Saturday, July 27, 2013

Funnel Weaver Spiders

Funnel Weaver Spider
As I have previously said, if you search around your house, you always can find something to photograph.  In the arborvitaes around our complex, funnel weaver spiders have created their webs and are waiting for their prey.  Funnel weaver spiders closely resemble wolf spiders, but can be distinguished from them since wolf spiders do not build webs.  As opposed to some of the other spiders, the web of a funnel weaving spider is not sticky and the spider uses its speed to capture its prey.  Also, funnel weaving spiders will retreat into the funnel of the web, and hide when threatened by a larger creature.

Two years ago, it took over one half-hour for me to capture the photograph of a funnel weaving spider that was awarded an honorable mention in the Massachusetts Audubon photo contest.
Funnel Weaver Spider

With the recent rains that we have had, the web, and spiders are covered with water droplets and are interesting subjects.  In the early morning, if you approach them, they are not as nervous and usually will stay in view, allowing photographs.  I have been utilizing my Tamron 180 mm macro lens to capture these images.  Because the spider is usually in the backside of the funnel and in the dark, I have used a handheld LED light or a Nikon macro light set up to illuminate the spider.
Funnel Weaver Spider with raindrops

Funnel Weaver Spider in the back of the funnel

Raindrops on the web

Funnel weaver spiders are medium-size ranging from 8-12 mm long and are usually brown and gray in color with banded legs and spots on the back.  They have eight eyes and two rows of four.  They have to body segments and eight legs.  Funnel weaver is belong to the family Agelenidae and there are 118 species and 12 genera in North America.

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