Currently viewing the category: "Orb Weavers"
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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.

Lesa Joel DeCuir, Andrea Leonard Drummond, Jessica Sory, Vanessa Anna, Nikki Oldham Wilson liked this post
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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.”

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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

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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

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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