The Info List - Pholcidae

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79 genera, 1461 species

Estimated range of Pholcidae.

Pholcidae, commonly known as cellar spiders, are a spider family in the suborder Araneomorphae. The family contains about 1500 species divided into about 80 genera. Some species, especially Pholcus
phalangioides, are commonly called daddy long-legs spider, granddaddy long-legs spider, carpenter spider, daddy long-legger, or vibrating spider. Confusion often arises because the name "daddy long-legs" is also applied to two distantly related arthropod groups: the harvestmen (which are arachnids but not spiders), and crane flies (which are insects).


1 Appearance 2 Habitat 3 Behavior

3.1 Trapping 3.2 Threat response 3.3 Diet 3.4 Gait

4 Systematics 5 Misconceptions 6 References 7 External links

Appearance[edit] Pholcids are thin and fragile arachnids, the body (resembling the shape of a peanut) being approximately 2–10 mm (0.08-0.39 in) in length with legs which may be up to 50 mm (1.97 in) long. Pholcus
and Smeringopus
have cylindrical abdomens and the eyes are arranged in two lateral groups of three and two smaller median contiguous eyes. Eight and six eyes both occur in this family. Spermophora
has a small globose abdomen and its eyes are arranged in two groups of three and no median eyes. Pholcids are gray to brown, sometimes clear, with banding or chevron markings. Habitat[edit] Pholcids are found in every continent in the world except Antarctica and other regions where it is too cold for survival. They hang inverted in messy and irregular-shaped webs, which are constructed in dark and damp recesses, which includes: caves, under rocks and loose bark, abandoned mammal burrows, and undisturbed areas in buildings, such as attics and cellars (hence the common name "cellar spider"). Behavior[edit]

Play media

Cellar spider vibrating rapidly in response to a threat

Trapping[edit] The web has no adhesive properties but the irregular structure traps insects, making escape difficult. The spider quickly envelops its prey with silk and then inflicts the fatal bite. The prey may be eaten immediately or stored for later. When finished they will "clean" the web by unhooking the prey and letting it drop from the web. Threat response[edit] When the arachnid is threatened by a touch to the web or when too large a prey becomes entangled, the arachnid vibrates rapidly in a gyrating motion in its web and becomes blurred and difficult to focus on. For this reason pholcids have sometimes been called "vibrating spiders", although they are not the only species to exhibit this behavior. Doing so might make it difficult for a predator to see exactly where the spider is, may be intended to signal an assumed rival to leave, or may increase the chances of capturing insects that have just brushed their web and are still hovering nearby.[3] If the spider continues to be harassed it will retreat into a corner or drop from its web and escape. Diet[edit] Certain species of these seemingly benign spiders invade webs of other spiders and eat the host, the eggs, or the prey. In some cases the spider vibrates the web of other spiders, mimicking the struggle of trapped prey to lure the host of the web closer. Pholcids are natural predators of the Tegenaria
species, and are known to attack and eat redback spiders, huntsman spiders and house spiders.[4][5] It is this competition that helps keep Tegenaria
populations in check, which may be advantageous to humans who live in regions with dense hobo spider populations.[citation needed]

Close-up of a cellar spider's head, showing two groups of three closely clustered eyes

Gait[edit] Pholcus phalangioides
Pholcus phalangioides
often uses an alternating tetrapod gait (first right leg, then second left leg, then third right leg, etc.), which is commonly found in many spider species. However, frequent variations from this pattern have been documented during observations of the spiders’ movements. Systematics[edit]

Two Crossopriza
lyoni. The bottom one is male. The female is clutching her egg bundle (magnified).

Smeringopus pallidus
Smeringopus pallidus
female with egg sac.

A cellar spider stays close to her young in Tulare, California.

A marbled cellar spider ( Holocnemus
pluchei) carrying prey.

Male shortbodied cellar spider ( Spermophora
senoculata) from the United States

As of November 2015[update], the World Spider
Catalog accepts the following genera:[1]

