Agelenopsis spp. (Grass Spiders)

About Agelenopsis spp.

Taxonomic Hierarchy

→ Kingdom: Animalia
→ Phylum: Arthropoda
→ Class: Arachnida
→ Order: Araneae
→ Family: Agelenidae
→ Genus: Agelenopsis
→ Species: Agelenopsis spp.

Common Name (Official / AAS)

Grass Spiders

Other Common Names

Funnel Weaver

Author

Author of genus name: C. G. Giebel. First year published: 1869.

Pronunciation

ay-jeh-len-AWP-sis

Meaning

Agelenopsis means “looking like Agelena,” which is another genus of funnel-weaving spiders in the same family. Charles Walckenaer, the original author of Agelena, did not elaborate on the meaning of the word and there are too many speculations to give anything definite here (Cameron 2005).

Identifying Traits of Agelenopsis spp.

Size

Body length (excluding legs) of adults:

(Agelenopsis naevia & A. aperta tend to be the largest species, while Agelenopsis longistyla the smallest.)

Female Primary Colors

Male Primary Colors

Eye diagram of Agelenopsis

Eyes

Total of eight eyes, all roughly equal in size and shape; when facing the spider, the two rows are arranged in a semi-circular pattern, arched upwards.

Legs

Average length and thickness; legs of the adult males are longer than those of the female. All legs covered in many thick spines and hairs, which are visible upon close examination. Legs are typically a mottled combination of gray, black, brown, and beige. Some species have more strongly banded legs than others. The tarsi (tips of legs) have 3 claws.

Body

Cephalothorax is pear-shaped, with two dark bands (typically black in color) running its full length. Abdomen of both genders is an elongated oval which tapers to a point where two of their very long spinnerets are visible (the presence of the extra long spinnerets can help distinguish members of genus Agelenopsis from other similar spiders in the same family). On the abdomen, in between a couple of dark bands, are usually a series of vague triangle shapes running its length. (However, many types of spider have triangle shapes on the abdomen, so don’t depend on that for definitive identification.) The sternum is usually yellow or brown with a dark ‘V-shaped’ marking. The underside (ventral side) of the abdomen has a broad black band that runs its full length. In adult males, the tips of the pedipalps are quite large and the embolus is very noticeable (the black, coiled organ that injects sperm into the female during copulation).

Range of Agelenopsis spp.

Agelenopsis spp. can be found in the following states, provinces and territories across the United States and Canada. Our current understanding of each spider's distribution is drawn from numerous scientific publications and online spider submissions, in order to be as accurate as possible. It is important to remember that spiders do not adhere to the territorial lines decided on by humans, therefore these ranges are subject to change.

Important Range Notes

Please note that there are 13 separate species within the genus Agelenopsis, and that each one has a unique geographic distribution, though some do overlap. The range we are using here is for all the species combined. Because these spiders are all so similar-looking, it is often impossible to distinguish the species without examining the spiders’ genitalia under a microscope, which is why we decided to make an info guide for the genus Agelenopsis as a whole, rather than each individual species.

United States

Canada

Additional Information

Habitat

Found in a variety of places, but typically on or near the ground among grasses or other foliage, or in the corners of man-made structures. In the early morning, their dew-covered funnel webs are visible in the grass in large numbers (hence their nickname, “Grass Spiders”).

Web

Builds a funnel-shaped retreat that has a radiating flat sheet of web. The spider remains inside the retreat most of the time, but will venture out onto the sheet when it is awaiting prey.

Season

Most mating takes place from summer through late fall. During this time, mature males can be found roaming away from their funnel web at night, sometimes perched on outer walls of buildings or scurrying along the baseboards indoors.

Food

These spiders are opportunistic and will eat any kind of insect or other spider that ventures onto their web.

Lifecycle

In the wild, spiders in the genus Agelenopsis have a natural lifespan of roughly one year, but do live longer in captivity. Eggs are typically laid in late summer or fall and spiderlings emerge the following spring. However, in captivity, the eggs are kept at a constant temperature (without having to overwinter) and will hatch in about 4-6 weeks. A female that has mated with a male can produce more than one egg sac. For some species,  it’s common to see two sacs at a time, side by side, attached to a surface (such as the underside of a rock, piece of wood in a wood pile, or in a rolled up leaf, for example). Each different species of Agelenopsis may create a slightly different egg sac, but typically each one contains anywhere from 50 to 200 individual eggs. The mother spider will remain near her eggs, dutifully guarding them, until she dies around the onset of winter.

Remarks

“Grass spiders” are timid and non-aggressive. When their web is approached by anything other than an insect, they typically retreat to the back of their funnel web.

