Agelena labyrinthica

Agelena labyrinthica

''Agelena labyrinthica'' is a species of spider in the family Agelenidae, which contains 1146 species of funnel-web spiders. It is a widespread species in Europe, where there are 180 species, and in Central Europe, where there are 30 species currently known.

Funnel-web spiders typically range in size from 8–12 millimetres for males and 10–14 mm for females. ''Agelena labyrinthica'', however, has a body length of up to 18 mm . The abdomen is dark with a pale central band flanked by white chevron marks. The cephalothorax is yellow-brown and bears two, broad longitudinal stripes positioned towards the front of the spider.
The Funnel of Death This photo is best appreciated fullscreen. I've been seeing spider webs in a tunnel shape quite frequently in my area but never with a spider in it until this day. This is the Agelena labyrinthica, a spider that builds a complex web system, where one part of the web is horizontal and used for catching prey, whilst the connected tunnel(or funnel) is for retreating. Check out how this species is excitingly feeding on a large pile of aphids.  Agelena labyrinthica,Geotagged,Heesch,Macro,The Netherlands

Appearance

Common to all spiders in the family Agelenidae, is the prominent pair of two segmented posterior spinnerets. However, in ''A. labyrinthica'' these segmented spinnerets are further elongated, with the second segment being almost twice the length of the basal segment. Another morphological feature of ''A. labyrinthica'' is the spider's venom apparatus. Showing many similarities with the species ''Loxosceles intermadia'', the venom glands of ''A. labyrinthica'' generally consists of paired structures located in the spider's abdomen. These paired structures interact with two ducts that lead into the spider's fangs. The venom glands of ''A. labyrinthica'' are considered to be relatively large, and extend out of the chelicerae to reach the middle of the abdomen. The venom glands of ''A. labyrinthica'' also are unique in that they are long and tubular and are surrounded by a layer of muscles that encircle the glands.
Agelena labyrinthica on mid-air platform A macro closeup of a Agelena labyrinthica that seems to float in mid air yet is standing on its horizontal web that is directly connected to its funnel web. Agelena labyrinthica,Geotagged,Heesch,Macro,The Netherlands

Behavior

Typically in the middle of July, ''A. labyrinthica'' will begin its mating period. Using its pedipalps, the male will tap on the web of the female in order to advertise himself as a potential mate. If the female is ready, she will remain in her funnel, where they then mate. During about August of the same year, the female will create a large, white egg sac, containing roughly 50-130 eggs, which is then transported outside and hung from the edges of the web with multiple radiating bands of silk. The egg sac is allowed to hang freely, camouflaged with grass and leafs, until the newly born spiders hatch from the egg sac. Over the winter of the same year, the young spiders survive off of the egg yolk stored in their abdomens, and leave the next spring. ''A. labyrinthica'' is similar to other species of spider in the respect that they practice matriphagy. During the incubation phase, the female ''A. labyrinthica'' stays with developing egg sacs, yet if the female dies before the incubation phase is over, the corpse will be eaten by the young upon hatching.
Agelena labyrinthica, Heeswijk, Netherlands Not a great pose or photo, but I do enjoy observing these species. The Netherlands has only 14 species in this genus of which Agelena labyrinthica is the most common one. They are quite tricky to photograph as they are quite paranoid. A small vibration of their enormous cog web typically lures them out whilst a bigger vibration sends them deep into the end of the funnel, as seen here, where they eat in peace. Got a better view of this several years ago:
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/11251/the_funnel_of_death.html Agelena labyrinthica,Europe,Heeswijk-Dinther,Netherlands,World

Habitat

''A. labyrinthica'' build flat surface webs connected to funnel-shaped retreats similar to labyrinths, which are typically constructed between low lying grass and vegetation. These webs can be at ground level, or up to 1.5 metres from the ground, however, the majority are found approximately 60 centimetres off of the ground. These spiders are fairly common in Europe and Central Europe, and are typically concentrated in areas near forests and low lying vegetation, as well as in dry grasslands.
Labyrinth orbweaver My version of the labyrinth spider's den.

Dutch name: Doolhofspin (Agelena labyrinthica)  Agelena labyrinthica,Geotagged,The Netherlands

Reproduction

Typically in the middle of July, ''A. labyrinthica'' will begin its mating period. Using its pedipalps, the male will tap on the web of the female in order to advertise himself as a potential mate. If the female is ready, she will remain in her funnel, where they then mate. During about August of the same year, the female will create a large, white egg sac, containing roughly 50-130 eggs, which is then transported outside and hung from the edges of the web with multiple radiating bands of silk. The egg sac is allowed to hang freely, camouflaged with grass and leafs, until the newly born spiders hatch from the egg sac. Over the winter of the same year, the young spiders survive off of the egg yolk stored in their abdomens, and leave the next spring. ''A. labyrinthica'' is similar to other species of spider in the respect that they practice matriphagy. During the incubation phase, the female ''A. labyrinthica'' stays with developing egg sacs, yet if the female dies before the incubation phase is over, the corpse will be eaten by the young upon hatching.

References:

Some text fragments are auto parsed from Wikipedia.

Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionArthropoda
ClassArachnida
OrderAraneae
FamilyAgelenidae
GenusAgelena
SpeciesA. labyrinthica
Photographed in
Netherlands