Cellar Spiders

Cellar Spiders

Cellar-Spiders
  • Common Name(s): Long Bodied Cellar Spider, Cellar Spider, Daddy Long Legs (Harvestmen also share this common name)
  • Order: Araneae
  • Family: Pholcidae
  • Common Species: Pholcus phalangioides
  • Commonly Confused With: Brown Recluse Spiders

Characteristics

How to Identify?
Cellar spiders possess a darker gray to brown or pale yellow abdomen (back section of a spider) and a cephalothorax (front section of a spider) that is lighter in color and much smaller than the abdomen. The legs are typically lighter than the body in color and have dark bands on different sections. The legs of cellar spiders are long in comparison to their bodies. The body of a cellar spider is between 6-10 millimeters in length, but their long legs can make them appear much larger.

Habitat

Where do they live?
These spiders are found inside more regularly than many of the other spider species. They get in corners, behind furniture, in basements, bathrooms, and any other safe, secluded area in the home. They are also found outdoors and will frequently venture into garages to build their webs.

Food Source

What do they eat?
Cellar spiders are predators of insects and other arthropods (insects, spiders, crustaceans, millipedes, etc). They are not hunting spiders like some other species but instead spend most of their time on their webs.

Activity

What do they do?
Most cellar spiders build webs in many different areas of the home. They may annoy people with the placement of their webs, but that is the only real threat they pose to humans. Most cellar spiders are too small to bite humans. If one did happen to find a way to bite it would be nothing more than a mild stinging sensation (unless the person happened to be allergic to the spiders or the bite got infected).

Fun Fact

Most of the cellar spider species found in homes throughout the United States are not native species and have been introduced from other countries. If disturbed, cellar spiders will bounce or spin around wildly in their webs to try and deter whatever threat may be bothering them. If all else fails they will flee their web; these strange behaviors are usually enough to keep people far away!

Author: G. Wyatt West– B.S.E.S University of Georgia 2017; Board Certified Entomologist

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