Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Two of our British "Funnel web" (or "Lace Weavers") spiders are Amaurobius similis & Amaurobius fenestralis.
A. similis tends more often than not, to be found outside (though very near, if not ON human habitation), whereas A. fenestralis is the creature-comfort-loving, indoors funnel-web spider, usually.

Silken retreats, consisting of a lacy silken tunnel with an entrance surrounded by a collar of silk, can often be seen in old brick and stonewalls, gaps in wooden fences and cracks in fissured bark, are made by these funnel-web spiders, that also make retreats beneath stones. During the day the occupant cannot usually be seen (well... maybe one leg can be), but at night they can be seen near the tunnel entrance with the aid of light.

To entice this spider from its silken tunnel either during the day or at night, gently tickle the silken strands of the entrance with a piece of grass or matchstick and it will dash out and chase the offending object. Wandering woodlice, beetles and other insects fall victim to this spider as they crawl over the surface of the wall, fence or tree.

There were two A.similis (I think), outside on the kitchen wall last night, I wish I could have got a better photograph - but the spiders weren't really in the mood to have their mug-shots taken.
The best photo I could manage is posted above though, (holding a torch in my teeth to enable me to manually focus as best I could in the dark..).


Anonymous said...

you do realise that what you describe aren't funnel web spiders. They are tube web spiders. the bbc made a rather large error on this. If we had funnel web spiders in the uk we'd all be pretty petrified as they are the most dangerous spider in the world. Tube web spiders are not dangerous to humans. You need to do some research to distinguish the two. I'm only pointing it out cos you're giving incorrect info on the web when there is a clear difference between the two species. I hope that we are never unlucky enough to get funnel webs in our country!!

Matthew Sharples said...

Funnel web spiders are a type of spider, not a species of spider. The Australian have funnel web spiders that just happen to be poisonous. In the UK we also have funnel web spiders, but they're not dangerous.
The BBC was correct i am afraid.