What to Feed My Cellar Spider in Winter

CellarSpiderMom

Arachnopeon
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Sep 29, 2016
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Hi all,

I'm a first time poster here. I started feeding a cellar spider who set up shop in my kitchen a couple of months ago and now she's come to depend on me. I've literally never seen a bug in her web that I didn't put there - it's not a good spot for catching things, but it's a good hiding spot.

She's a little...different...than most spiders. She prefers dead bugs to live ones and her web isn't buit well - it has a lot of holes in it; I think there might be something wrong with her mentally. But she's very fast and I just love watching her.

I'm wondering what to feed her during the winter since there are no more flies or moths around - will cellar spiders eat worms? I could get some from a bait shop...help!
 

ratluvr76

Arachnodemon
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Jul 12, 2014
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741
Small crickets work well. If she won't take live prey you can prekill it before feeding.
As YagerManJennsen said in the other thread where you asked pretty much the same question. ;) Crickets are a good option in almost every situation when all else fails. You might also try mealworms.
 

CellarSpiderMom

Arachnopeon
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Great, thank you ratluvr76! I'll feel bad killing crickets, so I'm going to try worms first, lol. I'll try looking at bait shops, I guess...
 

The Snark

Dumpster Fire of the Gods
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If you mean a pholcid, put a small piece of about to be rotten fruit directly under the web and you've got a happy spider. Put a new piece of fruit a day before removing the old one so the fruit flies move over.
 

CellarSpiderMom

Arachnopeon
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Thanks, The Snark! But will that work during the winter? We're in Utah & it gets pretty cold here, so most of the bugs disappear until spring...I haven't left out rotting fruit though, so I don't know if the fruit flies are around. I was thinking about just throwing down $10 to have some flightless fruit flies shipped to me...
 

The Snark

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I have no idea. There are a lot of people on here that are fruit fly experts though. I'm under the impression they usually come with certain fruits as eggs and are darned hardy little monsters.
Easy enough to test. Put out tidbits of assorted fruits and wait about 3-5 days.
 

Aquarimax

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Thanks, The Snark! But will that work during the winter? We're in Utah & it gets pretty cold here, so most of the bugs disappear until spring...I haven't left out rotting fruit though, so I don't know if the fruit flies are around. I was thinking about just throwing down $10 to have some flightless fruit flies shipped to me...
Coincidentally, I also have a cellar spider in a corner, live in Utah, and raise crickets as well as flightless fruit flies. :D
I have tried feeding my Pholcid the flightless fruit flies, but every single time they seem to fall out of the web before the spider reaches them, unlike the wee winged creatures that (s)he proficiently nabs.

I have not tried small crickets yet, as the small flying insects are still fairly abundant around our place (the winged phase aphids are everywhere the past few days) but I'm guessing that the small crickets or the wild-type fruit flies The Snark suggested will work better than the flightless fruit flies or any type of worm. Just my two cents.
 

The Snark

Dumpster Fire of the Gods
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I have tried feeding my Pholcid the flightless fruit flies, but every single time they seem to fall out of the web before the spider reaches them,
That's the trick to pholcid management. They have no sticky lines in their webs so the spider has to wrangle them. And they are darned good at catching fruit flies. On the other hand, watching them try to round up a mosquito often turns into a frustrating ordeal: 'You had it, you idiot!!'
 

Aquarimax

Arachnoprince
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That's the trick to pholcid management. They have no sticky lines in their webs so the spider has to wrangle them. And they are darned good at catching fruit flies. On the other hand, watching them try to round up a mosquito often turns into a frustrating ordeal: 'You had it, you idiot!!'
Ah! Non-sticky web makes a lot of sense...the wingless fruit flies fall right through, and the wings provide more surface area...I imagine then that the larger, winged (still
flightless) Drosophila hydei might work better than the tiny wingless D. melanogaster.

It sure is interesting watching it hunt...the other day it went after a mosquito and seemed to bounce the whole web towards it...
 

The Snark

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Ah! Non-sticky web makes a lot of sense...the wingless fruit flies fall right through, and the wings provide more surface area...I imagine then that the larger, winged (still
flightless) Drosophila hydei might work better than the tiny wingless D. melanogaster.
Exactly. Studying Pholcids is fascinating. Watching it wrangling active flying insects makes you wonder how the species has survived. However, observe it going up against another spider unlucky enough to enter it's web. Jumpers, Widows, even Lycosids and Huntsman are way outclassed. That's where the urban legend came from that 'daddy long legs' are the most venomous. They are deadly combatants in a brawl with an enemy that can't dodge and fly away.

The one I can't figure out, even watching very closely, is how easily a pholcid can take down a Widow. The widow has a much heftier body and one would assume stronger with greater mechanical advantage and both are oriented to messy cobwebs but 9 times out of 10 the widow gets immobilized in a few seconds as the pholcid tangles it's legs up.
 
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