Sunday 19 May
Dolloff cave spider (Meta dolloff)
What’s the World’s Favourite Species?Find out here.
Dolloff cave spider fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Dolloff cave spider description
The Dolloff cave spider (Meta dolloff) is the largest web-building spider to occur within the Santa Cruz Caves in the United States (2). The body of this species is mostly brown, with indistinct barring on its legs. There are two dark patches on the top of the abdomen, with two light triangular markings between them, and the back of the abdomen is marked with dark, horizontal bars. The sides of the body are streaked. The measurement of the length and height of the abdomen of Meta species is roughly equal, and is narrower towards the head and widest at the centre. In this genus the first pair of legs is the longest and the third pair is the shortest. The underside of the abdomen of the Dolloff cave spider is grey and has two parallel white lines made up of tiny spots (3).
- Length: 10 - 15 mm (2)
Dolloff cave spider biology
Almost nothing is known of the biology about the Dolloff cave spider. However, although its diet is likely to mainly consist of cave moths such as Triphosa haesitata and harvestmen such as Leiobunum exilipes (4).Top
Dolloff cave spider rangeTop
Dolloff cave spider habitat
As its name suggests, the Dolloff cave spider inhabits caves, where it creates large vertical webs (2). The webs are usually located on the roof of the cave, close to the entrance (2) (4), as well as in the ‘twilight zone’ where there is a small amount of natural light (2).Top
Dolloff cave spider status
The Dolloff cave spider is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Dolloff cave spider threats
The main threat to the Dolloff cave spider is humans accessing the cave system it inhabits and causing pollution and poisoning by lighting bonfires and vandalising the area with graffiti. A nearby university has no storm drains to remove excess water from its campus, meaning that large amounts of water can enter the cave system, reducing available food supplies and affecting all species within. The water in the caves is also known to be polluted, posing another potential threat to the Dolloff cave spider and its prey (4).Top
Dolloff cave spider conservation
To protect the Dolloff cave spider, the expansion of the university campus must be halted until the water runoff problems have been resolved. Tougher law enforcement must also be implemented to prevent behaviour which is detrimental to the Dolloff cave spider, and vandals should be prevented from accessing the site. A gate was previously installed to prevent access to the cave, although this was broken into shortly after (4).
No other specific conservation measures are currently known to be in place for this poorly-known spider.Top
Find out more
More information on the Dolloff cave spider:
Endangered Species and Habitats of Santa Cruz County - Dolloff Cave Spider:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
- In arthropods (crustaceans, insects and arachnids) the abdomen is the hind region of the body, which is usually segmented to a degree (but not visibly in most spiders).
- A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
IUCN Red List (April, 2012)
Ubick, D. (2001) Cavernicolous Invertebrates of Cave Gulch, Santa Cruz County, California. California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco. Available at:
- Levi, H.W. (1980) The orb-weaver genus Mecynogea, the subfamily Metinae and the genera Pachygnatha, Glenognatha and Azilia of the subfamily Tetragnathinae north of Mexico (Araneae: Araneidae). Bulletin of the Museum of Comparitive Zoology, 149: 1-74.
Endangered Species and Habitats of Santa Cruz County - Dolloff Cave Spider (April, 2012)
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.