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.

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Poisonous Black Widow Spiders – facts, webs and identification

What do you do when you find a Black Widow Spider?  Although spiders are important for the ecosystem and very beneficial to a garden, widow spiders are considered the most venomous spiders in North America.

Latrodectus, western widow spider poisonous
large female black widow with the red hourglass marks

Black Widow spiders are the most common species that belong to the Latrodectus genus, in the Theridiidae family. 

The web of a widow spider, Latrodectus,  looks like it was haphazardly thrown together.  The photo below shows silk strands grouped together with bits of leaves and sticks in the web.

black widow spider web photo
web of the black widow spider is tossed together with strands of silk

Black widow spiders tend to make their webs close to the ground in undisturbed areas.  The female widow spider is quite the homebody and likes to stay in her web.

Latrodectus genus of spider, in the family Theridiidae
a young spider and female black widow spider

Juveniles and adult male Latrodectus are much smaller than the female spiders and are a light brown or grey color.  Usually the male widow spider has several red, orange marks on his belly along with yellow or white bands on the top of the abdomen.

—  SPIDER FACTS  —

Latrodectus is a genus of spider which has 32 species, with varying markings and colors. The more common name is WIDOW SPIDERS.

Widow spiders belong to the cobweb spider family. They spin unorganized, irregular, messy webs to catch insects.

The black widow spider is shy and rarely leaves the web.  She prefers to make her home in dark, protected areas. Being nocturnal, this spider does its hunting at night.

spider with red marks
female widow spiders are larger than the males

It is wise to be cautious of this poisonous spider! Widow spider bites are dangerous because of the neurotoxin that causes the condition latrodectism – which is seizures and pain in muscle groups. 

brown spider with markings
juvenile and male black widow spiders are brown and smaller than the female

The female Latrodectus spider has extra-large venom glands and her bite is particularly harmful to humans.

In humans and dogs the widow spider bite can produce muscle aches, nausea, and a paralysis of the diaphragm that can make breathing difficult.  Most people bitten do not suffer serious damage or death.  A black widow spider bite can be fatal to small children, the sick and elderly.

Is the black widow spider bite fatal to dogs?  This is a big concern for me as I have two beloved dogs running about the yard.  This harmful spider bite to a dog is basically the same as it is to us humans.

Young dogs, older and those dogs with weaker immune systems are at higher risk for complications from a black widow spider bite.   ****Anti-venom drugs are available but need to be administered by your veterinarian.

Fortunately,  widow spiders are non-aggressive and bite only in self-defense.

poisonous spiders
spiders with large abdomens

Symptoms of a poisonous widow spider bite –

Once the spider’s poison reaches the blood, the venom is moved by circulation, causing its toxins to be deposited in the ends of the nerves that are inserted into the muscle.

The widow spider’s venom acts at nerve endings to prevent relaxation of muscles, causing seizures  —  constant, and painful muscle contractions.

Cramping in the stomach is often the most severe symptom but leg and back muscles may be affected also.

What to do after being bit by a widow spider?  SEEK medical attention after a poisonous spider bite.  Poison Control Website  or American Association of Poison Control  –  1-800-222-1222

Pictured below is the size difference between a male and female widow, Latrodectus, spider.

female widow spider is larger
size of male, female widow spiders, Latrodectus

Most people will recognize widow spiders by the hourglass markings on the underside of their abdomens. The hourglass mark is NOT present in ALL Latrodectus species.

The young female spider is more of a brown color with yellowish, white stripes across the top abdomen that change into the red hourglass shape as she ages and darkens to her black spider color.

most poisonous spiders
juvenile female black widow spider with white and yellow marks

The male widow spider is much smaller in size with brown coloring, and lacks the red hourglass mark the female is recognized for.

black widow before she turns black
young widow spider with yellow-orange marks on abdomen
spider white yellow marks
Latrodectus, widow spider with yellow marks, red dots on large abdomen

One way to rid yourself of a black widow spider is spray the web!  Wear protective gloves and spray the web well.  Spiders consume their old webs before they spin a new one.  Be careful always!

Latrodectus genus of spider, in the family Theridiidae
hourglass marking is common for poisonous widow spiders
dangerous harmful widow spiders
poisonous spider with white and yellow marks

In arid parts of Arizona, Latrodectus spiders inhabit almost every crevice in the soil and nests can be found in cholla cacti and agave plants.