Pictures of Agelenopsis spp. (Grass Spiders)

Filtering options are grayed out when we do not have pictures for the given perspective. If you are a spider photographer, you can submit pictures of spiders to help fill any voids in our ever expanding library.
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Spiderlings
  • City/Region: Krain
  • State: Washington
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Spiderlings
  • City/Region: Krain
  • State: Washington
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Webs
  • City/Region: Krain
  • State: Washington
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Webs
  • City/Region: Krain
  • State: Washington
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Attributes: Webs
  • City/Region: Krain
  • State: Washington
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Ventral
  • City/Region: Krain
  • State: Washington
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Krain
  • State: Washington
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Krain
  • State: Washington
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Attributes: Egg Sacs
  • City/Region: Krain
  • State: Washington
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Attributes: Egg Sacs
  • City/Region: Krain
  • State: Washington
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Gravid, Lateral
  • City/Region: Krain
  • State: Washington
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Gravid
  • City/Region: Krain
  • State: Washington
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Gravid, Lateral
  • City/Region: Krain
  • State: Washington
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Egg Sacs, Lateral
  • City/Region: Krain
  • State: Washington
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Philadelphia
  • State: Pennsylvania
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Eyes
  • City/Region: Lakewood
  • State: Colorado
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Lakewood
  • State: Colorado
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Lateral
  • City/Region: Lakewood
  • State: Colorado
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Lakewood
  • State: Colorado
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Lateral
  • City/Region: Lakewood
  • State: Colorado
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • City/Region: Davidson County
  • State: Tennessee
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Harvard
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes, Webs
  • City/Region: Milton
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Webs
  • City/Region: High Point
  • State: North Carolina
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • City/Region: Walnut
  • State: California
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Walnut
  • State: California
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Walnut
  • State: California
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Walnut
  • State: California
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Webs
  • City/Region: Greensboro, Gadsden County
  • State: Florida
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Tunica Hills WMA, West Feliciana Parish
  • State: Louisiana
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • City/Region: Tunica Hills WMA, West Feliciana Parish
  • State: Louisiana
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Egg Sacs
  • City/Region: Boxborough, Middlesex County
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Boxborough, Middlesex County
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • City/Region: Boxborough, Middlesex County
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Webs
  • State: Indiana
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: southern Ontario
  • Country: Canada
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Cross Plains, Dane County
  • State: Wisconsin
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Lateral
  • City/Region: Cross Plains, Dane County
  • State: Wisconsin
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Dixville, Coos County
  • State: New Hampshire
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes, Genitalia
  • City/Region: Dixville, Coos County
  • State: New Hampshire
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Genitalia
  • City/Region: Dixville, Coos County
  • State: New Hampshire
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Stow, Middlesex County
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Webs
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Webs
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Gravid
  • City/Region: Groton, Middlesex County
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • City/Region: Groton, Middlesex County
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Groton, Middlesex County
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Genitalia
  • City/Region: Groton, Middlesex County
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes, Webs
  • City/Region: Caldwell County
  • State: North Carolina
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Egg Sacs
  • City/Region: Cambridge, Middlesex County
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Webs
  • City/Region: Shawnee County
  • State: Kansas
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Groton, Middlesex County
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Plum Island, Essex County
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Genitalia
  • City/Region: Plum Island, Essex County
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Eyes, Webs
  • City/Region: Atlanta
  • State: Georgia
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Attributes: Webs
  • City/Region: Atlanta
  • State: Georgia
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Attributes: Eyes, Webs
  • City/Region: Atlanta
  • State: Georgia
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • City/Region: Atlanta
  • State: Georgia
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes, Genitalia
  • City/Region: Atlanta
  • State: Georgia
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Lateral, Webs
  • City/Region: Atlanta
  • State: Georgia
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Eyes, Webs
  • City/Region: Atlanta
  • State: Georgia
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes, Webs
  • State: Michigan
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes, Lateral, Webs
  • City/Region: Hartford
  • State: Connecticut
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Hartford
  • State: Connecticut
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Hartford
  • State: Connecticut
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • City/Region: Hartford
  • State: Connecticut
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes, Webs
  • State: Michigan
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Webs
  • City/Region: Edgewood Preserve
  • State: California
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Attributes: Webs
  • City/Region: Windy Hill Open Space Preserve, San Mateo County
  • State: California
  • Country: United States
  • Agelenopsis spp.
  • Attributes: Webs
  • City/Region: Windy Hill Open Space Preserve
  • State: California
  • Country: United States

References and Further Reading

Various Research Papers

Scientific Diagrams and Keys for Identification

References for the Casual Reader

Species guide last updated: February 9, 2014

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