Marbled orb weaver spiders are known for their vibrant colors and distinctive markings. These fascinating creatures can often be found in gardens and wooded areas, diligently building their intricate webs. Although their appearance may be intimidating to some, it’s essential to understand the true nature of their bite and whether or not it poses a threat to humans.
The marbled orb weaver’s bite is relatively mild and does not typically pose a significant threat to humans. While it may cause discomfort and localized pain, the spider’s venom is not considered dangerous or life-threatening. These spiders are generally more interested in capturing prey such as insects, and they will usually only bite humans if they feel threatened or cornered. It’s crucial to remember that any spider’s bite can cause an allergic reaction in some individuals, so it’s best to be cautious and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or don’t improve within a few days.
In summary, the marbled orb weaver spider’s bite is not considered poisonous or life-threatening to humans. However, it’s essential to be cautious around these and any other spiders and seek medical help if you experience an adverse reaction to a bite.
Marbled Orb Weaver Overview
The Marbled Orb Weaver is a colorful spider with a wide range of colors, such as white, yellow, orange, tan, grayish, and even purple. The pattern is variable, with mottling and spotting of black, brown, or purple. Adult females have a size of about 9 to 20 millimeters in length. The spider consists of two main body parts: the cephalothorax and the oval abdomen.
Behavior and Habitat
Marbled orb weavers are found in various habitats, primarily in the eastern United States. They create their distinctive orb webs in shrubs, plants, and trees. These spiders are known to be docile and are not aggressive by default. They usually only bite humans defensively when they feel threatened.
Prey and Webs
Marbled orb weavers create large, intricate orb webs to capture their prey. These webs serve as hunting grounds where the spider catches flying insects, such as mosquitoes and flies. They play a crucial role in controlling the population of pest insects in their environments.
Here is a quick comparison of the Marbled Orb Weaver’s features:
|White, yellow, orange, tan, grayish, and purple
|9 to 20 millimeters in length (adult female)
|Eastern United States
|Flying insects, such as mosquitoes and flies
- Key characteristics of Marbled Orb Weavers:
- Colorful and variable patterns
- Large, oval abdomen
- Non-aggressive behavior
- Orb web construction
- Predator of various flying insects
While the Marbled Orb Weaver is not generally considered dangerous to humans, any interaction with spiders should still be approached with caution.
Is the Marbled Orb Weaver Bite Poisonous?
Comparing to Other Spiders
The Marbled Orb Weaver is a colorful spider found across the eastern United States. Its bite is generally not considered dangerous, especially when compared to venomous spiders like the Black Widow or Brown Recluse. Here’s a brief comparison:
|Level of Danger
|Marbled Orb Weaver
Symptoms and First Aid
If bitten by a Marbled Orb Weaver, some individuals might experience mild symptoms, including:
More severe reactions may include nausea and dizziness. However, such cases are rare.
In case you are bitten by a Marbled Orb Weaver, take the following first aid steps:
- Clean the bite area with soap and water.
- Apply a cold compress or ice pack to reduce swelling and numb the pain.
- Take an over-the-counter painkiller if needed.
Remember to always consult a doctor if symptoms worsen or persist.
Distribution and Habitat
The Marbled Orbweaver is found across North America, spanning from Alaska to North Dakota and down to Texas.
- Common in the Northern Rockies
- Widespread in Canada
These spiders prefer various habitats, such as:
- Tall weeds
- Wooded settings
- Banks of streams
Currently, there is no information available regarding the Marbled Orbweaver’s distribution in other regions.
Species Classification and Naming
The Marbled Orb Weaver (Araneus marmoreus) belongs to the kingdom Animalia, phylum Arthropoda, subphylum Chelicerata, class Araneomorphae, order Araneae, family Araneidae, and genus Araneus. Here’s a brief breakdown of its classification:
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Chelicerata
- Class: Araneomorphae
- Order: Araneae
- Family: Araneidae
- Genus: Araneus
- Species: Araneus marmoreus
The Marbled Orb Weaver is commonly known as:
- Marbled Orb Weaver Spider
- Orb Weaver
- Orb Weaver Spider
As a member of the family Araneidae, it is part of the larger group of orb-weaving spiders, which construct distinctive spiral webs. You can find more information on the World Spider Catalog regarding various spider species and their classifications.
Life Cycle and Reproduction
Egg Sacs and Spiderlings
- Marbled orb-weavers have a short lifespan, typically living for about a year.
- Female orb-weavers lay several hundred eggs within protective egg sacs.
