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Random Prime

· 22ND OF OCTOBER, THE YEAR 2005

CALIFORNIA FUNNEL WEB SPIDER

Note: since I’m beginning to suspect this post as being the source of some misinformation, let me say that I think my use of the common name “California funnel web spider” was a erroneous reproduction of the name “California funnel web tarantula” used on that form post I link to below, and even that name doesn’t seem to be in general use. This spider is properly known as the Calisoga longitarsis (or Brachythele longitarsis, depending on which classification scheme you prefer). It has no widely-used common name, to my knowledge. Spiders usually referred to as “funnel-web spiders” are very different spiders in the family Agelenidae, so if you got here looking for those, check out that BugGuide link.

After my fire adventures, I found this excellent spider by one of our traps. It looked like a tarantula, and I thought it was a turret spider, but I later learned that it’s actually a funnel web spider (Calisoga longitarsis), another kind of mygalomorph. No, not the deadly Australian kind. This one’s a native Californian, and I don’t think its bite is any worse than a bee sting. Apparently they’re known to be very defensive, and this one was no exception. It reared up on its back legs and bore its sizable fangs when I disturbed it. It was only about 3 cm in diameter.

Funnel web spider

Funnel web spider

8 COMMENTS

Brad DeVillez said on June 10th, 2006 at 12:33 pm,

I noticed about five funnel webs in my back yard. I live in Fontana, CA. The first thing that popped into my head was, “man I’ve heard those funnel spiders are deadly”. Thanks for the info. I’ll let the spiders stay!

Jessica said on October 12th, 2006 at 11:01 am,

I saw one near my apt in Mill Valley, late at night. I thought it was a tarantula. Phew!

Nancy Sanchietti said on November 18th, 2006 at 5:08 pm,

Nov. 18, 2006 We found a funnel-web spider at the bottom of our swimming pool yesterday. We scooped it out and placed it in a beer cup, thinking it was dead, so we could try and identify it. This morning, we found that it was alive and feisty. It is about 1 1/2 by 2 inches, brown and hairy, looks just like the one in your picture. We live in rural Sebastopol, CA.

Robert Garriock said on December 11th, 2006 at 6:24 pm,

I found this spider recently North of San Francisco in Marin Co. It is a male like the one in the photograph. I have it captive right now and might give it some room to make a burrow.

Roza Tammer said on November 4th, 2007 at 2:13 pm,

We found one in the Oakland hills at Skyline High School the other day. Ours is a silvery gray, just about an inch if its legs are spread out.

For the want of a good knot « Jacquie Phelan’s Weblog said on November 7th, 2007 at 9:56 pm,

[...] For the want of a good knot Some tread was lost. Yesterday was the first ride I’ve done with the great Anne Cutler, infrared photographer and blues guitarist of questionable repute. Who greeted me at the Halloween party last week saying: “I was going to come as YOU (alice b.? Really? Moi?) but I decided “software pirate” would be cool. Aarrgh! Nice to finally meet you”. Hard to not want to go out on a ride as soon as possible with someone so gracious, kind, articulate, with such terrific taste in roll models, and whose costume has an embedded pun. We agreed a day or two later to do the Lagunitas Loop–your basic perfect ride, all the ingredients– and maybe climb beyond the morning fog. Barely up to five corners I jump off my bike, unshoulder my banjo, and ask if A.C. has ever ‘teased spiders’ before. On misty moisty mornings the webs of the funnel spiders become shimmeringly visible, diamond-studded tissues of two sizes: momma spider (doily) or baby spider (beer coaster). THe latter ones come in huge numbers…a few dozen within a couple of meter’s radius. Every funnel has a perfect little black circular entrance at its center, in ominous contrast to the light-reflecting funnel that surrounds it. I took a thin strip of soft long grass, and touched it to the web , peering into the hole. The natural tremor in my huge hominid hand shook the web. It must have been a botched job at first, but finally OUT RACED THE SPIDER to find..trick or treat ha-ha-false alarm, no fly , just a perverted person messing with the spider’s brain. And ripping a hole in the web. [...]

damian said on June 9th, 2009 at 7:56 pm,

that is a tarantula the american funnel web spider is a very nice spider i hold mine all the time their as wide as a dime some a little bigger

damian dude said on June 9th, 2009 at 7:57 pm,

that is a tarantula the american funnel web spider is a very nice spider i hold mine all the time their as wide as a dime some a little bigger.