Our Wild Neighbors

Cellar Spider

Pholcus

A frequent house guest

Image of a Cellar Spider, seen from above, head down, positioned on its web.

Description of the animal

  • Spider with very long and thin legs. Its greyish-white body is elongated and appears to be divided in two by a dark spot located in the centre of its cephalothorax.
  • Six eyes divided into two groups of three. Certain species have two additional eyes.
  • Six to eight millimetres long.

Habitat and needs

  • Lives in unfinished basements and cellars.
  • Expands its living area from one night to the next.
  • Does nightly rounds to capture small flying insects caught in its webs.
  • Sometimes attacks larger prey by tying them up.
  • Vigorously shakes its web when it feels threatened.

Relationship

  • Many people needlessly fear the cellar spider. Like most of its fellow creatures, the cellar spider does not bite humans since its mouthparts are too delicate.
  • The presence of a cellar spider indicates that there are insects it can eat nearby! For this reason, it should be seen as an ally.

Living with them

  • The presence of many cellar spiders may indicate an overabundance of small insects. They are attracted by food residue, sugar, stagnant water, or garbage. To avoid their proliferation, it is important to keep homes and basements clean.
  • If spider webs are a problem, they can be removed.

Participating cities where this animal has been seen