The Gottlieb Native Garden

a california love story

The Gottlieb Native Garden is a flourishing ecosystem belonging to Susan and Dan Gottlieb, friends of flora and fauna and devoted environmental philanthropists. With more than 100 hand-selected plant species and hundreds of animal species, the backyard is a National Wildlife Federation-certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat and a Xerces Society-designated Pollinator Habitat.

Fortunate Spider, Unfortunate Honey Bee

Grass spiders are in the family Agelenidae, or funnel weavers. This family gets its name from the spider's horizontal, sheet-like web that has a small funnel-like tube where the it can reside safely out of sight. Their webs are rather interesting because, for the most part, they are not sticky. Over the top of their sheet-web, they create a 3-dimensional obstacle out of single strands of webbing. When a flying insect hits these strands, it falls onto the sheet below. The spider will then charge out of its funnel and subdue its prey. 

The GNG has dozens of funnel weaver spiders throughout the property, most are quite small (measuring only a ¼” or so). The spider pictured below is a large species of funnel weaver (use the Honey Bee prey for scale!) and many now inhabit an area above the upper pond.

Grass spider – Agelenopsis sp.