Where Do Orb Weaver Spiders Live: A Friendly Guide to Their Habitat

Orb weaver spiders are a fascinating group of arachnids known for their intricate, wheel-shaped webs. These spiders can be found in a variety of habitats, making them quite diverse and widespread. In this article, we’ll delve into the different types of orb weavers and where they typically reside.

You might come across orb weavers in gardens, wooded areas, or even near water sources. Some common groups include the Tetragnathidae, which are prevalent in Illinois, and the Araneidae, displaying a wide range of physical diversity in their abdomen shapes [1]. The Orchard orbweaver, which belongs to these diverse spider groups, is specifically found throughout the eastern United States [2].

As you explore the world of orb weaver spiders, you’ll discover how their diverse habitats contribute to their unique appearances, web structures, and ecological roles. As you continue reading, you’ll learn more about these fascinating creatures and where they live.

Identification of Orb Weaver Spiders

Orb weaver spiders are a diverse group of arachnids known for their impressive, orb-shaped webs. To identify these spiders, you should pay attention to a few key features.

First, observe the body length. Orb weaver spiders vary in size, with some species having body lengths ranging from small to large. The marbled orbweaver female is a good example, measuring around 9 to 20 millimeters.

Next, notice the spider’s body parts. Orb weavers have a large, bulbous abdomen that can overlap a bit with the cephalothorax. Color and shape can differ in this group, but the abdomen usually gets the most attention due to its diverse patterns and markings.

For instance, the Hentz’s orbweaver can be found with an abdomen featuring different colors and patterns, while the marbled orbweaver has a large abdomen that is mostly orange with brown to purple markings and spots of pale yellow.

To help you with identification, here’s a comparison table of three common orb weaver spiders:

Spider Body Length Abdomen Cephalothorax
Marbled Orbweaver 9 – 20 mm (females) Orange, brown, and pale yellow Yellow to burnt-orange
Hentz’s Orbweaver Varies Different colors and patterns Varies
Black and Yellow Argiope Up to 3 inches (leg tip to leg tip) Black and yellow Yellow and black

Now that you are familiar with some key features of orb weaver spiders, use this information to more confidently identify these fascinating arachnids.

Habitat and Distribution

Orb-weaver spiders are commonly found in a variety of habitats, including gardens, fields, and forests1. They have a wide distribution, ranging from Australia to Canada, Mexico, and Central America2.

In Australia, you may encounter orb-weaver spiders in various environments, such as suburban gardens and bushlands. Similarly, Canada has several native orb-weaver species, some even reaching as far north as Alaska3.

In regions like Mexico and Central America, orb-weavers of different shapes and sizes can be found. Certain species may live near water, catching small fish, aquatic insects, and tadpoles4.

Although they do not have a native population in Hawaii, other types of spiders from the same genus have been introduced, adapting to the habitat found on the islands.

Here is a brief comparison table of their habitats:

Region Habitat Examples
Australia Suburban gardens, bushlands
Canada/Alaska Forests, mountain areas
Mexico Near water sources, in woods
Central America Tropical forests, close to water bodies
Hawaii Introduced species, island habitats

Remember to be cautious while exploring these habitats, as these spiders tend to build sizable webs that may accidentally come in contact with.

Diet and Feeding Habits

Prey and Capture Techniques

Orb weaver spiders use their webs to capture prey. They spin large orb-shaped webs made of silk, which can be found in gardens, fields, and forests. When a prey, such as a fly, becomes trapped in the web, the spider quickly moves to immobilize it.

To ensure secure capture, orb weavers use different techniques like wrapping their prey in silk or injecting venom to paralyze it. This allows them to feed on their prey at their leisure.

Diet

The diet of orb weaver spiders mainly consists of small insects like flies, mosquitoes, and other flying insects. They’re efficient hunters that rely on their webs to provide the majority of their meals. Occasionally, they might consume other smaller spiders if they cross paths.

In summary, orb weaver spiders play a crucial role in controlling insect populations. Using their impressive web-building skills, they capture and consume various small insects as their main source of sustenance.

Predators and Defense Mechanisms

As an orb weaver spider, you have several predators to watch out for, including various species of birds and wasps. In particular, the Sphecidae- wasps commonly known as digger wasps or mud daubers – are known to prey on spiders like yourself.

To protect yourself, you exhibit a range of clever behavior and utilize unique defense mechanisms:

  • Your intricate web not only helps you catch prey, but its zigzag shape can deter predators from approaching.
  • If disturbed, you may perform rapid vibrating movements, which can confuse and startle potential attackers.
  • While your bite is usually ineffective against predators like birds, you do possess venom that is potent enough to subdue smaller prey.

Here’s a comparison table to briefly outline the differences between two of your predators:

Predators Birds Sphecidae (wasps)
Hunting Often opportunistic Specifically targets spiders
Size Generally larger, more agile Smaller, but fast and agile
Defenses Feathers, beaks, claws Stingers, agility

Remember that staying camouflaged in your environment and being vigilant of potential threats is key to your survival as an orb weaver spider. Keep refining your web’s design and adapting your behavior to deter these predators and maintain a safe, thriving habitat.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Mating Process

In orb weavers, the mating process begins when the smaller male spider approaches the larger female. To avoid being mistaken for prey, males perform a series of vibrations and plucks on the female’s web to signal their intentions. Once accepted, they proceed to mate with the female orb weaver.

Life Cycle

The life cycle of orb weavers starts with the laying of eggs. After mating, females produce one or several egg sacs, each containing hundreds of eggs. The egg sacs are woven into the web and are typically made from silk and other materials. Some examples of materials used include leaves, twigs, and debris. Over time, the eggs inside the sacs develop into spiderlings.

Orb weavers have a relatively brief life cycle:

  • Spiderlings emerge from the egg sacs, fully developed and ready to disperse.
  • They use a silk thread to balloon and be carried by the wind to new locations.
  • As they grow, they go through several molts, shedding their exoskeleton and increasing in size.

During their lives, orb weavers construct and maintain their intricate webs to catch prey, contributing to pest control in gardens, fields, and forests. Although they might appear intimidating, these spiders are generally harmless to humans and play an essential role in their ecosystems.

Distinct Species of Orb Weaver Spiders

Argiope

Argiope spiders, also known as writing spiders, are a group of orb weavers with striking patterns on their large abdomens. Some common species include:

  • Argiope aurantia (black and yellow garden spider)
  • Argiope bruennichi (wasp spider)

These spiders often construct large, orb-shaped webs in gardens or near exterior lighting to catch flying insects.

Golden Orb Weaver

The Golden Orb Weaver (Nephila species) is known for its large size and golden-colored silk. The female is significantly larger than the male. These spiders can be found in warm regions around the world.