Aetana Huber, 2005 Anansus Huber, 2007 Anopsicus Chamberlin & Ivie, 1938 Artema
Walckenaer, 1837 Aucana Huber, 2000 Aymaria Huber, 2000 Belisana Thorell, 1898 Blancoa Huber, 2000 Buitinga Huber, 2003 Calapnita Simon, 1892 Canaima Huber, 2000 Carapoia González-Sponga, 1998 Cenemus Saaristo, 2001 Chibchea Huber, 2000 Chichiriviche González-Sponga, 2011b Chisosa Huber, 2000 Ciboneya Pérez, 2001 Codazziella González-Sponga, 2005 Coryssocnemis Simon, 1893 Crossopriza
Simon, 1893 Enetea Huber, 2000 Galapa Huber, 2000 Gertschiola Brignoli, 1981 Guaranita Huber, 2000 Holocneminus Berland, 1942 Holocnemus
Simon, 1873 Hoplopholcus Kulczy?ski, 1908 Ibotyporanga Mello-Leitão, 1944 Ixchela Huber, 2000 Kambiwa Huber, 2000 Khorata Huber, 2005 Leptopholcus Simon, 1893 Litoporus Simon, 1893 Mecolaesthus Simon, 1893 Mesabolivar González-Sponga, 1998 Metagonia Simon, 1893 Micromerys Bradley, 1877 Micropholcus Deeleman-Reinhold & Prinsen, 1987 Modisimus Simon, 1893 Nerudia Huber, 2000 Ninetis Simon, 1890 Nita Huber & El-Hennawy, 2007 Nyikoa Huber, 2007 Ossinissa Dimitrov & Ribera, 2005 Otavaloa Huber, 2000 Panjange
Deeleman-Reinhold & Deeleman, 1983 Papiamenta Huber, 2000 Paramicromerys Millot, 1946 Pehrforsskalia Deeleman-Reinhold & van Harten, 2001 Pholcophora Banks, 1896 Pholcus
Walckenaer, 1805 Physocyclus
Simon, 1893 Pisaboa Huber, 2000 Platnicknia Özdikmen & Demir, 2009 Pomboa Huber, 2000 Priscula Simon, 1893 Psilochorus
Simon, 1893 Quamtana Huber, 2003 Queliceria González-Sponga, 2003 Savarna Huber, 2005 Sihala Huber, 2011 Smeringopina Kraus, 1957 Smeringopus
Simon, 1890 Spermophora
Hentz, 1841 Spermophorides Wunderlich, 1992 Stenosfemuraia González-Sponga, 1998 Stygopholcus Absolon & Kratochvíl, 1932 Systenita Simon, 1893 Tainonia Huber, 2000 Teuia Huber, 2000 Tibetia Zhang, Zhu & Song, 2006 Tolteca Huber, 2000 Trichocyclus Simon, 1908 Tupigea Huber, 2000 Uthina Simon, 1893 Wanniyala Huber & Benjamin, 2005 Waunana Huber, 2000 Wugigarra Huber, 2001 Zatavua Huber, 2003

Misconceptions[edit] There is a legend that daddy long-legs spiders have the most potent venom of any spider, but that their fangs are either too small or too weak to puncture human skin; the same legend is also repeated of the harvestman and crane fly, also known as "daddy long-legs" in some regions. Indeed, pholcid spiders do have a short fang structure (called uncate due to its "hooked" shape). Brown recluse spiders also have uncate fang structure, but are able to deliver medically significant bites. Possible explanations include: pholcid venom is not toxic to humans; pholcid uncate are smaller than those of brown recluse; or there is a musculature difference between the two arachnids, with recluses, being hunting spiders, possessing stronger muscles for fang penetration.[6] During 2004, the Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel
television show MythBusters
tested the daddy long-legs venom myth in episode 13 - "Buried in concrete". Hosts Jamie Hyneman
Jamie Hyneman
and Adam Savage
Adam Savage
first established that the spider's venom was not as toxic as other venoms, after being told about an experiment whereby mice were injected with venom from both a daddy long-legs and a black widow, with the black widow venom producing a much stronger reaction. After measuring the spider's fangs at approximately 0.25 mm, Adam Savage
Adam Savage
inserted his hand into a container with several daddy-long-legs, and reported that he felt a bite which produced a mild, short-lived burning sensation. The bite did in fact penetrate his skin, but did not cause any notable harm.[7] Additionally, recent research has shown that pholcid venom is relatively weak in its effects on insects.[8] According to Rick Vetter of the University of California at Riverside, the daddy long-legs spider has never harmed a human and there is no evidence that they are dangerous to humans.[9] The legend may result from the fact that the daddy long-legs spider preys upon deadly venomous spiders, such as the redback, a member of the black widow genus Latrodectus.[10] To the extent that such entomological information was known to the general public, it was perhaps thought that if the daddy long-legs spider could kill a spider capable of delivering fatal bites to humans, then it must be more venomous, and the uncate fangs were regarded as prohibiting it from killing people. In reality, it is able to cast lengths of silk onto its prey, incapacitating them from a safe distance.[11] References[edit] Notes

^ a b "Family: Pholcidae
C. L. Koch, 1850 (genus list)", World Spider Catalog, Natural History Museum Bern, retrieved 2015-11-10  ^ "Currently valid spider genera and species", World Spider
Catalog, Natural History Museum Bern, retrieved 2015-11-10  ^ Bruce Marlin (2006-04-25). "Video of the "vibrating spider" vibrating" ( QuickTime
Movie).  ^ "Daddy Long Legs". Queensland Museum.  ^ Wim van Egmond. " Pholcus
phalangioides, the daddy-long-legs spider, in 3D".  ^ "Daddy Long Legs Site on UCR".  ^ "Myth Files on the Discovery site". Discovery channel.  ^ "The Spider
Myths Site". Burke Museum. 2005-05-12.  ^ Spider
Myths-DaddyLongLegs ^ "FAMILY PHOLCIDAE – Daddy long-leg Spiders". Brisbane Insects and Spiders: The Expression of our Love of Nature. 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-13.  ^ http://www.tepapa.govt.nz/researchattepapa/enquiries/spidersweb/what/pages/daddylonglegs.aspx


Pinto-da-Rocha, R., Machado, G. & Giribet, G (eds.) (2007) Harvestmen – The Biology of Opiliones. Harvard University Press ISBN 0-674-02343-9

External links[edit]

has information related to Pholcidae

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pholcidae.

North American Spiders, Family Pholcidae
Information and reference quality photos of cellar spiders. Includes QuickTime
movie of spiders "vibrating". Good information and pictures of European Pholcidae Tree of Life Pholcidae

v t e

Extant Araneae families

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Arthropoda Subphylum: Chelicerata Class: Arachnida

Suborder Mesothelae

(segmented spiders)

Suborder Opisthothelae


(mouse spiders and relatives) Antrodiaetidae
(folding trapdoor spiders) Atypidae (atypical tarantulas or purseweb spiders) Barychelidae
(brushed trapdoor spiders) Ctenizidae
(cork-lid trapdoor spiders) Cyrtaucheniidae (wafer trapdoor spiders) Dipluridae
(funnel-web tarantulas) Euctenizidae Hexathelidae
(funnel-webs or venomous funnel-web tarantulas) Idiopidae Mecicobothriidae (dwarf tarantulas) Microstigmatidae Migidae
(tree trapdoor spiders) Nemesiidae
(funnel-web tarantulas) Paratropididae
(bald-legged spiders) Theraphosidae (true tarantulas)



Austrochilidae Caponiidae Diguetidae (coneweb spiders) Drymusidae
(false violin spiders) Dysderidae
(woodlouse hunters) Filistatidae (crevice weaver spiders) Gradungulidae
(large-clawed spiders) Hypochilidae (lampshade spiders) Leptonetidae
(leptonetid spiders) Ochyroceratidae
(midget ground weavers) Oonopidae
(goblin spiders) Orsolobidae Periegopidae Pholcidae
(cellar spiders) Plectreuridae
(plectreurid spiders) Scytodidae (spitting spiders) Segestriidae (tube-dwelling spiders) Sicariidae
(violin spiders, assassin spiders) Telemidae
(long-legged cave spiders) Tetrablemmidae
(armored spiders) Trogloraptoridae ( Trogloraptor


(araneomorph funnel weavers) Amaurobiidae
(tangled nest spiders) Ammoxenidae
(termite hunters) Amphinectidae
(including Neolanidae) Anapidae Anyphaenidae
(anyphaenid sac spiders) Araneidae (orb-weaver spiders) Archaeidae
(pelican spiders) Chummidae Cithaeronidae Clubionidae (sac spiders) Corinnidae (dark sac spiders) Ctenidae (wandering spiders or tropical wolf spiders) Cyatholipidae Cybaeidae Cycloctenidae Deinopidae
(net-casting spiders) Desidae (intertidal spiders) Dictynidae
(dictynid spiders) Eresidae (velvet spiders) Eutichuridae Gallieniellidae Gnaphosidae (flat-bellied ground spiders) Hahniidae (dwarf sheet spiders) Hersiliidae (tree trunk spiders) Holarchaeidae Homalonychidae Huttoniidae Lamponidae
(white-tailed spiders) Linyphiidae
(sheet weavers or money spiders) Liocranidae
(liocranid sac spiders) Lycosidae (wolf spiders) Malkaridae
(shield spiders) Mecysmaucheniidae Mimetidae (pirate spiders) Miturgidae (long-legged sac spiders) Mysmenidae
(spurred orb-weavers) Nesticidae (cave cobweb spiders) Nicodamidae
(red and black spiders) Oecobiidae
(disc web spiders) Oxyopidae (lynx spiders) Palpimanidae
(palp-footed spiders) Pararchaeidae Penestomidae Philodromidae
(running crab spiders) Phrurolithidae Phyxelididae Pimoidae Pisauridae (nursery web spiders) (including Halidae) Prodidomidae
(long-spinneret ground spiders) Psechridae Salticidae (jumping spiders) Selenopidae Senoculidae
(bark hunters) Sinopimoidae (member of Linyphiidae?) Sparassidae (huntsman spiders) Stenochilidae Stiphidiidae Symphytognathidae
(dwarf orb-weavers) Synaphridae Synotaxidae Tetragnathidae (long jawed orb-weavers) Theridiidae
(tangle-web spiders) Theridiosomatidae (ray spiders) Thomisidae
(crab spiders) Titanoecidae Trachelidae Trechaleidae Trochanteriidae Udubidae Uloboridae
(cribellate orb weavers) Zodariidae (ant spiders) Zoropsidae
(zoropsid spiders)

List of families of spiders Spider
taxonomy List of spider common names Bold are families with more than 1000 species

Taxon identifiers

Wd: Q10995 ADW: Pholcidae BugGuide: 9608 EoL: 194 EPPO: 1PHOLF Fauna Europaea: 10642 Fossilworks: 257504 GBIF: 5638 ITIS: 847751 NCBI: 6930 WoRMS: 994574 WSC: urn:lsid:nmbe