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Photo#30811
Corner Spider? - Hololena

Corner Spider? - Hololena
Encino, Los Angeles County, California, USA
September 5, 2005
Size: 1/4-1/2 inch body length
These are all over my back yard. They make a sheet-web with a funnel-shaped opening for the spider to hide in. this one is on a bromeliad leaf- but, really, they're everywhere.

Funnel-Web Spider
This is an excellent image of a female funnel-web spider (Family: Agelenidae). I would guess that it might belong to the Hololena genus.

The style of web and the behavior you described are exactly what they are named for. They are beneficial for your yard, as they keep the insect population in check. These spiders are not dangerous to people.

 
Hololena
My guess at ID came from Charles Hogue's Insects of the Los Angeles Basin (1), which has a similar-looking picture of Hololena curta under the name "Corner Spider." It's supposed to be one of the most common Southern California spiders, and to like shade- which has been my observation about this spider as well.

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