Last night, a chance photograph of a large Cellar Spider led to a wonderful discovery. Our Pholcus phalangiodes is gravid!
These Longbodied Cellar Spiders are temperate representatives of a largely tropical group of spiders, and are common members of the household fauna. This gravid cellar spider has a large distended abdomen and through the cuticle you can see her ovaries with their developing eggs.
The newly yolk-filled eggs are white, and as they mature, they become dark towards the end of the abdomen. I am expecting that soon we will see this female brooding her package of newly-laid eggs soon, as this one did in the same spot last year.
Within a month or so, these will hatch into gorgeous little translucent Cellar Spiderlings which will remain close to the female until after their first molt.
Despite her advanced gravid state, our Cellar Spider has not lost her long-limbed lean look, which is probably easy if you are a Cellar Spider! For more information about the reproduction of this impressively leggy species, see here.