Cellar Spider Eating a Clover Weevil

2012 January 25

This is another species (well, actually two species) that I’ve already posted before: on June 26, 2011, a cellar spider (Pholcus phalangioides) on our back porch eaves was wrapping up a Clover weevil (Sitona hispidulus) that it had caught for its next meal.

The previous cellar-spider pictures were, frankly, kind of lousy, so hopefully these pictures will be a bit better. Here’s a side view:

and here’s a closeup of the face and body, showing the three distinct eye clusters:

There was another one just a short distance away, also under the eaves, that gave a decent view of the back:

And here’s another of these spiders, from inside the house on February 2, 2010. This one gave me a good view of the underside.

In particular, we can see the gonopore, indicating that this one is a female. She’s probably not been fertilized yet, so her abdomen isn’t swollen with eggs.

One shot that I haven’t gotten yet, is of a female with eggs. When they lay eggs, the female ties them up in a little packet, and then carries it in her jaws until they hatch. I assume that she doesn’t eat while doing this, and she probably dies shortly after the eggs hatch. but it turns out that she can survive that long without food. They can apparently live for up to 3 years after reaching maturity, and a female may have as many as three egg sacs in that time.

4 Responses
  1. January 25, 2012

    I assume that she doesn’t eat while doing this, and she probably dies shortly after the eggs hatch.

    Parental Guilt Tripping, Hall of Fame Inductee.

  2. January 25, 2012

    Whoops, it turns out I was mistaken. It seems that she can survive without food until the eggs hatch, and may well go on to have several other egg sacs later on! (see the link in the correction to the post).

    But yes, if arthropods could feel parential guilt, a lot of them would be crushed by the thought of what happened to their parents.

  3. January 27, 2012

    I’m still amazed that these little spiders can get past the beetle’s carapace to kill and drink their victims.

  4. January 29, 2012

    I kind of picture the getting-past-the-armor as being like what the Black Knight does at 1:24 in this video clip. You just have to find the chink where you can get through.

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