Cellar spider

Cellar spider

Cellar spider © Tom Hibbert

Cellar spider

Cellar spider/daddy long-legs spider (Pholcus phalangioides) © Brian Eversham

Cellar spider

Scientific name: Pholcus phalangioides
You've probably spotted this long-legged spider hiding in the corner of a house or building.

Species information

Statistics

Body length: 7-10mm

Conservation status

Common

When to see

All year round.

About

The cellar spider, also known as the daddy long-legs spider, is almost only ever found indoors, where they benefit from a warm, stable temperature. Cellar spiders spin loose, messy webs in the corners of rooms, usually where the wall meets the ceiling. They feed on any insects they can find within a home, but will also hunt other spiders - including surprisingly large house spiders!

Cellar spiders often hang upside down from their webs, but different spiders have different approaches to danger. If they're disturbed, some cellar spiders will bounce and vibrate rapidly in their web to try and frighten away the threat, whilst others will curl up and try to look as inconspicuous as possible.

They have very long legs but a tiny body, which is where the alternative name of daddy long-legs spider comes from. This often leads to confusion with craneflies and harvestment, both of which are also sometimes known as daddy long-legs.

How to identify

A yellowish-grey spider, with a long, tubular abdomen that often has darker markings on it. The body looks tiny compared to the extremely long, spindly legs, which usually have pale and dark bands on the joints.

Distribution

Found throughout the UK

Did you know?

The cellar spider was not always found in the UK. It is a subtropical species that has been spread around the world by people and is now found throughout Europe. It was first recorded in southern Britain in 1864 and has now spread widely, with records as far north as Shetland.