Some key features include:

  • A leg span of up to 5 inches for females
  • Males being much smaller, about 1/4 the size of females
  • Webs that can reach up to 3 feet in diameter

Banana Spider

Banana spiders (Nephila clavipes) are a type of golden orb weaver found in the southeastern United States, Central, and South America. They get their name due to their golden silk and the fact that they’re often found near banana cultivation. Some characteristics of the banana spider:

  • Females measuring about 1.5 to 2 inches in body length
  • Males being smaller, only about 1/4 the size of females
  • Webs with distinctive zigzag pattern called the “stabilimentum”

Yellow Garden Spider

The Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia) is one of the most recognizable orb weaver spiders in North America, thanks to its striking yellow and black color pattern.

Some features of the yellow garden spider include:

  • Females measuring between 0.75 to 1.1 inches in body length
  • Males being much smaller and less colorful
  • Webs that typically have a zigzag pattern called the “stabilimentum”
Feature Argiope Golden Orb Weaver Banana Spider Yellow Garden Spider
Web type Orb-shaped with stabilimentum Large, golden silk Golden silk with stabilimentum Orb-shaped with stabilimentum
Female size Varies by species Up to 5 inches leg span 1.5 to 2 inches body length 0.75 to 1.1 inches body length
Male size Much smaller than females Much smaller than females Much smaller than females Much smaller than females
Location Gardens, exterior lighting Warm regions worldwide Near banana cultivation Gardens, meadows

Remember, when encountering orb weaver spiders, they are mostly harmless to humans and serve essential roles in controlling insect populations. If you see one of these fascinating spiders, enjoy observing their behavior from a safe distance.

Web Construction and Spider Silk

Orb Webs

Orb-weaver spiders are known for their intricate, circular webs. These webs are masterful engineering feats, designed to capture prey efficiently. The key component in web construction is the sticky spiral capture silk source. This silk allows orb weavers to build stable, resilient structures that can withstand various weather conditions and the struggles of captured prey.

While building their webs, orb weavers utilize several types of silk for different tasks. For example, they use non-sticky silk for the radial threads that provide the web’s framework, and sticky capture silk for the spiraling strands that trap insects.

Stabilimentum

Some orb-weaver spiders, such as the golden silk orb-weaver, create a unique structure within their webs called a stabilimentum. This zigzag-like pattern is often made of thicker silk and serves multiple functions. Researchers believe that it may help stabilize the web, camouflage the spider, or warn birds to avoid flying into the web source.

Types of Silk

Orb-weaver spiders produce different types of silk to construct their intricate webs. Here are some characteristics of the various silks they use:

  • Sticky capture spiral silk: This silk is used to create the spiral that captures prey. It is elastic and sticky, making it difficult for insects to escape.
  • Non-sticky silk: Used for the radial threads that provide the web’s framework, this silk is strong and not sticky, allowing the spider to move freely across the web without getting stuck.

In conclusion, orb-weaver spiders are incredibly skilled engineers, using various types of silk to construct their complex, circular webs. These webs serve as effective traps for capturing prey, while also providing a habitat where orb-weaver spiders can thrive.

Orb Weaver Spiders and Humans

Benefits of Orb Weaver Spiders

Did you know orb weaver spiders are beneficial to humans? These fascinating creatures help maintain a balanced ecosystem by eating pests like mosquitoes and flies. They also serve as a food source for birds and other predators, contributing to a healthy food chain. Some advantages of having orb weaver spiders in your environment include:

  • Natural pest control
  • Supporting the ecosystem

Caring as Pets

If you are considering an orb weaver spider as a pet, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Housing and Environment:

  • An adequately-sized enclosure that mimics their natural habitat
  • Provide branches and other elements to help them build their webs

Feeding:

  • A diet mainly consisting of small insects, like flies and crickets

Care and Maintenance:

  • Regularly clean the enclosure to maintain hygiene
  • Monitor humidity and temperature for optimal living conditions

Remember, caring for an orb weaver spider requires time and dedication. However, their unique beauty and ecological benefits make them an intriguing and rewarding pet for the right person.

Interesting Facts about Orb Weaver Spiders

Orb weaver spiders are fascinating creatures with unique features and behaviors. They belong to the Araneidae family and can be found across different continents. Let’s explore some interesting facts about these amazing spiders.

Three-Clawed Builders and Flat Webs

Orb weaver spiders have three claws on each leg, which help them construct their intricate, flat webs. These webs are often adorned with sticky globules which act as effective traps for their prey. The stunning architecture of their webs is a visual treat for nature enthusiasts.

Pheromone Analog and Bolas Spiders

A fascinating subset of orb weaver spiders is the bolas spider. These crafty predators use a different hunting strategy – they produce a pheromone analog which mimics the scent of a female moth. This chemical lure attracts male moths, which they then catch using a sticky ball of silk, called a “bolas.”

Metepiera and Ballooning Behavior

Some orb-weaver spiders, like the genus Metepiera, exhibit a behavior known as ballooning. They release strands of silk that catch wind currents, allowing them to travel long distances. This unique mode of transportation helps them to find new habitats and avoid predators.

Gasteracantha and Cretaceous Period

One of the oldest orb-weaver spiders is the gasteracantha, which dates back to the Cretaceous period. This discovery enriches our knowledge about the diversity and evolution of these spiders during ancient times.

Communal Webs and Lower Cretaceous

Interestingly, some orb-weaver spiders from the Lower Cretaceous were known to make communal webs. This kind of behavior demonstrates the intricate social structure of these early arachnids, which is still a subject of research among scientists.

Here’s a brief comparison of some orb-weaver spider features:

Feature Orb-Weaver Spiders Bolas Spiders
Web Flat, circular No traditional web
Hunting Strategy Sticky globules Pheromone analog & bolas
Ancients Gasteracantha Not available
Unique Behavior Ballooning Mimicking scent
Social Structure Communal Webs Solitary

By exploring the world of orb-weaver spiders, you can appreciate the incredible diversity and adaptability of these amazing arachnids.

Footnotes

  1. https://extension.illinois.edu/blogs/naturalist-news/2021-09-16-fall-spider-season-orb-weavers-spin-bigger-webs

  2. https://dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/habitat/waspiders.aspx

  3. https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/event/spiders-alive-exhibit/

  4. https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/marbled-orbweaver

Reader Emails

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 – Orbweaver from Cape Verde

 

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Subject: Spider in Cape Verde
Location: Boa Vista, Cape Verde
October 13, 2014 6:22 am
Hi i saw this spider earlier on a palm tree in Boa Vista, Cape Verde. It has been still in its web all morning. Can you please tell me what it is and if it is dangerous.
Signature: Hollie

Dear Hollie,
This is a harmless Orbweaver in the genus Argiope, and though they might bite, the bite is not considered to be dangerous.  As you observed, Orbweavers rarely leave their webs.  Your individual might be
Argiope sector which according to SpiderzRule, “is quite common in Northern Africa.”

