Filmy Dome Spider

The filmy dome spider (Neriene radiata AKA Prolinyphia marginata and others in this genus) is a sheet weaver: a spider in the family Linyphiidae. These spiders construct a dome of fine silk and hang upside-down under it, waiting for their prey.

Size: Length: between 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch (not counting legs). Habitat and conservation: The webs are abundant in rock outcroppings, walls, wood piles and low, dense brush in woodlands. They are rarely found in open areas. Foods: Tiny predators eat tiny prey. This species eats small insects, such as mosquitoes and gnats, that get caught in their webs. The web is positioned horizontally, and the spider rests on its underside. When an insect lands on the web, the spider quickly tears a hole in the web from beneath and pulls the insect down and ties it up. Hiding under the web helps the spider to avoid predation. Life cycle: As a general rule, spiders in our area hatch from eggs in spring and spend the growing season eating, maturing, mating and laying eggs. Females are capable of creating webs; males are not. Females continue creating egg cases as long as the weather holds out. As temperatures cool in fall, their metabolism slows, and they generally die when it freezes. Egg cases overwinter, and spiderlings hatch in spring. Human connections: It would be easy to dismiss the importance of these tiny predators, but once you have been plagued by the tiny insects they prey on, such as gnats and mosquitoes, you become thankful for their role in limiting such insects. Ecosystem connections: Spiders are little predators that help to control populations of the insects they capture. Being small themselves, they easily fall prey to larger predators such as birds, reptiles and mammals. Many animals eat their eggs. Hummingbirds steal webs from spiders in order to build their own nests.

Members of this genus include:

  • Neriene clathrata

  • Neriene emphana, female

  • Neriene emphana web

  • Neriene peltata, female with prey

  • Neriene peltata, male

  • Neriene peltata web

Famous quotes containing the words spider, filmy and/or dome:

    But chief to heedless flies the window proves
    A constant death; where gloomily retired,
    The villain spider lives, cunning and fierce,
    Mixture abhorred! Amid a mangled heap
    Of carcases in eager watch he sits,
    O’erlooking all his waving snares around.
    James Thomson (1700–1748)

    A filmy trash
    Litters the black woods with the death
    Of men; and one last breath

    Curls from the monstrous chimney. . . .
    Randall Jarrell (1914–1965)

    The sun, the hero of every day, the impersonal old man that beams as brightly on death as on birth, came up every morning and raced across the blue dome and dipped into the sea of fire every evening. Water ran down hill and birds nested.
    Zora Neale Hurston (1891–1960)