Sunday, May 30, 2010

Climbing the Walls


If you have an oldish house with some dark, damp corners - like ours - the chances are that you'll discover sooner or later that you are sharing it with daddy-long-legs spiders Pholcus phalanioides. This is a spider that is only found inside buildings in Britain. It comes from warmer climates and can't survive outside here.


I spotted this individual climbing the walls of our stair well at around midnight last night and noticed that it was carry something in its jaws.

Its cargo turned out to be its eggs, that looked like they might be close to hatching, which female Pholcus spiders carry around for safety. Even an arachnophobe would have to admire this high degree of maternal care. After dark, when we humans sleep, spiders emerge from behind bookcases, under settees and from inaccessible corners to conduct their nocturnal lives, and this one seemed to be moving home, perhaps to spin one of its untidy webs in a corner where it will catch enough prey to feed its spiderlings. If it doesn't, they'll eat each other. Pholcus is especially partial to catching and eating other spiders, including its own kind.

For more on the intriguing world of spiders take a look at the British Arachnological Society web site at http://wiki.britishspiders.org.uk/index.php5?title=Main_Page

9 comments:

  1. She is beautiful. the photographs are excellent.

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  2. She is beautiful, great photographs.

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  3. Another beautifully illustrated, and fascinating, insight. Thank you Phil!

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  4. Very elegant spiders, aren't they Adrian? They always put their feet down so carefully, as if they are testing the gound.

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  5. Thanks for visiting Richard ... and for your kind comments.

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  6. Amazing photos Phil. I shall be on the look out for spiders around the house now.

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  7. I often come across that spider, but never thought to photograph it. Great shot.

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  8. Hi Mark, thanks - our house seems to come alive after sunset, with all sorts creeping out from behind bookcases and pictures..

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  9. Hi Ann, Apparently it turns up in houses all across the temperate zone as a cohabiter with humans and it's said that it's far more predatory that it looks, even to the extent of catching and killing large house spiders.

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