Letter 2 – Orbweaver from Tanzania is Nephila senegalensis annulata

 

Subject: Identification Request
Location: East Africa
January 19, 2017 7:28 pm
Hi there,
Here are a few interesting ‘bugs’ I photographed while living in Tanzania between 2008 and 2011. Hoping you can help me (finally) identify exactly what they are 🙂
Many thanks
IMG 1515b in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Banded-Legged Golden Orb Web Spider

Dear Tom,
Based on an image posted to Africa Wild, we are confident that this is a Banded-Legged Golden Orb Web Spider,
Nephila senegalensis annulata.  There are also images posted to iSpot.  In the past week, we have made six identifications for you and it is quite curious that we have yet to hear back with your appreciation of our research.

Hello Daniel,
Apologies for not replying earlier, I have been away travelling with no access to internet and so this was a wonderful surprise to find on my return!
Thank-you very much for identifying these insects. There were many others of interest during my time in East Africa, and I only wish I had my camera with me more often. However, it has served to develop my interest and so I am more observant these days with what I find around me wherever I am in the world. And knowing the correct species ameks a world of difference to conducting further research and learning more about these fascinating creatures.
I have been enjoying browsing your website and think you offer a fantastic service, so I hope you enjoy the identification process too as you help people like me.
Did you manage to identify the last individual (attached)? It too was quite spectacular! (seen in Arusha, Tanzania late 2008)
Kind regards,
Tom

Letter 3 – Orbweaver from the Philippines: Argiope appensa

 

Subject: Spider
Location: Camarines Sur, Philippines
August 19, 2017 6:14 am
Can you please identify this spider I found in our school? I need his to be identified today for our project. Thanks.
Signature: Gwnypasadilla

Orbweaver: Argiope appensa

Dear Gwnypasadilla,
This is an Orbweaver in the genus
Argiope.  Our research led us to this Wikimedia Commons image of Argiope appensa, and we verified that on Project Noah where the St Andrew’s Cross Spider this information is provided:  “Locally know here in the Philippines as ‘Gagambang Ekis’ or literally translated as X spider. The abdomen looks like a face mask.”

Letter 4 – Orbweaver Hatchlings

 

Subject: A gaggle of baby spiders
Location: Vaudreuil-Soulanges, Quebec
August 10, 2012 11:33 am
We found this bunch of baby spiders huddled together on the siding of the house near the edge of our front porch roof. Whenever we touched the bunch they scattered in every direction, and then would slowly make their way back into a huddle. We only found this out by mistake the first time, then did it again for the pics, after that we left the little guys alone 🙂 No mamma spider was in sight, so we have no idea what kind of babies they are. Any ideas?
Signature: Cindy

Orbweaver Spiderlings

Hi again Cindy,
These are spiderlings of an Orbweaver in the genus
Araneus, and since you recently submitted a photo of an adult Orbweaver that we identified as the Marbled Orbweaver, Araneus marmoreus, there is a strong possibility that these spiderlings may be the same species.  Alas, Bugguide does not have any photos that are verified as being the spiderlings of the Marbled Orbweaver.  There are many photos posted on BugGuide that are identified as spiderlings of the Cross Spider, Araneus diadematus, and they look very similar to the spiderlings in your photo, including this image posted to BugGuide.  It is also possible that other species in the genus, including the Marbled Orbweaver,  look very similar as spiderlings.  The best we are able to do on this is a genus identification, meaning they are Orbweaver spiderlings from the genus Araneus.  It is highly likely that they dispersed by ballooning soon after these photos were taken.

Orbweaver Spiderlings

 

Letter 5 – Orbweaver from California, possibly Marbled Orbweaver

 

Subject: Fat Spider???
Location: San Leandro, California
October 24, 2012 10:47 am
I have lived here all my live and seen lot’s of basic looking spiders…But never one like this. Any idea what it is?
Signature: Sherri

Orbweaver

Hi Sherri,
This is a harmless Orbweaver Spider, a family whose members spend most of their lives in a classic orb shaped spider web.  Orbweavers seldom leave their webs unless they are forced out due to outside forces.  We believe this is a species in the genus
Araneus, but it does not look like one of the typical species we find in California including the introduced Cross Spider.  You can try browsing BugGuide to find a good visual match if you must know the species.  BugGuide reports the highly variable Marbled Orbweaver from California, and that would be a very good candidate for the species. 

Orbweaver

Thanks so much for your response. He is different looking from what we normally see for sure.

This is a She.

Oh my..then we shall call her Petunia.. Thanks..

 

Letter 6 – Orbweaver

 

Subject: Big Spiders surrounding house
Location: Central North Carolina
August 23, 2013 5:49 pm
We found numerous of these spiders around our house. We live in central North Carolina. My daughter is going to have a party outside and we want to know if they are poisonous and if they will be a risk to her and her friends. Please let me know as soon as possible!
Signature: Eric Anthony

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Dear Eric,
This is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae, probably in the genus
Araneus.  They are not considered dangerous, nor are they aggressive, but like many spiders, they are capable of biting if threatened or carelessly handled.  According to BugGuide:  “Being bitten by an orb weaver is very uncommon, and typically the individual was “asking” to be bitten. Orb weavers will only bite if they feel threatened and trapped without a chance for escape (e.g. – like trying to pick them up). A bite is often compared to a bee sting, and for most people, is nothing serious. However, it is recommended to observe them in their environments (e.g. – on their web) and not to pick them up.”  Tell the guests about the spiders and tell them to respect the spiders, but that they have no need to fear the spiders.

Letter 7 – Orbweaver from Bali

 

Subject: Bali, Indo what’s that spider?
Location: Ubud Bali, Indonesia
December 17, 2013 5:55 pm
My wife and I are on honeymoon in Alam Ubud on Bali, this guy was close to our room. What is it?
Signature: Bali explorers

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Dear Bali Explorers,
This is a harmless female Orbweaver and we believe she is in the genus
Argiope.

