Female Grass Spider / Agelenopsis
Female grass spiders - Agelenopsis - are the spiders that stay home and make a lovely web while the males go roaming all over creation. If you spot a grass spider sitting patiently by a web, it's probably the female. Their job is to get plump and secure, and locate a place where the baby spiders can grow up in safety.
Grass spiders are members of the Funnel Web family (Agelenidae) and the Grass Spider level is the genus (Agelenopsis). There are actually sub-groups of grass spiders but they all look alike and can apparently be told apart by looking at the spiders' genitals. We're not quite that interested. We're happy enough to know it is a grass spider.
Grass spiders in general have long, thin legs, are brown with darker spots, and have a slender body. Their thorax is vertically striped with light brown on the sides and darker brown on the top. Grass spiders can generally be told by having very long spinarettes - the pair of long thin things where a tail would be, which spin their web.
The web of a grass spider is very interesting! There is a lower level that is flat like a sheet. This is the catch net, to catch insects on. Above that sheet is an intricate array of webs which are what the insects fly into. So the insect flies into the network of webs up above, hits one, falls to the sheet below, and then the grass spider jumps out lightning-fast to grab it. The grass spider then drags the prey back through its funnel on one corner to eat it in safety. This is why the spiders are called funnel web spiders.
They tend to set up their webs in nooks and crannies, or on railings of porches. That is where two of our funnel web spiders are located.
She loves moths, when we toss one in she jumps on it immediately. She's also fond of tortoise bugs - the green bugs in these photos. However she didn't like the slug at all.
Here are some views of the web, to show how it has the high upper area, the sheet lower area, and then the funnel to one side where the spider lives.
Male Grass Spiders
Grass Spiders - main page
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Spiders in Sutton Massachusetts
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