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Insect Identification

Grass Spider - (Agelenopsis spp.)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 8/12/2014

Funnel-Web Spiders, or Grass Spiders, build a small vortex of web into the grass, lunging at any insect prey that has the misfortune of passing too closely.

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Grass Spiders are common sights throughout North American summers and belong to a family of Funnel Web Weavers.

Noted for the shape of their webs, Funnel-Web Spiders, or Grass Spiders, create cave-like webs and hide in the back of them. They have large spinnerets on the tip of the abdomen and use them to build webs that resemble non-sticky black holes. Males are smaller than females.

Grass Spiders are fast movers and catch their prey, dragging their catch into the funnel. Unknowing insects can also wander into the opening of the funnel and become entangled, triggering telegraph lines for the spider in the back to respond to. The speedy Grass Spider pounces on the prey and eats it at its leisure. Theses funnel webs can usually be found on grass, in low shrubs,in the crevices of buildings, or along the bottoms of fences.

Females lay egg sacs that overwinter, hatching spiderlings in the spring. Sometimes the egg sac is found at the edge of the web, sometimes at the feet of the dried up, dead mother. The spiderlings hatch and yield a bounty of hatchlings that will scurry about and build individual nests spread away from one another. These small webs will increase in size and visibility the bigger the spider gets. These webs are most visible after a rain, when water droplets cling to the silk and reflect light.

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Category: Spider
Common name: Grass Spider
Scientific Name: Agelenopsis spp.
Other Names: Funnel-Web Spider

Taxonomy:
  Kingdom: Animalia
   Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
     Order: Araneae
      Family: Agelenidae
       Genus: Agelenopsis
        Species: spp.

Adult Size (Length): 15mm to 20mm (0.59in to 0.79in) COMPARE

Identifying Colors: yellow; gray; brown; ivory

General Description: fast, stripe, tunnel


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; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico


* 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.


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