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Grass Spider (Agelenopsis spp.)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Grass Spider



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Image Credit: Arch Baker
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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.



Updated: 09/17/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Grass Spiders are common sights throughout North American summers. They belong to the family of Funnel Web Weavers. Noted for the shape of their webs, a Grass Spider creates a cave-like web in a grassy lawn, and hides in the back of it. It has large spinnerets on the tip of the abdomen that look like short tails, and it uses them to build a web that resembles miniature black holes among blades of grass. Theses funnel webs can also be found in low-growing shrubs, in the crevices of buildings, or along the bottoms of fences.

Grass Spiders are fast movers and catch their prey, dragging the catch into the funnel of the web. Unknowing insects can also wander into the opening of the funnel and become entangled, triggering telegraph lines that inform the spider to respond. The speedy Grass Spider pounces on the prey and eats it at its leisure.

Often mistaken for Wolf Spiders, Grass Spiders have a similar color pattern on the cephalothorax (head region). Two black lines run down either side of a tan midline. These dark lines are not as thick or dramatic as in Wolf Spiders. The abdomen is the best place to look to tell these arachnids apart. The pattern on the Grass Spider's abdomen may begin with an extension of dark lines, but it is mostly covered by a series of chevrons. The Wolf Spider abdomen has a bold black line right down the middle that comes to a point, and lacks the light chevrons. A Grass Spider is unlikely to bite and does not have poisonous venom. A Wolf Spider will bite and the wound will hurt for a while.

Male Grass Spiders are smaller than females. 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. When the eggs hatch, they 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. If not for dew and rain, most people never realize how many Grass Spiders are actually inhabiting their front and backyards.




Known Diet of the Grass-Spider



insects


General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Fast insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
      Order: Araneae
        Family: Agelenidae
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          Genus: Agelenopsis
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            Species: spp.
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Agelenopsis spp.
Other Name(s): Funnel-Web Spider
Category: Spider
Size (Adult; Length): 15mm to 20mm (0.59" to 0.78")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: yellow; gray; brown; ivory
Descriptors: fast, stripe, tunnel
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Range Between 15mm and 20mm
Lo: 15mm
Md: 17.5mm
Hi: 20mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
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State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
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State of Maine graphic
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State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
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State of South Carolina graphic
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State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
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State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Grass Spider may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Grass Spider. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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