Wednesday, June 27, 2012

More Funnel Web Spiders

And dew-bright webs festoon the grass
In roadside fields at morning. ~Elizabeth Akers

The general shape of the web is like that of a broad funnel with a tube leading down at one side. This tube is used as a hiding place by the architect, the grass spider, which thus escapes the eyes of its enemies, and also keeps out of sight of any insects that might be frightened at seeing it, and so avoid the web. But the tube is no cul-de-sac; quite to the contrary, it has a rear exit, through which the spider, if frightened, escapes from attack.

 The web is formed of many lines of silk crossing each other irregularly, forming a firm sheet. This sheet is held in place by many guy-lines, which fasten it to surrounding objects. If the web is touched lightly, the spider rushes forth from its lair to seize its prey; but if the web be jarred roughly, the spider speeds out through its back door and can be found only with difficulty. ~Handbook of Nature Study, p.438

I think this may not be called a grass spider because it is larger. It lives on a succulent in the succulent garden at the top of Laguna Niguel botanical garden. I found something online saying the most common funnel web spiders in Southern California are called 'hololena' or 'calilena'. In any case, it has a much larger funnel web than the grass funnel web spiders I have seen locally. 

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