Letter 8 – Orbweaver from Australia

 

A spider with a pearlescent back decorated with an indented line and 2 spots on each side, and a brown underside decorated with yellow markings.
Mon, Nov 10, 2008 at 4:12 PM
Hiya, I found this spider on our now flowering Floribunda Iceberg. What a beautiful spider with a pearlescent back decorated with very subtle markings (that look like engraving of a line in the middle and 2 spots on each side), and a brown underside decorated with yellow markings. It was sitting in the centre of a round web. My husband doesn’t like spiders, so my first thought was to pick it up and toss it out of the garden… which is why I have photographed it on this dried branch. But I know that spiders can be a good friend to have in the garden too, and so I am in a dilema. What should I do? I attach 3 photos offering the top, underside and side views. I hope these help. As I do not know how they should be measured, the side view photo is against a ruler. I am zero on spiders as you can see… hahaha… thanks very much!
Intrigued
Leederville, Perth, Western Australia

Argiope protensa
Argiope extensa

Dear Intrigued,
When we first read your letter, we read the word Floribunda and somehow thought you were in Florida. We were going to say that this was probably a light Banded Garden Spider, Argiope trifasciata, which is well represented on BugGuide. Sometimes we see very light specimens of this species. Once we realized we had erred and that you were in Australia, we tried to identify your Argiope. Seems the Argiope trifasciata we found on a Brisbane Insect website is a different species entirely and we suspect it is misidentified. We then found the Thumbnails of Australian Spiders website and there are several Argiopes pictured. We believe this may be Argiope extensa.  There are some good images of this species on the Find a Spider Guide of Australia.

Argiope protensa
Argiope extensa

Letter 9 – Orbweaver from Australia

 

Dangerous looking spider
Location: Melbourne CBD, Victoria, Australia
February 15, 2011 9:45 pm
When gardening in my inner suburbs Melbourne home, i found this spider. The purple and red colours screamed DANGER to me, and needless to say put me off my gardening endeavours. I was curious about what kind of spider this actually is and whether the DANGER instinct is correct. (Living in Australia means things that look dangerous usually are)
This spider was found in the middle of summer, amongst some very thick tree & vine growth. Had made itself quite a large web, and was about 8cm in length.
Sorry about the poor photo quality, it was as close as i was willing to get!
Signature: H.Spannah

Orbweaver

Dear H,
This is a harmless Orbweaver Spider.  They can get quite large, and they might bite if provoked, but the bite is not considered to be significantly dangerous.  Your spider might be in the genus
Nephila, a group known as the Golden Silk SpidersSee the Brisbane Spiders Website.

Letter 10 – Orbweaver from Australia

 

Subject: unknown spider
Location: perth australia WA
October 7, 2012 3:22 pm
hi there i was in perth australia and on my aunty and uncles balconay there was this beut just hanging around i just wondered if you could identify it please as ive look afar and managed to find no info on what it is thankyou
Signature: jay

Orbweaver

Greetings Jay,
This is a harmless Orbweaver Spider in the family Araneidae, and we could not locate a visual match on the Brisbane Insect website, though many spiders in this family are highly variable in markings and coloration.  Our best guess on the species is
Eriophora transmarina, an apparently highly variable species that can be viewed on the Orb or Wheel Weaving Spiders page, Oz Animals and other places on the internet.

Letter 11 – Orbweaver from Brazil

 

Subject:  Orange big spider
Geographic location of the bug:  Rio Bonito, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Date: 01/06/2018
Time: 06:50 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear WTB,
I found the attached orange spider in the rainforests of Rio Bonito, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. More precisely, in (-22.660427,-42.592756):
https://www.google.com/maps/place/2239’36.5S+4235’33.7W/@-22.660427,-42.592756,18z/data=!3m1!1e3
It was big, with the body length of about 4cm. I’m attaching 3 pictures.
Thanks!
How you want your letter signed:  Luis A. Florit

Orbweaver: Eriophora fuliginea

Dear Luis,
This is one beautiful Orbweaver in the family Araneidae, a group of harmless Spiders that build orb webs in which to snare prey. Interestingly, we were able to identify your individual as
Eriophora fuliginea thanks to the ventral view of this image on FlickR.  There is a matching dorsal view on Gallery Kunzweb and another ventral view on The Natural World.  This really is quite a beautiful spider.

Orbweaver: Eriophora fuliginea

Dear Daniel,
Indeed, it was quite beautiful, I spent a long time shooting it because the light was bad. By the orange color I thought it wasn’t harmless, so I didn’t approach.
Thanks a lot for the identification! Your site and the whole idea is amazing.
Cheers!
L.

Orbweaver: Eriophora fuliginea

Letter 12 – Orbweaver from Brazil: Bertrana species

 

Subject:  Balloon spider?
Geographic location of the bug:  Sao Paulo, Brazil (-22.79381, -44.37906)
Date: 02/20/2018
Time: 10:14 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
I found this beautiful spider in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on 2012, 02/19. I would appreciate an identification.
Thanks!
How you want your letter signed:  Luis

Orbweaver

Dear Luis,
This is a pretty Orbweaver in the family Araneidae.  Our initial internet search did not turn up any visual matches, and we went through the Insetologia archives in an attempt to identify this species, but unsuccessfully.

Orbweaver

Update:  Thanks to a comment from Cesar Crash, we now know that this is an Orbweaver in the genus Bertrana, and we verified that on Project Noah.

Thanks Daniel!!!
WTB is the best!
Cheers!!
L.

Letter 13 – Orbweaver from Cambodia

 

Subject: Golden-backed spider
Location: Cambodia
March 24, 2015 3:38 am
Hi,
Any idea what this fella is? I took the picture in Cambodia in 2013.
Signature: Oliver

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Dear Oliver,
This is an Orbweaver in the genus Argiope, and it is only identified to the genus level on Wildlife inthe Kingdom of Thailand site.
  It may be the St. Andrew’s Cross Spider, Argiope keyserlingi, based on this FlickR posting.

Letter 14 – Orbweaver from Canada

 

Large,Fat Round Orange Spider – Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Location: Kingston, Ontario, Canada
December 17, 2010 12:19 am
This spider was holed up in the lid of my hose caddy for several days after I took the photos. It had been cool for days at this point (Nov 3, 2010), close to the freezing point and rather late to be putting this stuff away for the winter. When I checked about a week later, it was gone, probably lost to birds, as the lid had blown open in a storm. I guess it’s some sort of orb spider. I’m sending a second set of photos of another kind of spider elsewhere in the lid of the same hose caddy.
Signature: Lulu

Orbweaver

Dear Lulu,
This is an Orbweaver Spider, probably in the genus Araneus.  Your other photo is of an egg sac and we cannot see a spider.

Letter 15 – Orbweaver from Canada

 

Subject:  What kind of spider is this?!
Geographic location of the bug:  New Brunswick, Canada
Date: 10/02/2017
Time: 11:24 AM EDT
First time I’ve come across a spider like this! What’s the name?!
How you want your letter signed:  Thank you!

Orbweaver

This is a harmless Orbweaver, but we are uncertain of the species.

Letter 16 – Orbweaver from Costa Rica: Eriophora nephiloides

 

Subject: spider
Location: costa rica
March 25, 2013 3:36 am
a beautyfull spider with green body
Signature: fred from belgium

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Hi Fred,
This is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae, but alas, we cannot provide a species identification for you.  It looks similar to the North American species pictured on BugGuide
Verrucosa arenata, commonly called the Arrowhead Spider, but we cannot even say for certain if it is closely related.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide a species identification for you.

