Currently viewing the category: "Sheetweb Spiders"

Subject: My new pet spider. What is he (or she)?
Location: Epsom, England, UK
September 18, 2015 5:47 am
I live in the UK and this little fella or gal has been popping up at various places around my home for the past two weeks. Would love to know what type of spider it is.
Signature: Joe, UK

Giant House Spider

Giant House Spider

Dear Joe,
We identified your “pet” as a Giant House Spider,
Tegenaria gigantea, and according to Nature Spot:  “Females can reach 18 mm in length, with males having a slightly smaller body at around 12 mm to 15 mm in length. The female leg span is typically around 45 mm. The leg span of the male is highly variable, with spans between 25 mm to 75 mm being common. The Giant House-spider has the same colouration as the Domestic House-spider; it has earthy tones of brown and muddy red or yellow and a pattern of various sooty markings. They also have conspicuously hairy legs and abdomen.”  According to UK Safari:  “They become more noticeable in autumn, which is their mating season.  The males are often seen scuttling across a room or falling into bath tubs as they move around in search of a female.  The males have longer legs than the females, while the females have broader abdomens than the males.”

Subject: Unknown spiders-Male/Female
Location: Southwest, MI, USA
October 18, 2013 4:45 pm
Had seen this black and yellow spider hanging out in my marigold patch. Thought it was an Orchard Orbweaver at first until I saw my photos on my computer. Then a few days later I saw another smaller spider along with the black and yellow striped one (it wasn’t moving) At first I thought the bigger one was dead and the smaller one was in the process of liquifying its dinner. Then I thought maybe this was a male and they were mating. The next day I checked on the same web and the two were still there and I took the second picture. I also took a video when I thought they might be copulating. It was most interesting. Every 20-30 seconds and amber fluid drop would appear between them and then disappear as if reabsorbed or eaten. Can you tell what these spiders are and what they were up to?
Signature: d. k. dodge

Unknown Spider

Female Filmy Dome Spider

Dear D.K. Dodge,
We don’t recognize your spiders, but based on the tangled web, we are guessing they might be Cobweb Spiders in the family Theridiidae.  We searched through BugGuide, and your spiders bear a slight resemblance to this pair of
Phylloneta pictipes, however that appears to be a more southern species.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to assist in this identification.

Unknown Mating Spiders

Mating Filmy Dome Spiders

Because of the link and the update, I googled Neriene radiata and it is definitely the Filmy Dome Spider in my photos. What is even more confirming is that person’s observation that the courtship lasted for days.  I remember being very surprised when I kept seeing the pair for several days straight as I had assumed that all spider mating was a fairly quick proposition. Thanks for being such a great resource.  More to come from this bug-loving naturalist….

Unknown Mating Spiders

Mating Filmy Dome Spiders

Hi D.K.,
Thanks so much for writing back to provide this identification update.  Your photos are stunning, and nearly identical to the image of mating Filmy Dome Spiders,
Neriene radiata, from BugGuide.


Black and Yellow Orb Weaver (male and female?)
Location: Milton, DE
August 7, 2011 9:27 pm
Heya Bugman!
My boyfriend and I found this gorgeous Orb Weaver while vacationing in Delaware this weekend. While we were taking photos of her, that black flying insect (any idea what it is?) got caught in her web. She was lightning-fast and had him wrapped up in seconds! A few hours later, we saw her snacking on her tasty meal. Bug on bug carnage!
We also caught a glimpse of a smaller spider nearby with similar coloring. The male, perhaps? Hoping you can identify that guy for us! Thanks!
Signature: Bruce and Ren

Golden Orbweaver female

Hi again Bruce and Ren,
The Black and Yellow Orbweaver,
Argiope aurantia, has several other common names and we generally prefer the name Golden Orbweaver.  That Fly looks awfully familiar, but we have been unable to correctly identify it at the time of posting.  It doesn’t match any of the Horse Flies we checked on BugGuide, nor could we match it to any Mydas Flies.  We will continue to research its identity.  We cannot say for certain if the smaller spider is a male, but this large female Golden Orbweaver looks to be filling with eggs.

Golden Orbweaver snares Fly

As we were responding, we noticed you sent additional images and the smaller spider does appear to be a male Argiope aurantia.

Filmy Dome Spider, NOT Male Golden Orbweaver

Eric Eaton assists with Horse Fly identification
It is definitely a large female horse fly, maybe Tabanus atratus.  The “white” abdomen could be an artifact of the reflection of intense sunlight.

Hey again Daniel!
Horse fly makes definite sense to us. They’re everywhere near the beach in Delaware, as my very bitten up legs and arms can attest to!  And Eric’s theory of intense sunlight is spot-on.  Another picture we have shows nothing but black on the abdomen, so it’s entirely likely that I just caught the right angle to have the sun shining off the shiny part of the fly’s abdomen.  As for the spiders, we’re shocked!  We were speculating that it might be the male due to the similar coloring, but he was so small we nearly missed him and his web.  It’s hard to believe such a large spider and such a tiny spider are different genders of the same species!  Do the males make the stabillimentum as well?  We didn’t notice one in his web.  We really appreciate your help with identifying our interesting critters.  And thanks again for your amazing website!
Bruce and Ren

Hi again Bruce and Ren,
This BugGuide image nicely illustrates the size difference between the sexes of the Golden Orbweaver.  In most species of Orbweavers, the female is the larger of the pair, and in some species the size difference is noticeably great.  We have not seen any photos of male Golden Orbweavers with a stabilimentum.

Correction:  September 30, 2012
We just received a comment that made a correction to part of our identification.  The spider we believed to be a male Golden Orbweaver is actually a Filmy Dome Spider, Neriene radiata, which we verified on BugGuide, especially this image.


long legged spider
January 21, 2010
i found this big fella when i was trimming my wisteria. i havn’t seen him since. hes quite big about 10 cm from foot to foot ive tried looking for something similar but i cant seem to find anything. ive also tried looking for him again (rather timidly) curiousity got the better of me but i havnt seen him.
cheers julie
12ks out of ngaruawahia, new zealand

Possibly Huntsman Spider

Hi Julie,
In attempting to answer your question, we discovered a Museum of New Zealand spider website, but your specimen is not represented.  We believe this is some species of Huntsman Spider because of the size and the leg span.  It looks somewhat similar to a Shield Huntsman, Neosparassus salacius,  pictured on the Insects of Brisbane website.  We located another Australian Huntsman website, but again, nothing looks exactly like your specimen.  There is some concern about the introduction of Australian Huntsman spiders to New Zealand, not because the spiders pose a threat to humans, but because of how they might feed upon native insects, upsetting the biodiversity in New Zealand.  Here is a link to a news story.  Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck with the identification of your spider.

Sheetweb Spider

Update from Karl
Hi Daniel:
I think this may be a sheetweb spider (Stiphidiidae) in the genus Cambridgea. The genus is endemic to New Zealand and there are apparently about 30 species. The size of this one suggests that it could be C. foliata, New Zealand’s largest spider. The Museum of New Zealand spider website you mentioned does not have a very useful photo, but it does provide good information about the group. Regards.