Subject: Strangest Spider
Location: Central Texas Hill Country
November 7, 2016 1:20 pm
This spider had a giant web that was catching mostly monarch butterflies in Central Texas. It appears to be some sort of a crab-like creature with 6 spikes around the top portion. The markings on the top are off-white with black, and on the bottom… look strangely reminiscent of the side of a monarch, with little dots. When it’s threatened, it hunches down and folds up into a nondescript little ball. What on earth??
Signature: Amaris in Wonderland
Dear Amaris in Wonderland,
This Crablike Spiny Orbweaver, Gasteracantha cancriformis, is a highly variable species. In addition to the black and white color variation in your image, there are individuals will yellow and red markings as well. According to BugGuide, common names include: “Crab Spider, Spiny Orbweaver Spider, Crab-like Orbweaver Spider, Crab-like Spiny Orbweaver Spider, Jewel Spider, Spiny-bellied Orbweaver, Jewel Box Spider, Smiley Face Spider, Crablike Spiny Orbweaver.”
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Have a great day.