What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Orange Spider with horns on back
Location: Ojai, California
November 5, 2012 2:57 pm
Hi Mr. Bugman!
I was wondering if you can identify this orange spider. I searched for orange spiders on your site but did not see one that matches.
It’s an orb weaver since it’s made a magnificent round web. The web is between 2 bushes about 2-1/2 feet in diameter.
The spider’s body is about the size of a quarter. Lets spread out it would probably be the size of a half dollar.
I’m particularly interested because I’ve never seen a spider with horn protrusions on its back.
We are in Ojai, California, a tiny valley town just inland from the Southern California coast. We get a lot of bugs here, and your site has helped us so much in identifying them.
Thanks so much!
Signature: Spider Admirer

Cat Faced Spider

Dear Spider Admirer,
We believe this is a Cat Faced Spider,
Araneus gemmoides.  According to BugGuide, they can be identified by:  “The fine white line crossed by two shallow white Vs on the front of the abdomen. This is a classic characteristic of Araneus gemmoides.  How strong these lines are, and, to a certain extent, their shape, is variable from one individual to another.”  Nothing is mentioned about the “horns” on BugGuide, but most photos appear to have them.  BugEric has an excellent page on the Cat Faced Spider where it is noted:  “Araneus gemmoides is one of the angulate orb weavers that often sport a pair of conical humps near the front of the top of the abdomen. These “horns” mark the “ears” of the cat face, with variable markings on the abdomen reinforcing the feline moniker.”

Wow, Daniel, thank you so much!! That is so great! I happen to be a huge cat lover, so really like the idea of the Cat Faced Spider taking up residence nearby. I really appreciate your finding the name.
Thanks for building such a great site! My son LOVES bugs and has learned so much from you!
Best wishes,
Bonnie

Our pleasure Bonnie.  When we began this column in a small photocopied “zine” in the late 1990s, it was because we were asked to contribute a column to American Homebody by dear friend and collaborator Lisa Anne Auerbach.  We chose What’s That Bug? because of our own childhood love of insects and we maintained at a very early stage that everyone really did want to know “What’s That Bug?” upon encountering some strange and unfamiliar creature in the home or garden.  Upon taking the project online, that really did turn out to be an accurate prediction.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: California
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