The Grass Spider is a group of common spiders which resides on grassy areas and catches their prey by their cleverly crafted webs to which the prey can fall in and be easily grabbed by the spider. There are many types of Grass Spiders and all of them contribute to the ecosystems in which they reside in to control pests and keep harmful insects at bay.
Is The Grass Spider Harmful to Humans?
Grass Spiders are not harmful to humans. They are actually creatures which helps keep the delicate balance of nature wherever they reside. As such, their presence is a sign of a healthy ecosystem and is thus beneficial to humans.
Is the Grass Spider Venomous?
Grass Spiders, like most spiders, inject their prey with venom. However, their venom cannot be injected to humans by a bite due to their very small chelicerae which is not large or prominent enough to pierce human skin. Their venom is not medically important for humans. For small insects and other prey of this spider though, their venom is very deadly.
What are the Preys of the Grass Spider?
Since Grass Spiders catch prey close to the ground, they prey on small insects and in some cases, small spiders which happens to fall into their funnel-shaped web.
How Long does a Grass Spider Live?
Grass Spiders do not grow more than a year old. They hatch from their egg sac in spring, undergo a series of molting until adulthood in summer to late summer, mate, and die before winter commences. During the winter, the next batch of Funnel Weavers develop inside the egg sac and emerge on the next spring as Grass Spider spiderlings.
Grass Spider Other Names and Look Alike
Oftentimes, Grass Spiders can be mistaken as another type of spider, like the Wolf Spider due to how they look like especially to the untrained eye. Males may even sometimes resemble Hobo Spiders. However, Grass Spiders or Funnel Weavers are easy to distinguish from Wolf Spiders because Wolfs do not construct webs but rather hunts for prey actively.
The Spider is also known as Funnel Weaver Spider because of the shape of their webs. The funnel shape is designed to catch prey. Although non-sticky, the shape alone makes it very difficult for prey to escape. This enables this fast and agile spider to run to its prey and inject it with its venom. Funnel Weaver Spiders are not the same as Funnel Web Spiders. The name Grass Spider is due to the fact that this group of spiders build their webs very close to the ground.
How to Best Identify a Grass Spider?
Identification is by habitat, characteristics, appearance, but most importantly, their distinct funnel-shaped web. The following are identification parameters for Grass Spiders:
- Their most distinguishing characteristic is the presence of very prominent spinnerets which can be seen even without turning the spider over.
- Their web is non-sticky and funnel shaped. This shape helps prevent fallen prey from escaping until the spider can inject it with venom.
- The part of the spider to which the legs are attached would often have two parallel dark stripes running lengthwise.
- Grass Spiders are American spiders although some types of them has been introduced in other parts of the world, like Agelenopsis potteri which was introduced in Russia.
Knowing the definitive identification features of this spider will minimize spider identification confusion.