Black Widow Spiders like undisturbed areas.  Keeping your home clean and vacuumed can help prevent these dangerous spiders from taking up residence in your house.


black spider with white and yellow spots / marks – poisonous spider identified

Identified a poisonous widow spider with white marks or spots on a large abdomen.  Pictured below is a venomous spider that belongs to the Latrodectus genus, in the Theridiidae family. 

identify black widow spider
black striped spider with white marks, spots

Latrodectus is a genus of spider which contains 32 species. The more common name is WIDOW SPIDERS.

Widow spiders belong to the cobweb spider family. They spin irregular, sticky webs to catch insects. Widow spiders possess a row of bristles on their hind legs that form a comb, which is easily seen in the photos. The comb is used for flinging silk over its prey.

The black widow poisonous spider is perhaps the most common of the genus. Widow spider bites are dangerous because of the neurotoxin which causes the condition latrodectism(pain, seizures in muscle groups) —  this is where the name for the spider genus came about,Latrodectus.

The female Latrodectus spiders have unusually large venom glands and its bite is particularly harmful to humans; however, Latrodectus bites rarely kill humans if proper medical treatment is provided.

widow spider
black spider with orange yellow hourglass

Symptoms of a poisonous widow spider bite:

Once the spider’s poison reaches the blood, the venom is moved by circulation, causing its toxins to be deposited in the ends of the nerves that are inserted into the muscle.

The spider’s venom acts at nerve endings to prevent relaxation of muscles, causing seizures —constant, and painful muscle contractions. Cramping in the stomach is frequently the most severe but leg and back muscles may be affected also.

What to do after being bit by a widow spider?  SEEK medical attention after a poisonous spider bite.

spider with white spots
black striped spider with large abdomen

Most people will recognize widow spiders by the hourglass markings on the underside of their abdomens. The hourglass mark is NOT present in ALL Latrodectus species.

hourglass on spider belly
hourglass on black spider belly

In arid parts of ArizonaLatrodectus spiders inhabit almost every crevice in the soil and nests can be found in cholla cacti and agave plants.

The female’s spider venom is at least three times more potent than that of the males.  

Identify a spider with white spots, striped legs, yellow, white design abdomen stomach – Orb-weaver

This spider’s wheel shaped round web made identifying this striped legged spider easier.  Orb-weaver spiders are the most common garden spiders and love to hangout in the middle of their round webs.

spiders with striped long legs
spiders with white markings abdomen, Orb Weaver spiders

This chromatic spider made a web marvel between two large yucca plants.  It was a medium sized spider, a bit scary looking up close; but I was so intrigued with her massive silky web!

orb weaver spider
striped legs spider with large abdomen markings is an orbweaver
Orbweaver spider
spider striped legs abdomen yellow design

The insect that wonders into the female Orb weaver’s viscid web will receive a quick stunning bite.  This spider has over 3,000 species and belongs to the family Araneidae. 

spiders with white marks on belly stomach
Common spiders with striped legs and white spots markings
spider 4-6 spots on abdomen
spider with white spots on abdomen

Within a few minutes an insect settled on her web and provided a meal for this female Orb weaving spider.  All Orbweavers spin webs.  According to bugguide.net:  Female Orb-weavers spin the webs and are seen more often than the male spiders.

a baby orb weaver garden spider
white spider with black markings, a young orb weaver spider

It is late summer and spiders are everywhere!  Fall is typically the time the female Orb weaving spiders will lay their last clutch of eggs.   The spider eggs survive the winter and will hatch in the spring.

Orbweaver
gray spider white markings orbweaver

Another female Orb weaver was nearby on her wheel shaped web.  This spider was gray colored with striped legs and a white design on the abdomen.   The white design on the spider’s abdomen is clear in the photo below.

abdomen with white design
brown gray spider with white markings

Orb-weaver spiders only bite if they feel threatened.  Their venom is not harmful to humans.   The bite of Orb weaving spiders feels like a bee sting.  They stay active at night rebuilding and repairing their round shaped webs.

