Currently viewing the category: "Orb Weavers"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Argiope Aurantia – Question about Life Cycle
October 23, 2014 11:37 am
Dear Bugman and friends,
We have been lucky to have had three yellow garden spiders in our yard this year build webs where we could easily observe them. Our family watched all three build daily webs, eat, and grow for a few weeks. One spider got very large (in our opinion), perhaps a body of about an inch, not counting her legs. The other two were a bit smaller than that. One seemed to have a mate after some time, a little fellow that hung out on the edge of her web and crept closer over time (although we don’t know if there was ever any “action”). They all followed the same pattern, web building, eating, growing, and then disappearing. We are wondering if you could tell us why they just disappear…They are around for 2-3 weeks. The first one who disappeared possibly did not get enough to eat at the end; however, we did feed her a few flies the night before she disappeared, which she declined to eat (although she had eaten other flies we had gotten her previously). The other ate a really great meal one day,
at least 3-4 decent sized bugs (in fact, she had another bug caught in her web that she didn’t get to), and then disappeared two days later. What we noticed on the two we were able to observe closely is that they ate fine one day, but didn’t rebuild their webs that night, hung around kind of crooked the following day, and then were gone the next day. We were just wondering if you could let us know if this is typical for their life cycle. It did not get cold, it seemed like they had enough to eat, we didn’t see a dead spider on the ground under the web, no one walked into the webs, two were high enough that the only predators would possibly be birds (but one was right up against our window so it seems like it would have been very hard for a bird to get her without smacking against the glass). We got attached to all three, which may sound silly, and were really sad when they disappeared. So, I thought I would write you to find out if you could offer any insight. I know you are busy,
but just wanted to try. Any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated. We have looked online and have been unable to find anything ourselves. Thanks again in advance.
Linda, Steve, and Gage
Signature: Linda Vincent

Golden Orbweaver from our Archives

Golden Orbweaver from our Archives

Dear Linda, Steve and Gage,
Sadly, we don’t know what happened to your Golden Orbweavers.  We have had similar experiences with individuals in our own Los Angeles garden.  They seem to just vanish one day.  The life cycle of Golden Orbweavers is a single season, and even if the weather if fine, it is still nearing the end of the year.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide you with some information.

Jessica M. Schemm, Kathleen Travis Perin liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Golden Silk Spider

Golden Silk Spider

Subject: Big Spider
Location: Meridian Mississippi USA
October 17, 2014 12:57 pm
I Found this spider on a web behind my house. What the heck is it? It looks dangerous!
Signature: KimH

Dear KimH,
This Golden Silk Spider,
Nephila clavipes, is sometimes called a Banana Spider.  As you have indicated, they are large spiders, and though they might bite a person if carelessly handled, they are not considered dangerous.  Like most spiders, they do have venom, but the venom will only have a very localized reaction similar to a bee sting.  Golden Silk Spiders are known for spinning an extremely strong silk to construct their webs, and the silk has a golden color.  The strength of the silk enables them to snare large winded prey.  Golden Silk Spiders are also known for their extreme sexual dimorphism.  Your individual is a female, and she is about fifty times the size of her diminutive mate.

Racheal Sedmack, Lesa Joel DeCuir, Andrea Leonard Drummond, Jessica Sory, Vanessa Anna, Nikki Oldham Wilson liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Orbweaver

Orbweaver

Subject: Spider in Cape Verde
Location: Boa Vista, Cape Verde
October 13, 2014 6:22 am
Hi i saw this spider earlier on a palm tree in Boa Vista, Cape Verde. It has been still in its web all morning. Can you please tell me what it is and if it is dangerous.
Signature: Hollie

Dear Hollie,
This is a harmless Orbweaver in the genus Argiope, and though they might bite, the bite is not considered to be dangerous.  As you observed, Orbweavers rarely leave their webs.  Your individual might be
Argiope sector which according to SpiderzRule, “is quite common in Northern Africa.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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