- The sacs are often round and made of thick, brown silk.
- Eggs are laid in late summer or early autumn.
- The spiderlings emerge from the egg sac in spring.
Courtship and Mating
Marbled orb-weaver spiders follow a specific mating behavior:
- Courtship: Males engage in a series of tapping and vibrating movements on the web to signal their presence to females.
- Example: A male spider may tap the web repeatedly while approaching the female.
- These behaviors help to avoid being mistaken as prey.
- Mating: Once the female accepts the male, they mate, and the male may subsequently die shortly after.
- Females can store sperm for later use, allowing them to produce multiple egg sacs without remating.
|About a year
|Thick, brown silk sacs containing several hundred eggs
|Hatch in spring
|Tapping and vibrating movements on the web to signal presence
|Female accepts male, mates, and may produce multiple egg sacs with stored sperm (male may die shortly after)
Spider and Human Interaction
Marbled orbweaver spiders have several benefits to humans and gardens, such as:
- Preying on insects like flying insects that could harm gardens
- Keeping the ecosystem balanced due to their role as predators
- May help reduce populations of pests such as mosquitoes, flies, and aphids
- Being a source of food for larger predators like birds and lizards
Potential Risks to Humans and Pets
Though marbled orbweaver spiders are helpful, they can potentially cause discomfort or harm to humans and pets:
- Bites can happen when threatened or accidentally disturbed
- Their venom may cause localized pain, redness, and swelling in humans
- Pets, like cats or dogs, could also be affected by bites if they come in contact with the spider
Marbled Orbweaver Spider Identification Features:
- Adult females can be 9 to 20 millimeters long
- Abdomens are mostly orange with brown to purple markings, or occasionally nearly white
- Cephalothorax is yellow to burnt-orange with a central dark line and dark lines down either side
To better understand their appearance, here is a comparison of marbled orbweaver spiders with other orbweavers:
|Orange, Brown, or White
|Yellow to Burnt-Orange
|Black, Yellow, Red, and White
|Green, White, and Red
In conclusion, marbled orbweaver spiders offer several benefits to humans and gardens, preying on insects and helping maintain the ecosystem. However, there are potential risks associated with their bites. Understanding their characteristics and taking precautions can help minimize the chances of humans and pets being bitten.
Other Orb Weaver Species
The Black Widow is a venomous spider belonging to the Theridiidae family. Its bite can be dangerous to humans, causing muscle cramps, nausea, and in severe cases, respiratory issues. However, fatalities are rare. Here are some key points about the Black Widow:
- Size: Females are 12–16 mm long, while males are only 3.5–4.5 mm long.
- Color: They’re known for their black color and red hourglass-shaped markings on their abdomen.
Argiope Garden Spiders
Argiope Garden Spiders are non-venomous spiders found commonly in gardens. They belong to the same family as the Marbled Orb Weaver, which is the Araneidae. Their bite is not harmful to humans. Here are some features of Argiope Garden Spiders:
- Size: Females are 14–25 mm long, while males are 5–9 mm long.
- Color: They have striking silver, yellow, and black markings on their abdomen.
|Argiope Garden Spider
|Black with red markings
|Silver, yellow, and black markings
To sum up:
- Black Widow spiders are venomous and their bite may cause medical complications.
- In comparison, Argiope Garden Spiders are non-venomous and their bite is not harmful to humans.
Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.
Letter 1 – Marbled Orbweaver
Bulbous, orange with black and white markings. @1/2″ diameter with orange, white and brown striped legs.
September 20, 2009
Hello, I live in Connecticut and found this spider within an outdoor light fixture. Have never seen anything like it. What kind of spider is this and is it poisonous? Is it a helpful or harmful species?
The Marbled Orbweaver, Araneus marmoreus, is a highly variable spider, but your orange variation is one of the more distinctive of the variations. This is a harmless species.
Letter 2 – Marbled Orb Weaver
Spider Identification Request
Hi, I love your site. I stumbled upon it while trying to see if this is a harmless spider since three of them have appeared on my deck. From reading your site, I am guesing a harmless golden orb. What do you think?
Your spider is not a Golden Orb Weaver, but a Marbled Orb Weaver, Araneus marmoreus. They range throughout the U.S. to Alaska. It hides in a retreat of the web and will drop to the ground if approached. It usually builds its web on low shrubs and in high grasses.