Are Orb-weaver spiders poisonous?    Spiders have venom.  Orb-weaver venom is potent but this spider venom is NOT dangerous to humans.    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Is_an_orb_weaver_poisonous

eight eyes
eyes of an orbweaver spider

Orb-weavers and all members of the family Araneidae have eight similar eyes in 2 rows of four.  The spider’s eyes are pretty clear in the photo above.

large abdomen with markings
round spider web with yellow on a large abdomen – orbweaver spider
Orb-weaver spider
spider with white spots on abdomen

In the picture above, this species has 2 white spots on a large abdomen.  

Orb-weaver spiders can help control your mosquito population and are considered beneficial to have around!

orbweaver spider
spider yellow markings striped legs large belly

For identifying the spiders I posted today:

  • gray, brown colors
  • striped legs
  • spider with yellow markings on the abdomen
  • 2-5 white spots underneath the belly
  • spider with white markings on a gray abdomen

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.

SPIDER identified in my garden – black, gray, large abdomen, 4-6 white spots on belly

Our quest to identify a spider near our pond as it is eating the damselflies **.  In the middle of a well engineered round web was a black, brownish, gray spider with striped legs.

**Damselflies are beneficial to the health of the pond.

spiders with striped legs and spots
Orb weaver spider eating

The wheel shaped web made identifying this family of spiders easy.

Orb Weaver spiders, common
spiders with spots and large abdomen

Orb-weaver spiders are the most common garden spiders and love to hangout in the center of their round webs.

 

poisonous spider with large abdomen
Orb weaver spider with white spots, striped legs

QUICK FACT:  Spiders are venomous.    Spiders use venom to subdue their prey.  Fortunately, very few spiders are dangerous to humans or even capable of penetrating the skin of a human.

white marks on spider
common Orb Weaver spider with 4 white spots
garden spider with striped legs
spiders with 4 marks on a large abdomen

 

Orb Weaver common spider
yellow design on the Orb Weaver spider
most common spiders, orb weaver
brown spider with yellow markings

This florid spider made a round web marvel between two plants.  Intimidating up close, this female Orbweaver lingers patiently for her next meal.

spider with its prey in the web
common garden spiders are Orb Weavers

The insect that wonders into the Orb-weaver’s sticky web will receive a quick formidable bite.  This spider has over 3,000 species and belongs to the Araneidae family.

spider with stiped legs
the 4 spots on a common Orb Weaver spider
spider with large abdomen and round web
an Orb Weaver spider caught a bee in her web

All Orb-weaver spiders spin webs!

spider with big yellow belly
the round spider web of the Orb Weaver

Fall is typically the time the female Orb-weaving spiders will lay their last clutch of eggs.  The spider eggs survive the winter and will hatch in the spring.

white markings on belly of spider
grey Orb Weaver spider carrying a damselfly

Orb Weaver Spiders have poor eyesight even though they possess eight eyes that are arranged in two rows of four eyes each.

spiders with round whell shaped webs
garden spider with yellow markings on its abdomen

Orb weaver spiders have many exquisite patterns and colors.  We’ve included many photos to help you identify the spiders in your area.

common garden spider
Orb Weaver spider’s  large abdomen
Araneidae family of spiders
Orb Weaver spiders have designs on their backs

Note:  Orb-weaver spiders only bite if they feel threatened.  Their venom is not harmful to humans.

What does a spider bite feel like?  The bite from an Orb-weaver spider feels like a bee sting.

At night is a good time to see these spiders working hard to rebuild and repair their round, wheel-shaped webs.

identify spider with striped legs
identify a spider with white marks

For people searching to identify a spider that looks like the one I found in the above picture.  This is a spider with a large abdomen, gray and black striped legs, 4-6 white marks underneath the abdomen.

orb weaver garden spiders
spiders with 4 to 6 white marks on the bottom of the abdomen

Like all spiders, the young Orb-weaver looks like a tiny adult when it hatches.  As the spider grows it sheds it’s skin.  Spiders hatch in the spring.

juvenile orb weaver spiders
young orb weaver spiders with white legs

For identifying the spiders I posted today:

  • gray, brown colors
  • striped legs
  • spider with yellow markings on the abdomen
  • 2-6 white spots underneath the belly
  • spider with white markings on a gray abdomen

Orb-weaver spiders are good because they help control mosquito, fly and ant populations;  therefore, beneficial to our planet.

TIDBITS:  How long does a spider live?  Most spiders live for only one year.