Update
We realized we had a very similar image in our archives that was identified as 
Eriophora nephiloides.

Whouawhh! many thanks!
beautyfull colors when it’s a good picture…. not like mine…
fred

We did correct the color to the best of our ability.  See the posting.

Update:  May 19, 2013
Subject: Spider
Location: Costa Rica
May 19, 2013 11:25 pm
A few months ago I sent you a (bad) picture of a spider, named by you:Eriophora nephiloides, and you photoshopped the picture very well, thanks for it! Now, I found by the guy who was with me, a better picture. That’s for your website, OK? thanks!
Signature: fred from belgium

Eriophora nephiloides
Eriophora nephiloides

Letter 17 – Orbweaver from Ecuador: Encyosaccus sexmaculatus

 

Unusual Orb Weaver from Ecuador
Location:  Ecuador
January 24, 2013
Hi Daniel. I haven’t posted anything in a while so I thought it might be time. When it comes to ‘bugs’ you may have gathered that I have a particular fondness for the unique and unusual. So I am sending photos of my two favorite finds from a recent trip to the Ecuadorian Amazon (the second to follow shortly). This one is a tiny, rare and undeniably cute Orb Weaver spider called Encyosaccus sexmaculatus (Araneidae: Araneidaeincertae). The genus has only one described species and is native to the upper Amazon basin in Ecuador, Peru and Brazil. The bright colors suggest a warning (aposematic coloration). I haven’t found anything to suggest that they are particularly poisonous, so perhaps they are toxic or distasteful, or they may be mimicking something else that is. Regards. Karl

Orbweaver: Encyosaccus sexmaculatus

Hi Karl,
Thanks for sending us this positively gorgeous Orbweaver for our archives.  We found a few photos online, including this image from Arachnoboards.

Letter 18 – Orbweaver from Florida

 

Subject: Very small central FL orb weaver
Location: Lakeland, FL
January 2, 2016 1:28 pm
Hi,
I have searched here, bug guide and the general web but can’t identify this orb weaver. I only noticed it due to the web being wet from earlier rain, the web is in our lawn and the maximum diameter is maybe 4 inches so the spider is very small. If you look closely it has horned protuberances on the beginning of the abdomen.
Thanks!
Signature: Wendy H.

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Dear Wendy,
We just returned from nearly two weeks away from the office and we are finally addressing some identification requests that arrived in our absence.  While we don’t have time to research the species at this time due to playing “catch up” with our lives, your images are quite beautiful and we will post them as unidentified until we have a chance to do some research.

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Letter 19 – Orbweaver from France

 

WTH is this?
Location:  Paris, France
October 2, 2010 12:18 pm
Oh please help me identify this Spider! I am living in the suburbs of Paris and I am forever seeing these in my window. Can you tell me what kind of Spider it is and if it is dangerous?
Signature:  American in Paris

Orbweaver: Wasp Spider

Dear American in Paris,
The Spiders of Northwest Europe website identifies this lovely Orbweaver as
Argiope bruennichi, and it is commonly called a Wasp Spider, though it is unclear where that common name is used.  We doubt it is the common name in France since the name is in English.

Letter 20 – Orbweaver from Greece

 

Subject: Kefalonia
Location: Kefalonia Greece
August 5, 2016 11:52 pm
We saw this on our balcony
Signature: Rf

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Dear Rf,
This is a harmless Orbweaver spider in the family Araneidae, but we are not certain of the species.

Letter 21 – Orbweaver from Hawaii

 

Subject: Spider in Kauai
Location: Kauai, Hawaii
December 25, 2012 9:03 am
I saw this spider hiking in Kauai. It was pretty big and had a really big spider web, any idea what it is?
Signature: Adam

Orbweaver from Hawaii

Hi Adam,
This is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae.  We posted a photo of this member of the genus
Argiope once before, but we never determined a species identification.  They are not considered dangerous, though large specimens might bite if carelessly handled.

Argiope species

Update:  December 5, 2014
A new submission of this Orbweaver has finally led us to the proper identification of
Argiope avara kauaiensis.

Letter 22 – Orbweaver from Iguazu Falls

 

Subject: Spider name
Location: Iguazu falls national park, Argentina/Brazil
January 31, 2013 8:53 am
I was on holidays in the beautiful Iguazu falls this summer. I saw a lot of these spiders and butterflies. However, after some research on the internet, I have been unable to find the exact scientific name. Could you please help me?
Signature: Filipe De Vadder

Orbweaver

Hi Filipe,
Your spider is an Orbweaver, most likely in the family Araneidae.  We haven’t the time right now to research the species name.

Update:  February 1, 2013
Cesar Crash from Insetologia Blog wrote in that this appears to be a species in the genus
 Alpaida.  Based on this photo on EcoRegistros, he might be correct.

Letter 23 – Orbweaver from India

 

Subject: scary orb web spider
Location: Bangalore, India
August 19, 2017 2:12 am
Dear bugman,
First up, congratulations for the work that you do. I found an orb weaver near my place. But it’s patterns don’t match up to any orb weavers on the internet. Please take a look at it
Signature: Gautam dikshit

Orbweaver

Dear Gautam,
This is an Orbweaver in the genus Argiope, a group sometimes called Writing Spiders because of the zigzag stabilimentum woven into the web.  It might be
Argiope anasuja, which is pictured on the Orb Web Spiders of India site where it states:  “Argiope anasuja is a species of Orb spider found in Asia ranging from Pakistan to the Maldives. Like other species of the same genus, it builds a web with a zig-zag stabilimentum. The mature female of A. anasuja always rests at the centre of the orb with her head facing downwards. The orb has an opening at the centre and when disturbed she goes through the hole and exits on the other side of the plane of the web.”  Another very similar looking species found in India and pictured on Alamy is Argiope pulchella.

Orbweaver

Letter 24 – Orbweaver from Kenya

 

Subject: what is this?
Location: central kenya
December 11, 2015 7:05 am
Hey found this in a coffee plantation. I live in Kenya never seen them before but found two today.is it harmful.its about a centimetre in diameter.
Signature: Robin Kagai

Spider
Spider

Dear Robin,
This is one unusual looking spider.  The only similar image we were able to locate is identified as
Paraplectana thorntoni from South Africa on Ravenwhimsy’s Wonderful World, and then we crosschecked that on iSpot and found a different but similar looking individual identified as being in the same genus. 

Spider
Spider

Letter 25 – Orbweaver from Mexico

 

wich spider is this?
Location: Tampico, Tamaulipas, México
April 3, 2012 10:30 am
found it outside my house, I thought it was an Orb weaver cause of the beautifull, almost perfect web, but then I looked closely and it has somo rare features I don’t seem to recognize on any spider, like that green figure on the abdomen
Signature: 018712661513

Orbweaver

Dear 018712661513,
Your spider is some species of Orbweaver.  It resembles a species from Florida we posted in 2009 that we identified as
Araneus detrimentosus.  That may or may not be a correct identification for your spider.

