PholcusPhalangioides spiders are also known as “daddy longlegs” due to their extremely long legs and small body, only 7-10mm in length, making them look much larger than they are. The color of the spider ranges from pale yellow to light brown and grey. It possesses eight legs like all other species of spiders.
Pholcusphalangioides prefer dark and damp spaces within which to weave their fabrics, which are loose and irregular in shape, and webs are usually located within the corners. The canvases may be quite extensive as they’re continually being added instead of removed by the spider hanging the other way up on the underside of the webs.
It is a predator of many other spiders and small insects as well.
What is pholcusphalangioides?
The skull spider (PholcusPhalangioides) is an arachnid of the order Araneae and the Pholcidae family. Like other family members, PholcusPhalangioides has very long and slender legs, and for this reason, it can often be mistaken for an opilionid. However, it is easy to distinguish due to the division of the body into two parts, whereas this is not the case in the opilionid body, which is not divided into two parts.
Since it has a 7-10mm length body, it is considered the greatest specie of the family.
Unlike species that waste their webs and then create new ones or cleanse their networks to reuse them, cellar spiders will continue to layer additional new fabrics on top of their old ones. As a result, webs can accumulate in excessive volume over a somewhat short period, creating a noticeable appearance of cobwebs in a home or building.
There is no threat to people from these spiders. They don’t bite and usually tend to stay in one place.
Some of these species, especially female spiders, invade the web of other spiders and feed on the host, eggs, or prey. In some cases, the spider vibrates the cobwebs of other spiders, mimicking the struggle of the trapped victim to lure the web host closer. They are natural predators of the Tegenaria species and are known to attack redheads and spiders and eat hunting spiders.
Pholcusphalangioides often infest homes and warehouses and make their webs in protective corners of basements, cupboards, attics, outbuildings, and stone piles. Spider control is always a multi-step process.
You can use a vacuum cleaner or brush to remove their webs, which then limits their activity. Any external cracks around doors and windows must be sealed. Yellow bulbs in outdoor lighting can reduce the number of spiders and other insects, as they are more attracted to the brighter white light. The use of proper ventilation and dehumidifiers in basements and crawling areas is also necessary to reduce the infestation of the cellar spiders.
Always check with your pest control professional before using insecticides to make sure you are using the product safely and effectively.
The cellar spiders hatch from the eggs, and when they hatch, they look small adults. Female spiders enclose their eggs in silk fabrics where they are protected from predators. The spider usually reaches maturity in about a year. This long-legged spider can live up to 3 years.
Female cellar spiders can produce up to three egg sacs, each containing 13-60 eggs during its lifetime. The bags are made of a thin translucent silk layer. The accumulation of eggs gives the bag the appearance of an unripe blackberry. The females then carry bags of eggs with them in their mouths until the eggs hatch instead of placing them in cobwebs as other spider species do. The peak season for breading is June to September.
There is an urban legend that Pholcusphalangioides have the most potent poison of all spiders, but their chelicerae (fangs) are either too small or too weak to pierce human skin.
In 2004, Discovery Channel MythBusters was tasked with checking out the mythical episode 13 of this spider in Daddy’s long cellar – Buried in Concrete. Hosts Jamie Hineman and Adam Savage first established that spider venom was not nearly as toxic as other venoms after being told about an experiment in which mice were injected with poison from both the daddy’s long legs and the black widow. In contrast, the toxin of the black widow produced a much stronger reaction.
There is also no scientifically substantiated information confirming the lethality of their poison.