Location: New England
August 30, 2011 7:32 am
I found this spider dead and was unsure if it is poisonous or not. I have never seen it around here before and it makes me think it’s dangerous. I have young kids and am worried. Please respond quickly!!! Thank you,
Signature: A Ditressed Homeowner

Smashed Golden Orbweaver

Dear Distressed Homeowner,
All Spiders have poison, but very few are considered dangerous to humans.  Spiders are not generally inclined to bite people unless they are carelessly handled or threatened.  This stately Golden Orbweaver,
Argiope aurantia, was a magnificent spider prior to being squashed.  Golden Orbweavers are not considered to be dangerous spiders.  Often people will smash spiders and insects because they are of the opinion that is it “just a bug” which we find quite troubling.  We cannot claim that a Golden Orbweaver would not bite a person or a small child, but Orbweavers rarely leave their webs, and if they do leave their webs, it is most likely that they were forced to leave their webs.  Conscientious gardeners will leave an Orbweaver in the garden, knowing where it has spun its web.  The Golden Orbweaver was the inspiration for the classic children’s story Charlotte’s Web.

Dear Bugman,
Thank you very much. The Golden Orbweaver was dead when I discovered it, but when I moved it to take a picture it got slightly squashed. I understand your concern and agree, bugs are very mistreated.

We Stand Corrected
All spiders do not have venom.
August 30, 2011 11:12 pm
Thank you for your interesting web site – I have been visiting it for many years now.
Just one query pls. Your regularly indicate that “All Spiders have poison”.
I was taught at varsity that the family Uloboridae does not have venom glands and the members are therefore not venomous. Was I taught wrong?
Deon, Pretoria, South Africa
Signature: Deon

Hi Deon,
Thanks so much for bringing this to our attention.  As we have stated in numerous locations on our website, we do not have science backgrounds, but rather, we are visual artists who have an interest in the lower beasts.  We decided to research this a bit, and have now learned that there is at least one family of spiders, Uloboridae as you have pointed out, that does not have venom.  According to BugGuide, these Cribellate Orbweavers or Hackle-band Orbweavers  are “unique among spiders in our area in having no venom at all.”  The Spiders of Australia website has a nice page on them that also points out  “Uloborid spiders are unusual in having no poison glands. They rely completely on wrapping their prey in silk.”  Alas, we doubt that we will have the time to make this correction in every location on our website, but we will be sure to not make this error again.


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