Insect Identification
Insect Identification

Feather-Legged Spider - (Uloborus glomosus)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 9/29/2014

The Feather-Legged Spider uses its extra tufts of hair to comb its silk web.

Thick legs with long, feathery hairs on them make this spider unique. They may look ferocious, but they actually lack venom glands and are, therefore, non-venomous, a true rarity in the spider world.

It is a type of orb-weaver, creating fine webs that entangle prey. The webs are built flat, not far from the ground. They seem to prefer to hang head-down when collecting and feeding on prey. The silk of their web is not sticky so its ensnaring quality comes from the way it is built. Inside of a spiral with large holes in it, the Feather-Legged Spider creates a willowy web with many small gaps. The size of the narrow connections in the web make it difficult for an insect to pull itself free (think of the board game "Operation"). It will likely make the tangle worse by twisting more of the small gaps around itself. It is then that the spider descends on its prey, crushing it using lines of silk.

Typical orb-weavers recreate their web every day. A stabilimentum (zig-zag) may be visible in the web. It may be the only part of the web you see before you walk through it.

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Category: Spider
Common name: Feather-Legged Spider
Scientific Name: Uloborus glomosus

  Kingdom: Animalia
   Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
     Order: Araneae
      Family: Uloboridae
       Genus: Uloborus
        Species: glomosus

Adult Size (Length): 3mm to 10mm (0.12in to 0.39in)

Identifying Colors: brown; ivory; red, black

Additional Descriptors: feathery, bumpy, speckled, tufts

North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

* Keep in mind that insect reach is not governed by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.