Letter 3 – Marbled Orb Weaver
Dear Mr. Bugman,
I cannot say how much I love your site. I have three pics for you, I hope that’s ok? The first is a decent picture of a marbled orb weaver (I recognized it from your site), I just thought you might enjoy the picture.
Your Marbled Orb Weaver photo is awesome.
Letter 4 – Marbled Orb Weaver
please identify: large yellow-orange spider with markings
I’ve attached two images of a spider that my boyfriend and I found at the Morris Arboretum (north of Philadelphia). The spider is fairly large (abdomen is probably the size of a nickel), and was crawling very slowly on the grass. Would you possibly know what it is?
We know by your follow-up letter that you have already identified this Marbled Orb Weaver, Araneus marmoreus, from other photos on our site.
Letter 5 – Marbled Orb Weaver
My family and I were visiting the North Georgia Mountains when we came across this beautifully colored yellow spider. It did look very much like the color of some of the leaves in the area. It is fall and the leaves are changing. I have never seen one like this before. Any ideas?
This is a Marbled Orb Weaver, Araneus marmoreus. It build an orb web and hides in a retreat, often a curled leaf. It is inconspicuous in the web, but will drop to the ground if approached.
Letter 6 – Marbled Orb Weaver
What’s this spider?
This spider’s abdomen was the size of a chapstick lid. Can you help me ID it? Found it in central Ohio on October 15. The picture is attached.
Your spider is a Marbled Orb Weaver, Araneus marmoreus.
Letter 7 – Marbled Orb Weaver
Seen in August in SE Pennsylvania outside Philly I am pretty sure it is a Golden Orb Weaver based on a post from the site. Am I right?
Not a Golden Orb Weaver but a Marbled Orb Weaver, Araneus marmoreus.
Letter 8 – Marbled Orb Weaver
Hi what’s my spider, it has beautiful markings and wonderful red legs??
Tina in Mansfield CT.
This looks like a Marbled Orb Weaver, Araneus marmoreus. There is much color variability in the species of this genus.
Letter 9 – Marbled Orb Weaver probably
Spider – What species?
This spider freaked me out. Do you know if it is dangerous? I have never seen anything like it and found it on my deck right outside my house in New York State (the Catskills). Thank you!!!
This is one of the Orb Weavers in the genus Araneus, probably the Marbled Orb Weaver, Araneus marmoreus. We are amazed you found this spider in New York in the dead of winter.
Letter 10 – Marbled Orbweaver
What kinda spider is this??
Tue, Oct 7, 2008 at 5:37 PM
I found this Spider in my boat in the back yard. The boat has been sitting for most of the summer. I was getting ready to clean it out so i can store it and i found this Guy. Never seen anything like it. I would say its about the size of a Nickel. I live in Mid Michigan and its early fall. please let me know if you know any info on this spider. Thanks
Chris S Laingsburg, Mi
Laingsburg, Michigan USA
This looks like one of the numerous color variations of the highly variable Marbled Orbweaver, Araneus marmoreus. You can view some of the many color variations on BugGuide.
Letter 11 – Marbled Orbweaver
New friend in Iowa
November 7, 2009
This little guy has taken up residence on our porch, is he doomed with the onset of winter just around the corner?
We love your photo of a harmless Marbled Orbweaver, Araneus marmoreus. It is a highly variable species, and BugGuide illustrates the variety quite nicely.
Thank you Fennecky, for bringing it to our attention that we did not answer the question “is he doomed with the onset of winter just around the corner?” First off, he is not doomed, she is doomed. This is a female spider. Orbweavers do not live more than one season, and hopefully she will have laid eggs, ensuring a future generation. If kept it captivity under optimal conditions, it is possible that a female Orbweaver may pass the year marker, but this would be a rarity. The onset of a frost and freezing temperatures will probably end this gal’s life.
Letter 12 – Marbled Orbweaver
Subject: What is this spider?
Geographic location of the bug: Weatherly, Pa.
Time: 11:10 AM EDT
Is this poisonous?
How you want your letter signed: Marianne Mertens-Harley
Based on this BugGuide image, we are quite confident this is a Marbled Orbweaver. Orbweavers are not considered dangerous to people, but they do have venom that they inject when they capture prey. Large Orbweavers might bite, but there is only local tenderness.
Letter 13 – Marbled Orbweaver
Subject: What kind of spider is this ?
Geographic location of the bug: Falmouth, Cape Cod, Mass
Time: 06:04 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Thank you for your help!
How you want your letter signed: M. O”Neill
You’re the best! Thank you!
Apologies for brevity and any typos. Message sent via mobile device.