Pholcus Adjustment

by Carl Strang

Recently the sun highlighted some cobwebs in the house, pointing out that a round of housecleaning is overdue.

I host two species of cobweb makers.

Also overdue is an identification correction. I had thought for a long time that one of my spiders is the daddy-long-legs species Pholcus phalangioides. A year or two ago in my office at Mayslake Forest Preserve I saw a couple individuals that were relatively huge, but otherwise appeared to be just like the ones in my house. I wish now that I had photographed them, because I have learned that there are two common Pholcus species in eastern North America. Apart from some microscopic technical differences, for the most part they can be distinguished by size.

The smaller ones in my house almost certainly are a different species, Pholcus manueli.

A mature body length of more than 6 mm points to Pholcus phalangioides; those were the ones in the Mayslake mansion. The ones in my house apparently all are manueli, having body lengths of less than 5 mm. I have seen a comment that they are becoming or have become the more common species in eastern North America.

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