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Long-bodied Cellar Spider (Pholcus phalangioides)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Long-bodied Cellar Spider



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The stealthy Long-bodied Cellar Spider should only invoke fear in small insect prey, not with humans trying to do laundry.



Updated: 07/07/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The elongated, tubular shape of the abdomen gave the Long-bodied Cellar Spider its common name. The rounded bottom and tapered waist could almost pass for the top of a skull and tapered jawline, giving rise to a second common name, Skull Spider. Thanks to its long, spindly legs, some call this spider a Daddy-Long-Legs. Daddy-Long-Legs is also used to refer to Harvestman, which are not spiders though they are still a part of the arachnid class.

The Long-bodied Cellar Spider can be seen bouncing on its own web to make itself harder to see by blurring itself to the observer. This behavior serves to disorient a predator or threat. Normally, they simply hang up-side-down, waiting for insects to wander into their web. The Long-bodied Cellar Spider has very small chelicera (mouth parts) and is not known to bite people. Though they are venomous (like 99% of all North American spiders), they are not poisonous. They have short fangs, which are too tiny to inject any venom.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Insect biting icon
Venomous insect icon


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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
      Order: Araneae
        Family: Pholcidae
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          Genus: Pholcus
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            Species: phalangioides
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Pholcus phalangioides
Other Name(s): Skull Spider, Daddy-Long-Legs
Category: Spider
Size (Adult; Length): 6mm to 10mm (0.23" to 0.39")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown
Descriptors: biting, venomous, long, skinny
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Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 6mm (0.2in) and 10mm (0.4in)
Lo: 6mm
Md: 8mm
Hi: 10mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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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 Long-bodied Cellar 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 Long-bodied Cellar Spider. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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