Funnel Web Spiders
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Types of Spiders
Funnel web spiders (Agelenidae) fit into the web building spider group. Their webs function as their primary hunting tool.
With over eighty different species listed under nine genera, unless you have a picture of the spider by the funnel, many species in the United States can be difficult to identify.
They are commonly called grass spiders and house spiders because of their tendency to live in and around residential.
One general identification rule of thumb for funnel web spiders is to look at their tail end. Many species have extended spinnerets and this differentiates them from wolf spiders.
A close up picture of the eyes also helps with identification.
Wolf spiders are hunters, and generally need better sight. Their eight eyes are more spread out around the head, with a straight row of four eyes on the bottom, topped by a "U" shaped row of eyes on the top and side of the head.
Funnel web spiders, like the one in the picture, also have eight eyes. They are arranged in two narrow and relatively straight rows. The eye arrangement gives them a forward looking appearance.
Most funnel web spiders are not considered dangerous to humans. The Hobo Spider in the Pacific Northwest would be the exception.
Australia presents a special case. They have a group of dangerous funnel web spiders in a different family, Hexathelidae. The Sydney funnel-web spider, for example, makes it home in the area surrounding Sydney, Australia. Its bite is deadly without a proper antidote. Being such a dangerous spider in a large population center often propels the Sydney funnel-web spider to the top of the world's most dangerous spider list.
Fortunately, Australian funnel web spiders are easier to identify. Typically they are a dark solid color with a shiny head. Spiderz Rule provides multiple pictures and descriptions of the spiders along with pictures and descriptions of other Australian spiders.
© 2006-2011. Patricia A. Michaels