baal's picture

Mumified Spiders

Observed: 7th July 2013 By: baal
spiders 003
spiders 008

These Mumfied Spiders were in my friends garage. They look like an episode of Dr Who, an Alien deatn ray froze then where where the hung. Or is there a more natural explanation?

    Likely ID
    Cellar spider (Pholcus phalangoides)
    Confidence: I'm as sure as I can be.
Species interactions

No interactions present.


Martin Harvey's picture

fungus attack

Not alien death rays but an equally bizarre and menacing foe! I think these spiders have succumbed to a fungal infection. There are fungi that specialise in attacking invertebrates, and once the fungus has got in to the invertebrate's body they can affect its behaviour, causing it to crawl up higher and to die somewhere prominent, from where the spores can be dispersed to find their next victim.

It's more frequently seen in flies - for some examples see:

Entomologist and biological recorder

mattprince1969's picture

Yes definately a fungal infection

A bit of research shows this has been reported quite frequently for pholcus species, from various countries, with various different fungal vectors mentioned (though none with any certainty).

It does look like very much like entomophthora, but it also looks a lot like this:-

It would be very interesting to determine the actual fungi involved.. do you still have the specimens?

stevegregory's picture

Similar already on iSpot:

Similar already on iSpot: