The Longbodied Cellar Spider (Pholcus phalangioides), as its name suggests, is often found in cellars, basements, and in living spaces that are typically dark and undisturbed (such as the back of closets, corners, etc). The Longbodied Cellar Spider is distinctive in its appearance. The body is a nondescript brownish gray and its legs are several times longer than the length of the body. The legs can be up to 2 inches in length. The female of this species typically builds a large and irregularly shaped web. She then hangs upside-down in the web with her legs partially folded as she waits for prey. She often catches her prey by throwing silk at it, and after it gets entangled, she bites it.
The Longbodied Cellar Spider is found throughout the United States and stays active year-round. They are often confused with the granddaddy longlegs (which is not actually a spider). They can sometimes be confused with the Brown Recluse because they often inhabit some of the same areas inside our homes, but with a little knowledge, the two are very easily distinguished.
This spider tends to eat small insects and other spiders. It takes about a year for them to mature after hatching, and they can live for another 2 years. There is an urban legend about this spider, along with the granddaddy longlegs, that these are one of the most venomous spiders in the world but their fangs are too short to deliver this venom; however, there is no scientific evidence that this is the case as these spiders are not known to bite humans.
This is one of 2 cellar spider species found in the U.S., the other being the Shortbodied Cellar Spider whose legs are about 1/2" in length.