My hope is to inspire interest in spiders through storytelling. Spiders are so amazing and diverse! I have A LOT of fascinating information that needs to be shared out! Take this lady, for instance – one of the “cellar spiders” in the Pholcidae family. Specifically, Crossopriza lyoni. One of my students found her in his mom’s office in Feb 2015 and she’s still hangin’. He got extra credit!
This family is known for their long legs, sometimes called daddy-long-legs which is really confusing and not the same as daddy-long-legs, the harvestman. This family spins messy webs in corners and is an efficient wrapper of prey. It’s long legs allow it’s body to stay out of harm’s way while wrapping an angry centipede or a thick spider. Another thing that is fun about this family is when they are disturbed, they do this crazy fast swirl dance to deter a could-be predator. Here’s one on youtube: dancing spider.
I was thrilled with this particular spider because, although “cellar spiders” are very common around here (and thrive in dark, damp Pittsburgh basements) this was one I’ve never seen. First of all, look at her abdomen! That was a dead give away for identification. No other spider looks like that. She is also “big” as far as leg span goes. I like to use her at presentations because she is so calm, slow, and light on her “feet”.