What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Tanzanian Spider
Location: Morogoro and Mabibo of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
February 12, 2011 11:53 pm
I took this picture in 2008 while in Morogoro, Tanzania (a rural area). I still have no idea what it is, and have done a fair share of googling to figure it out. Three years later and still unsuccessful at finding an answer. I was about 2 inches away from this thing to take the picture, but it was worth the risk. If it helps at all, its web was strung under the shade of a tree.
I also wanted to know if you had any idea about the common types of tree spiders in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s capital. Unfortunately the pictures I had were useless in identification, but I can tell you this–they seemed to be in colonies, strung high in the trees together, and (i kid you not) roughly the size of my hand. Once again, I was unsuccessful in identifying the absolutely unbelievable creatures.
Thank you for your help. I have been curious for so long, and any comments are greatly appreciated.
Signature: Kendal

Horned Spider from Tanzania

Hi Kendal,
This is a Spiny Orbweaver, and we believe it may be in the genus
Gasteracantha, though we need to do some additional research to verify that identification.  We found a blog with postings of Horned Spiders that look quite similar, and they are in the genus Gasteracantha.  ZipcodeZoo lists numerous species in the genus.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to properly identify the species.  Your other request might be Golden Silk Spiders in the genus Nephila.

Spiny Orbweaver

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

5 Responses to Spiny Orbweaver from Tanzania

  1. Remirez says:

    The first one does indeed look like a Spiny Orb-Weaver from the Family Araneidae, Genus Gasteracantha.
    Honestly, there are so many species just within that one genus, that it’s very difficult to narrow it down. However, it does not look anything like the three species I’m familiar with here in Sub-Saharan Africa: milvoides, versicolor, and anguinolenta.
    Both photos are showing the ventral side of the spider, making it difficult to identify correctly. Are there any photos of the dorsal (top) side of the spider so we can see the markings on top of the abdomen?

  2. Remirez says:

    I was hoping for some other images from Kendal.
    In a previous post “Spiny Orb Weaver from Africa” from November 4th 2009, the picture depicts Gasteracantha milvoides.

    Upon closer inspection, the above spider’s spines look very similar shape and size to Gasteracantha falcicornis, but the markings are different from what I’m familiar with from references online and in books.

  3. Kendal says:

    Hi remirez and bugman. I saw your initial post. And randomly came across my own picture (the one above) while on Google, now 6 years later. I do not have other pictures of this one in particular. It’s been 9 yrs since the above was taken. Hard to believe. Thanks for solving the mystery. It’s amazing how many other mysteries are still yet to be discovered about our planet. Let’s hope our climate – both political and global – are smart enough to keep those mysteries alive.

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