Currently viewing the category: "Orb Weavers"
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Subject: “Thorny” spotted spider

Location: Houston, TX
September 23, 2014 9:29 pm
We live in the Houston, TX area. I’ve lived all over and never seen a spider like these anywhere. Found about 8 of them and their lovely webs all over our yard — some yellow, some red. An online search turned up some similar spiders from far-reaches of the globe, but nothing definitively local. I’m curious to know what type and whether they are native.
Thanks in advance for any information.
Signature: Kelly in TX

Crablike Spiny Orbweaver

Crablike Spiny Orbweaver

Dear Kelly in TX,
The Crablike Spiny Orbweaver,
Gasteracantha cancriformis, which is quite variable in terms of coloration, is native to Texas and a significant portion of the warmers parts of North America as well as the Central American neotropics and the Caribbean.  We would love to post images of your red and your yellow individuals shot in the same manner as the white individual we posted.  See BugGuide for additional information on the Crablike Spiny Orbweaver, which is harmless.

Crablike Spiny Orbweaver

Crablike Spiny Orbweaver

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Interesting Kenyan Spider
Location: Kenya
September 17, 2014 10:25 am
What kind of spider is this? We live in Machakos, Kenya. He looks to be half crab.
Signature: Marc Jordan

Crablike Spiny Orbweaver

Crablike Spiny Orbweaver

Dear Marc Jordan,
This appears to be an Orbweaver in the genus
Gasteracantha, and North American members of the genus are known as Crablike Spiny Orbweavers.  We located a very similar looking individual from Tanzania on FlickR, but it is only identified to the genus level and another image on FlickR is identified as possibly Gasteracantha versicolor.  According to the images on Encyclopedia of Life, it is a highly variable species.  Thorn Spider appears to be an accepted common name.

Crablike Spiny Orbweaver

Crablike Spiny Orbweaver

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Spider help!
Location: Northeast, USA
September 7, 2014 8:32 pm
Hi there,
Hoping you can help me identify this big guy. We just moved from Brooklyn to upstate NY (Gansevoort just north of Saratoga Springs to be exact), and we have found 3 of these large spiders hanging around the house/porch. They are about the size of my palm with legs outstretched– big and scary! My main concern is our 2 yr old daughter– are these guys poisonous?
Many thanks in advance for your help,
Sue
(today’s date is Sept. 7th)
Signature: Sue

Barn Spider

Barn Spider

Dear Sue,
This is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae, and we are nearly certain it is a Barn Spider,
Araneus cavaticus, a conclusion we reached upon comparing your image to this image on BugGuide.  The information page on BugGuide notes:  “This is the spider in the book Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. The spider’s full name is Charlotte A. Cavatica.”  Of the entire family, BugGuide notes:  “Orb weavers are very docile, non-aggressive spiders that will flee at the first sign of a threat (typically they will run or drop off the web). They are not dangerous to people & pets, and are actually quite beneficial because they will catch and eat a lot of pest-type insects. ”  Like most spiders, Orbweavers have venom, but it is not considered highly toxic to humans, and in the unlikely event that a bite does occur, the symptoms are usually not much more than local swelling, redness and tenderness that quickly pass with no lasting effects.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you so much for taking the time to write me back.  Such a relief to know all of this info!  From the image / link you sent, I agree, it does look like a barn spider.  So glad to know they’re basically harmless– the ones we saw were pretty big and intimidating, but sounds like they’re the gentle giant types.
Many thanks again,
Sue

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Is it a Golden Orb Weaver with Prey?
Location: Washington-on-the-Brazos; Washington County, Texas
September 7, 2014 8:47 pm
Hello,
We visited the beautiful and historic Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park today, and saw this large spider hanging from the porch roof at the home of the fourth (and last) President of the Republic of Texas, Doctor Anson Jones.
The docent said she had been told this is a banana spider with an egg sac. I believe it may be a Golden Orb Weaver with wrapped prey, but I didn’t want to disagree with the kind woman donating her time as docent, especially since I have very limited knowledge of the subject.
I don’t know what the possible prey is, perhaps bumble bees (there were many).
Thank you for any information. I appreciate your help.
Signature: Ellen

Golden Orbweaver with Prey

Golden Orbweaver with Prey

Hi Ellen,
We agree with your identification and we believe the docent is wrong, though common names often apply to numerous different, often unrelated species, and we have never heard Golden Orbweavers called Banana Spiders.  There are two different species that we know of that are called Banana Spiders:  the Golden Silk Spider,
Nephila clavipes, and a Huntsman Spider, Heteropoda venatoria.  The zigzag pattern in the web, known as a stabilimentum, is characteristic of the Golden OrbweaverArgiope aurantia.

Golden Orbweaver with Prey

Golden Orbweaver with Prey

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Mud Dauber with Araneus – Square Peg in a Round Hole!
Location: Thousand Hills State Park – Kirksville, MO
September 4, 2014 1:10 pm
Hi, Bugman!
I saw this rather interesting sight at work today. Apparently we have a Black and Yellow Mud Dauber nesting inside the hollows of our steel office door, and she has been getting in through a tiny gap above the door handle. I had seen a mud dauber hanging around the area, but didn’t realize there was one nesting there until I saw her on top of the door lever. At first I thought that she might be injured, but on closer inspection, she was trying to squeeze through the gap with a particularly rotund spider she had caught! I managed to snap some photos of the mud dauber doing some very amusing gymnastics, struggling to get the spider through the gap, before she left. Sadly, when she did give up and fly away, she did not drop the spider, which would have been helpful for identification! The most I can narrow down the spider is to the genus Araneus – which I realize, given the huge number of species under that umbrella, is like seeing an A-10 Warthog and identifying i t as ‘an aircraft of some kind.’ I was hoping you might have more luck in finding out what kind of spider our mud dauber had flown in, but, if not, then I simply hope you get a chuckle out of the photos.
Thanks!
Signature: EB

Black and Yellow Mud Dauber preys on Orbweaver

Black and Yellow Mud Dauber preys on Orbweaver

Mud Dauber tried to stuff Orbweaver in hole.

Mud Dauber tried to stuff Orbweaver in hole.

Mud Dauber kicks it with Orbweaver

Mud Dauber kicks it with Orbweaver

Dear EB,
We absolutely love your images of a Black and Yellow Mud Dauber attempting to return to its nest with this substantial Orbweaver.

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Subject: Brown and yellow spider
Location: United States, Northeast, Pennsylvania
August 31, 2014 12:55 pm
Hey bug friends,
Any idea what kind of spider this may be? I usually have a pretty good eye, but I couldn’t pinpoint the precise family. Both pictures were taken in a relatively urban part of south central Pennsylvania, late July.
Thanks!
Signature: Sam

Orbweaver

Orbweaver

Dear Sam,
This is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae
, and we are uncertain if we will be able to provide you with a species identification in the limited research time we have remaining this morning.  You can try browsing through BugGuide to see if you can identify the genus and species if we are unable to provide that information.  We suspect that based on this image on BugGuide, it might be an Arabesque Spider, Neoscona arabesca, but we are not certain.  According to BugGuide, this is a wide ranging species and it has much variation in the color and markings.

Possibly Arabesque Spider

Possibly Arabesque Spider

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination