Trapdoor Spider Facts | Trapdoor Spider Habitat & Diet

Here are some of the most useful trapdoor spider facts such as trapdoor diet, habitat, reproduction, and physical characteristics. Trapdoor spider is the medium-sized spiders that belong to the family of Ctenizidae. These spiders are known for constructing burrows that are fairly ajar in order to ambush passing-by insects. The burrows are normally constructed with vegetation, soil, and a silk. However, there are certain species that do not build burrows instead they rely on silken tube with trapdoor in bark crevices. There are around 120 recognized species of trapdoor spiders. Trapdoors are associated with the funnel-web spiders and tarantulas. These spiders have shared characteristics and features such as fangs that move up and down instead of moving side by side. Trapdoor spiders are common all throughout the range of Asia, Australasia, Americas, Europe, and southern Africa. There are around 15 species across United States in which southern and western states hosts most of the spiders.

Interesting Trapdoor Spider Facts

  • Trapdoor spiders are very difficult to locate as the nearby vegetation and soil offers a natural camouflage to these species. The trapdoors are typically nocturnal hunters and they wait for the prey to approach their door.
  • These spiders usually prey on arthropods, tiny vertebrates, and small insects. It’s the vibration that warns the spider of any prey and when the prey comes close enough to capture, the trapdoor pops up suddenly and hold it.
  • Unlike males, females are not known to travel farther from their burrows too often especially when they have an egg sac. The female typically captures food and regurgitates it to feed its young. The burrow entrances are perfectly camouflaged where females live for several years.
  • Trapdoor spiders are often devoured by the spider wasps that reach out their burrows to gain entrance.
  • It takes several years for trapdoors to get mature. Females are known to live longer as compared to the males. The female trapdoors occasionally leave their burrows. The males typically come out after a heavy rain when there are greater chances of finding prey.
  • These spiders display shiny brownish or black color with the length measuring at 25 mm. The males are fairly smaller than females. However, the males have longer legs and being more slender as compared to those of females.
  • Unlike males, females for the most part live in burrows while digging 4 – 10 inches (10 – 25 cm) straight into the ground. The width of the burrows usually measure around 0.5 inches (13 mm). The burrow’s width is enough for spiders to turn around inside. They employ an array of spines on their chelicerae known as restellum to cut beyond the soil, which is conveyed to the surface for disposal.
  • The trapdoor levels insides of the burrows while using its fangs, after which it lines the walls with compact sheet of velvety silk. There are several trapdoor species that make use of the soil to frame a plug-like thick door. There are skewed edges on the door that fit closely into the burrow entrance. Other spider species tend to make a rather wafer-thin door which frames sloppily into the burrow entrance.
  • The materials use for covering the door includes soil, lichen such as fungi and algae and is perfectly camouflaged when it’s shut. There are spiders that hold tightly the doors with the help of fangs while pushing against the burrow walls with legs.
  • Trapdoor spiders are often attacked by parasites including small-headed flies, raccoons, skunks, and coatis.
  • The average lifespan of these spiders is 5 – 20 years.
  • In general, these spiders are not aggressive but they can when provoked and as such they rarely bite.
trapdoor spider facts

Image Courtesy Steve Reekie

Did You Know?

The trapdoor spider’s fangs inject venom into the prey. These fangs consist of tiny barbs, which behave like rakes to move soil around when the spider digs its burrow.

Fast Trapdoor Spider Facts

Family:            Idiopidae

Superfamily:    Idiopoidea

Infraorder:       Fornicephalae

Suborder:        Mygalomorphae

Order:             Araneae

Class:              Arachnida

Phylum:           Arthropoda

Kingdom:         Animalia

trapdoor spider picturesWhat Do Trapdoor Spiders Eat | Trapdoor Spider Facts

During night, these spiders gently lift the door while stretching out the forward legs. There are certain spiders that sense the vibrations of tiny arthropods and insects as they march around. Some species are rather more patient as they wait for the prey to come into contact with the legs. Once the prey comes within its range, the trapdoor pounces too quickly to be noticed and returns to the burrow with the same speed. Some of the most common prey includes cricket, beetle, moth, and grasshopper. Mostly, these spiders remain intact with the burrows by keeping its hind legs in contact. In order to increase the likelihood of catching prey, trapdoors tend to surround the doors with a fan of silk tripwires.

Reproduction | Trapdoor Spider Facts

The mating season begins in summer as the trapdoor spider male aborts its burrows and start searching for its mate. It happens typically after the summer rains. When a male locates the burrow of a female, he nods her before entering by tapping on the lid with his font legs. The mating takes place inside the burrow after which the male leaves. The females cover the lid before laying 200 – 300 eggs in a silken sac.

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