All You Need to Know About Cellar Spiders: Identification, Behavior, and Habitat
Cellar spiders, scientifically known as Pholcidae, are a unique and intriguing species of spiders that are commonly found in homes, basements, and other dark, damp areas. These spiders are often referred to as daddy longlegs due to their long, thin legs. In this article, we will explore the identification, behavior, and habitat of cellar spiders, shedding light on their fascinating world.
Cellar spiders can be easily identified by their distinctive features. These spiders have small, oval-shaped bodies, ranging in size from 2 to 10 mm. Their most prominent characteristic is their long, fragile legs, which can be up to three times the length of their bodies. Their legs are covered in fine hairs, giving them a fuzzy appearance.
One of the key features of cellar spiders is their ability to vibrate their webs when they feel threatened. This behavior, known as "web shaking," is a defensive mechanism that helps them deter predators.
Cellar spiders are nocturnal creatures and are most active during the night. They are skilled hunters, using their webs to catch prey. Contrary to popular belief, their webs are not tangled or messy but are actually finely constructed with irregular patterns. These spiders prefer to build their webs in dark, undisturbed areas such as basements, crawl spaces, and abandoned buildings.
While cellar spiders are not venomous, they possess venom glands that can immobilize their prey. However, their venom is not harmful to humans and is only effective against small insects. When they catch their prey, they wrap it in silk and inject it with digestive enzymes before consuming it.
As their name suggests, cellar spiders are commonly found in cellars, basements, and other dark, damp areas. They are attracted to these environments due to the abundance of insects and other small prey that thrive in such conditions. Cellar spiders are also known to inhabit caves, crevices, and other hidden places where they can find shelter and food.
These spiders prefer temperatures between 70°F to 80°F (21°C to 27°C) with high humidity levels. They are not well-suited to survive in dry environments and are more commonly found in regions with moderate climates.
1. Are cellar spiders dangerous?
No, cellar spiders are not dangerous to humans. They are not venomous, and their bite is harmless.
2. How can I get rid of cellar spiders in my home?
The best way to control cellar spiders is to eliminate their food source. Regularly clean your home to reduce the presence of insects and small prey. Additionally, sealing cracks and crevices can help prevent their entry.
3. Do cellar spiders bite?
While cellar spiders are capable of biting, they rarely do so unless directly provoked. Their bites are harmless and usually result in mild irritation similar to a mosquito bite.
4. Can cellar spiders fly?
No, cellar spiders cannot fly. They are incapable of producing silk threads that are light enough to be carried by the wind.
5. Are daddy longlegs and cellar spiders the same?
No, daddy longlegs is a term often used to refer to both cellar spiders and harvestmen, which are arachnids but not spiders. Cellar spiders have segmented bodies and distinct body parts, while harvestmen have a single body segment.
6. How long do cellar spiders live?
Cellar spiders have a relatively short lifespan, usually living for about one year.
7. Can I keep cellar spiders as pets?
While some people may find cellar spiders intriguing, they are not commonly kept as pets due to their fragile nature and short lifespan. Moreover, they are not well-suited to captivity.
8. Do cellar spiders have predators?
Yes, cellar spiders have a few natural predators, including other spiders, birds, and small mammals. Their ability to vibrate their webs helps deter predators.
9. How many eggs do cellar spiders lay?
Cellar spiders can lay several egg sacs, each containing around 20 to 60 eggs. The females guard their eggs until they hatch.
10. Can cellar spiders be beneficial?
Yes, cellar spiders are considered beneficial as they help control populations of small insects and pests. They play a role in maintaining the ecological balance in their habitats.
In conclusion, cellar spiders are fascinating creatures that play an important role in the ecosystem. Despite their fragile appearance, they are skilled hunters and are beneficial in controlling the population of small insects. Understanding their identification, behavior, and habitat can help us appreciate these unique spiders and coexist with them in our homes.