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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/White spider in basement

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Question
Hi Eric,

My Dad discovered a pure white spider with small pearl balls on its legs in my Uncle's basement. He said he would have never known it was a spider if the realtor hadn't pointed it out. He said it looked like something has dripped onto a web from the ceiling. Do you have any idea what kind of spider this is? We live in Upstate New York. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Allison Kinch

Answer
Hi, Allison:

You give an outstanding description of a harvestman (aka "Daddy long-legs") that has been killed by a fungus.  Harvestmen are arachnids, but not spiders.  Here is an example:

http://www.whatsthatbug.com/2009/07/13/harvestman-but-is-it-molting/

It could also be a true spider called a "cellar spider," family Pholcidae, that also was killed by a fungus:

http://www.whatsthatbug.com/category/spiders/cellar-spiders/

Fungi kill a surprising number of insects and spiders, leaving ghastly results in their wake.

Eric

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton

Expertise

I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.

Experience

Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Publications
Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Education/Credentials
Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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