider:  These spiders have distinctive grey and brown stripes and patterns.

webs that look like tunnels
funnel web spiders make tunnel webs

Funnel web spiders have long legs with little bristles and small eyes in 2 rows of four.

Funnel web spiders have been mistaken Wolf spiders.  When identifying a wolf spider remember wolf spiders DO NOT spin webs.

spider with long legs
Wolf Spiders do not make webs
skinny spider with long legs
Wolf Spiders have smaller abdomens

I am not crazy about spiders but they are very important to the ecosystem and health of our planet.