Our Wild Neighbors

American grass spiders

Agelenopsis sp.

Everywhere around our homes!

Image of a spider, dried and mounted, seen from a front three-quarter view with its head to the right.

Description of the animal

  • Small spider that ranges in color from brown to yellowish with longitudinal stripes on its body and indistinct bands on its legs.
  • Approximately 12 species in Canada. The longest species can be up to 19 mm in length. Females are always longer than males.
  • Eight eyes divided among three rows: two in the top row, four in the middle, and two in the bottom.
  • Two front and two back spinnerets are visible. Spinnerets are small organs used to produce silk.

Habitat and needs

  • Lives in tall grasses, bushes, and on house foundations.
  • Eats insects.
  • Spins non-sticky, tablecloth-shaped webs, with a funnel in the centre.
  • Spends a great deal of time hidden in ambush in its web’s funnel where it conceals its prey to prevent other insects from foreseeing danger.
  • Very quick and fearful, it avoids being seen by others.
  • Males generally die a short time after mating while females die shortly after laying their eggs.

Relationship

  • The Agelenopsis often spins its web near houses, on small bushes, in flowerbeds, around basement windows, or between foundations and tall grasses.
  • Its webs are especially visible on autumn mornings, when they are covered with dew.
  • This spider helps reduce the harmful insect population.

Living with them

  • Humans must avoid disturbing or holding a spider in their hands since it can bite. However, its bite isn’t dangerous.
  • Some people choose to control the Agelenopsis population, even though this spider is quite useful. To control spiders:
  • Cut back shrubs and other plants that are in direct contact with the house.
  • Destroy webs using a broom.
  • Caulk or seal obvious crevasses or spaces around the foundation, doors, and windows located at ground level.
  • Completely eliminate or move piles of wooden debris or bricks away from the house since they attract insects.
  • Replace clear light bulbs with yellow ones.

Participating cities where this animal has been seen