Funnel-Web Wolf Spider

Although Wolf Spiders (Family Lycosidae) are generally roving hunters, members of one unusual Wolf Spider subfamily are actually sedentary web builders. Funnel-Web Wolf Spiders (Subfamily Hippasinae) build horizontal, funnel-shaped sheet webs that are used for both hunting and shelter. Funnel-Web Wolf Spiders (Sosippus spp.) are common here in Arizona, and I observed this one perched on its sheet web in Sabino Canyon, Arizona. Although they spend much of their time lurking in their funnel-shaped lairs, Funnel-Web Wolf Spiders are still fairly easy to spot out in the main part of their webs.

Funnel-Web Wolf Spider (Sosippus sp.)

If a Funnel-Web Wolf Spider detects the telltale vibrations of an insect on its web, it will race out of its hole and capture it. The spider will then drag its prey back into its hole in order to eat it in relative safety. If you drop an insect onto a Funnel-Web Wolf Spider's web, you may be able to lure it out. This particular Funnel-Web Wolf Spider was lured out by another spider running across the far edge of its web (not pictured).

Funnel-Web Wolf Spider (Sosippus sp.) on its sheet web

Funnel-Web Wolf Spiders are not the only Arizona spiders that build funnel-shaped sheet webs, the similar looking and similarly named Funnel-Web Spiders (Family Agelenidae) also build these sort of webs. These spiders can be distinguished from each other by the patterns on their cephalothorax, which is generally broadly striped in a Funnel-Web Spider and marked with radiating lines in a Funnel-Web Wolf Spider.