Letter 26 – Orbweaver from Mexico

 

Subject: pink spider
Location: cabo san lucas mex.
November 14, 2015 10:39 am
i took a picture of this spider next to a pool in cabo san lucas,i want to know the name
Signature: carlos

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Dear Carlos,
This is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae, and while we cannot provide you with a species, we are able to inform you that according to BugGuide:  “Orb weavers are very docile, non-aggressive spiders that will flee at the first sign of a threat (typically they will run or drop off the web). They are not dangerous to people & pets, and are actually quite beneficial because they will catch and eat a lot of pest-type insects.”

Letter 27 – Orbweaver from Mexico might be Silver Argiope

 

Subject: Strange almost luminescent spider
Location: Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, Mexico
February 17, 2013 4:33 pm
Dear Bugman,
I found this spider in our hose here on the pacific coast of baja california sur. It was much brighter green in real life and seemed as though the marks on its back were almost luminescent when the lights were dimmed. Any idea what is is and if at all venomous?
Bests, look forward to your response.
Capt, Bob
Signature: Capt. Rob Lawford

Possibly Silver Argiope

Dear Capt. Rob,
This is one of the Orbweavers in the family  Araneidae.  Though they possess venom, they are not considered to be dangerous, and large individuals might bite if carelessly handled.  There would be temporary discomfort and possible swelling around the site of the bite, but again, Orbweavers are not considered dangerous.  Except for the odd blue coloration, which we suspect might be a result of a combination of factors including taking the photograph in the shade (which has a bluer color temperature) or artificial lighting and possibly incorrect settings on the camera and/or failure to white balance the image, this spider resembles a Silver Argiope,
Argiope argentata.  Here is an image from BugGuide and one from Eric Eaton’s blog Bug Eric.  The silvery-white coloration of the body might also have reflected back the intense green coloration of the wall resulting in your perception that the spider was green.

Letter 28 – Orbweaver from Namibia

 

Spider from namibia
Location: Windhoek Namibia
April 20, 2011 7:22 am
This spider has been building its web and weve been watching it and we would like to know more what spider it is and if it is poisenous ??? ETC…..
Signature: The spider watchers

Orbweaver

Dear Spider Watchers,
This is some species of Orbweaver.  Orbweavers like all spiders are venomous, however they are not considered to be a threat.  The effects of the bite of an Orbweaver are mild and generally last less than a few hours.

Letter 29 – Orbweaver from Portugal is Lobed Argiope

 

Subject:  Argiope bruennichi?
Geographic location of the bug:  São Brás, Algarve, Portugal
Date: 09/01/2018
Time: 07:46 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello,
We spotted this spider on the wall outside the door of a villa we were staying in, in the Algarve in Portugal – a very remote location surrounded by nothing but olive groves and hills, accessible only by a dirt road. It appeared quite suddenly in the morning, as we were leaving, and we hadn’t noticed it before anywhere inside or outside during our week-long stay. We’ve never seen a spider like this in Portugal before (usually just lots of lizards and the odd snake!), especially not with  an almost crab-like body and a nest/egg sac? A little Googling suggests it might be a wasp spider, but do you know for sure?
Thank you for your time and for any help you can give!
All the best,
Amelia

Orbweaver

Dear Amelia,
In our opinion, you have the genus correct but not the species for your Orbweaver.  We believe, based on this Age Fotostock image that your spider is
Argiope lobata.  Images on iNaturalist and ArachnoPhoto support that ID.

Letter 30 – Orbweaver from Rwanda

 

We live in Rwanda and saw this on a walk in Kibuye. Is it a golden orb weaver? It was BIG!
Location: Kibuye, along Lake Kivu, Rwanda
October 26, 2010 4:57 am
Hello,
We saw this yellow and black orb weaver on a walk near Lake Kivu in Rwanda. It’s abdomen was about the size of a small chicken egg. The silk on the web was golden coloured. The whole spider and legs would have nicely spanned an opened hand. It was beautiful. Our kids were fascinated (as were we!) I wish we could have gotten better scale for you. The web was between two hedges, about 5 feet off the ground. The spider was eating something at the time, so we enjoyed observing for a while. Sorry about the dark and blurry photos. We’ve tried searching online, but haven’t quite found much like it! We’d appreciate your help!
Signature: The Jelsma family in Rwanda

Orbweaver

Dear Jelsma family,
Based on the color of the silk and the size of the spider, we suspect this Orbweaver is one of the Golden Silk Spiders in the genus
Nephila, but its coloration and markings are unfamiliar to us.  We will attempt a proper identification, but we will post the image and letter first in the event our readership is able to provide any clues.

Thanks so much for your quick reply! What a beautiful spider!
I took some video of it, with my hand as near as I felt gutsy enough to put it! (With the kids in the background saying: “No, mom, No mom…NOOooo…” Just to show some scale. It is one of the largest spiders we’ve seen here, as well as one of the most beautiful!
Thanks Daniel!
Jocelyn Jelsma

Letter 31 – Orbweaver from Senegal: Argiope lobata

 

Subject: what kind of spider is this?
Location: Dakar, Senegal
December 8, 2012 5:02 am
Hello,
I just found this spider in my cucumber patch and I’m wondering if you can tell me about it. Its black with light yellow stripes, and it’s quite large. It’s abdomen is a little smaller than a half dollar coin and it’s legs are about two inches long. The thing that i find most interesting about it is the shape of it’s abdomen — I’ve never seen a spider quite like it before!
I live in Dakar, Senegal in West Africa. It’s the dry season here this time of year which means clear colder weather (though it rarely gets below the high 70’s) and lots of wind. According to my Senegalese neighbor this is the time of year that these particular spiders show up.
Many thanks for your help in identifying my new tenant!
Signature: Amy

Orbweaver

Dear Amy,
This is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae.  We are not certain of the species and we will try to secure that information.

Thank you Daniel for your fast response! I’ve been perusing your fantastic site so I also guessed it was an orb weaver based on other entries. But what species?? i’ve done my usual google searches an nothing similar comes up.
Thanks again!

Hi again Amy,
We had no luck finding any matching images either.  Seems there is not an extensive Senegalese spider archive online.

Yeah, too bad. Thanks so much for your effort though!
The spider has moved to my tomatillo bed and seems quite happy. i’m hoping she has an appetite for grasshoppers — the scourge of my garden!
Cheers,
Amy

Update from Amy:  December 11, 2012
Hi again Daniel,
It occurred to me to search for the spider in french on google.fr (I searched for: les araignées du senegal), and I think I may have found something. There are many pictures of my spider, most of which are much better than mine but unfortunately have descriptions like “une jolie araignée du senegal”, without any scientific name. There was one however that said Argiope lobata – espèce d’araignées aranéomorphes de la famille des Araneidae. Could this be it? A quick google search for Argiope lobata in english turned up many images of spiders with the same markings and abdomen shape but slightly different coloring.
Thanks again for all your help!
Amy

Hi Amy,
We agree that your Orbweaver is most likely
Argiope lobata.  There is often a degree of variability in coloring of Orbweavers within a species.  The photo on TrekNature is especially nice though the text is in Spanish and no country is listed.

Letter 32 – Orbweaver from Thailand

 

Subject: Spider from Southern Thailand
Location: Southern Thailand, Khao lak
February 21, 2013 10:35 am
We came across this fine looking spider. We then tried to find it online, but without any luck. Can you help us identify this bug? Thx
Signature: Tina & Chris

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Hi Tina & Chris,
This spider is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae, but we cannot tell the species at this time.

Letter 33 – Orbweaver from Thailand

 

Subject: Wild beauty !
Location: Koh Yao Noi
March 23, 2013 3:06 am
Hi there !
Pictured this beautiful spider this week, and her amazing dome-like web, can you help me identify the species ? We are on Koh Yao Noi, small island near Phuket, Southern Thailand.
Let me know if quality is insufficient.
Thanks a lot in advance
Signature: Olivier

Orbweaver and Prey
Orbweaver and Prey

Hi Olivier,
This is some species of Orbweaver.  We will attempt to do additional research to see if we can provide a species identification for you.  The web is rather distinctive.

Orbweaver Web
Orbweaver Web

Letter 34 – Orbweaver from Uruguay

 

Subject: Spider
Location: uruguay
December 9, 2016 10:21 am
Hi I was hoping you could identify this spider. There are a lot of them that live out in the field. As you can see in the 2nd photo they often have thick webs in a zig-zag extending from where they put their legs. Thanks.
Signature: Louis

Silver Argiope
Silver Argiope

Dear Louis,
This is an Orbweaver, and it really resembles a North American species
Argiope argentata, the Silver Argiope, which BugGuide states is found in:  “CA, TX, FL (mostly in southernmost parts of those states). There’s also one data point from AZ.”  The zigzag web you mention is known as the stabilimentum, and many scientists believe it helps to camouflage the spiders in the web, and the presence of the stabilimentum gives spiders in the genus Argiope the common name Writing Spiders.  According to Colnect, the Silver Argiope was pictured on a stamp from Uruguay in 2009, which is good evidence the range extends well into South America.  According to EcoRegistros, the species is known as the Araña Tigre or Tiger Spider for our English only speakers.  We will be postdating this submission to go live at the end of the month while our staff is away from the office for the holidays.

Writing Spider:  Argiope argentata
Writing Spider: Argiope argentata

Letter 35 – Orbweaver Hatchlings preparing to “Balloon” Away

 

Subject: Spiderlings…hatching? Or a communal web???
Location: Montrose, CO
June 16, 2016 10:58 pm
Dear Bugman,
I’m a longtime fan of the site, though I haven’t had much cause to send any id requests in between your wonderful archives and my trusty field guide. But this one was both interesting and perplexing: while visiting family in western Colorado, I walked out the front door and spotted what looked like a lot of large grains of sand caught on a small three-dimensional web spreading from the front step to the post of the railing (perhaps 10 cm long and the same height). When I looked closer, I saw that the “grains” were hundreds of little yellow balls about 1-2 mm in diameter, stuck all over the cobweb structure, with here and there a few very tiny yellow spiders moving around. In the 30 seconds it took to get my camera, ALL of the “grains” had turned to the same spiders–hundreds of them!
The only explanation I can think of is that the balls were eggs and the spiders were hatching from them en masse (though they had all hatched by the time I got the camera), but I’ve never heard of a spider laying eggs all over a web like that rather than making an egg sac. Any ideas?
Signature: Susan

Orbweaver Hatchlings
Orbweaver Hatchlings

Dear Susan,
We believe these are hatchling Orbweaver Spiderlings, and that they have just emerged from a traditional egg sac like you have described.  Even immediately upon hatching, Spiderlings are able to spin silk, so what you witnessed can be described as a communal web, though not a web in the traditional sense.  Orbweavers disperse using a technique known as Ballooning.  The spiderling releases a strand of silk that catches the wind and transports the individual to a new location far from its siblings that would compete for food as well as pose the potential threat of cannibalism.  We believe the Spiderlings in your image are just waiting to catch the breeze.

Orbweaver Hatchlings
Orbweaver Hatchlings

Letter 36 – Orbweaver may be Arabesque Spider

 

Subject: Brown and yellow spider
Location: United States, Northeast, Pennsylvania
August 31, 2014 12:55 pm
Hey bug friends,
Any idea what kind of spider this may be? I usually have a pretty good eye, but I couldn’t pinpoint the precise family. Both pictures were taken in a relatively urban part of south central Pennsylvania, late July.
Thanks!
Signature: Sam

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Dear Sam,
This is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae
, and we are uncertain if we will be able to provide you with a species identification in the limited research time we have remaining this morning.  You can try browsing through BugGuide to see if you can identify the genus and species if we are unable to provide that information.  We suspect that based on this image on BugGuide, it might be an Arabesque Spider, Neoscona arabesca, but we are not certain.  According to BugGuide, this is a wide ranging species and it has much variation in the color and markings.

Possibly Arabesque Spider
Possibly Arabesque Spider

Letter 37 – Orbweaver is Silver Argiope

 

Subject: Spider in Cabo Pulmo
Location: Cabo Pulmo
November 9, 2016 12:55 pm
Hello! I found this spider in one of the little hills in Cabo Pulmo. She was on her web and about 4 or 5 cm long. This was during late October. I would like to know the species and if it is venomous or not. Thank you!
Signature: OBZ

Silver Argiope
Silver Argiope

Dear OBZ,
This Silver Argiope is considered harmless to humans, though like most spiders it is venomous, but the venom does little more than cause local swelling in the unlikely event a person is bitten by this non-aggressive Orbweaver.

Letter 38 – Orbweaver from South Africa

 

Subject: striped stranger
Location: Caledon area on N2
April 7, 2014 9:57 pm
Hello Bugman
I’ve looked on the internet trying to identify this striped spider that I saw while in South Africa. We were travelling on the N2 and pulled over to look at the national bird in a farm field just about an hour outside of Cape Town. Walking through the grass we noticed this large spider, although not colourful. Would also like to know if it is poisonous.
Thank you
Signature: Angela

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Dear Angela,
This is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae, and members in the family are venomous, but they are reluctant to bite humans, and they are not considered dangerous, with the bite producing only local swelling and tenderness.  We did locate a matching image on Superstock, but it is not identified beyond the family level.  We then found a matching image on BioDiversity Explorer and it is identified as
Argiope australis.  It is odd that your individual was found on the ground.  Orbweavers are clumsy when not in their webs, and they are relatively stationary spiders, preferring to spin a web in the same location unless they are disturbed.  Perhaps someone who passed its web prior to your arrival knocked this individual to the ground.

Letter 39 – Orbweaver from South Africa

 

Subject: Beautiful South African spider
Location: Mpumalanga, South Africa
November 25, 2014 8:11 am
Hi there. This spider is sitting on a huge web outside the window of our chalet in sanbonani, hazyview South Africa.
Hoping you can identify since all my googling has proven useless.
Signature: Cait, bug enthusiast

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Hi Cait, bug enthusiast,
Though there are not prominent markings on its abdomen, we believe your Orbweaver in the genus
Argiope is most likely Argiope australis, the Garden Orbweaver, which is pictured on iSpot.  Because of the zigzag stabilimentum that is incorporated in the web, Argiope Spiders are sometimes called Writing Spiders.

Thanks! I had narrowed it down to the orb web species but couldn’t seem to find one with such a plain body.
Photos don’t do it justice. It is really beautiful! And the tiny male is also on the web, just staying out of her way!
Thanks for such a speedy reply!!
Kind regards
CaitB

Letter 40 – Orbweaver from Southern California

 

Subject: Pumpkin Spider?
Location: Southern California
December 16, 2013 9:47 am
Hello,
This photo was taken on 10/17/2013, in southern California at the base of Mount Baldy. Its body was about 3/4 of an inch long and 1/2 an inch high. The body had 4 dimples on the top and the legs were striped orange and white. I just found this site the other day and absolutely love it!!! I have so many pictures of insects that I have found and don’t know what they are so I will be on this site a lot in the near future. Anyhow I believe from looking over your site that this is an pumpkin spider/marbled orbweaver but I wanted to make sure. Thanks for your help
Signature: Newest/Biggest fan

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Dear Newest/Biggest Fan,
We are happy you are enjoying our site.  While this Orbweaver is orange and is a member of the same family as the Pumpkin Spider, it is a different species of Orbweaver.  It might be a Cat Faced Spider,
Araneus gemmoides, but we cannot say for certain.  See images on BugGuide for comparison.  We look forward to getting additional images from you.

Letter 41 – Orbweaver from UK may be Garden Spider

 

Subject: Weird Orange Spider UK
Location: Cambridge, UK
January 29, 2015 1:22 am
I found this in our outside covered pool. It is held pretty warm in their all year round. Took some pics and tried to locate what it was but no idea.
Signature: James Sore

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Hi James,
This is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae, but we are not certain of the species.  Orbweavers are often large colorful spiders that attract attention because they generally wait for prey in a classic orb web.  Large Orbweavers may bite if carelessly handled, but they are not dangerous to humans.  See some of the individuals on Ray Wilson Bird & Wildlife Photography.
  The Garden Spider, Araneus diadematus, on the Photography Obsession page looks like a good match.  The Garden Spiders pictured on Nature Watch exhibit considerable color variation.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you so very much. It has put my mind at rest. I had never seen one before and was worried that the artificial temperature of the covered pool was harbouring something a bit exotic !!
Thanks once again.
James

Letter 42 – Orb Weavers

 

Found spiders (as opposed to lost ones…)
I spotted these two spiders on a particularly warm night here in Central Florida. Good night for spiders…bad night for bugs. Are either poisonous? The golden orb weaver is the largest I’ve seen in a LONG time around here (2-3 inches) and is quite alarming when not expected.

The other I have not been able to identify, but is also quite large…about 2 inches and very bulky. Attached are photos of the argiope and a front and back of the brown.
Love the site!
Thanks!
Leslie Lormann

Hi Leslie,
Thanks for sending the awesome photos. Your female Argiope aurantia exhibits a color variation we don’t see often in Los Angeles. She is still young and will fill with eggs, or else she may be very old, haveing already procreated. The bite of the Argiope can be painful, but is not serious. Your brown spider is a member of the genue Araneus, I believe, though we usually see them with striped legs.

Letter 43 – Orb Weavers Mating

 

Spiderwars?
I am sending you these pictures that my husband recently took of the spiders outside our sliding glass door. Are they dangerous? There are tons in my garden. The webs are VERY sticky, tough, and the spiders themselves have sticky little feet…I had one crawling on me the other day, and nearly died of heart failure. These gems are about 1 to 1.5 inches and the smaller skinny one is more aggressive than the fat one. I can assume that they are a Mr. and Mrs., but which is which? In the garden, when you see one spider, you don’t really have to look far to see a separate web with the partner in close proximity. Local people call them “quarterbacks” as the bulbous body can easily reach the size of a quarter. If they do bite, do you know what a remedy is (if needed?) Thank you for the help.
Ruth

Hi Ruth,
There are so many similar looking Araneus species as well as so much variation within a species, that we have given up trying to get species names on Orb Weavers. Let’s just call them a pair of Araneus Orb Weaving Spiders. The female has the more bulbous abdomen. The bite is not dangerous and they would really have to be provoked to bite anyways. The weather this year created a population explosion of insects, and hence, their predators like spiders are also plentiful.

Letter 44 – Orb Weaver from Cyprus

 

Subject: Spider
Location: Cyprus
July 27, 2012 3:19 pm
I came across this spider and thought it looked like it was made from ”mother of pearl”
Signature: Jel

Orb Weaver: Argiope lobata

Hi Jel,
This stunning Orb Weaver Spider was relatively easy for us to identify.  We suspected the genus to be
Argiope, and that name paired with Cyprus brought us to the Invertebrates from Cyprus website where it is identified as Argiope lobata.  Orb Weavers are not considered dangerous.

Orb Weaver: Argiope lobata

 

Letter 45 – Orb Weaver from Dominican Republic

 

Orb Weaver from Dominican Republic
Sat, Apr 4, 2009 at 1:11 PM
Found this spider in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Looks like some type of Orb Weaver, but not sure. It was sitting right in the middle of the web.
To Matt
Dominican Republic

Orb Weaver
Orb Weaver

Dear To Matt,
You are correct.  This is an Argiope Orb Weaver, but we are not certain of the species.

Letter 46 – Orb Web of a Tree Spider

 

Subject:  Classic Orb Web
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
August 18, 2017 9:17 am
The early morning sunlight is beautifully captured on the silken strands of this Tree Spider web,
Araneus gemma, a common species in the Los Angeles area.  Both the size of the spiders and the size of their webs is increasing as summer wanes.  According to BugGuide:  “Builds web in open areas of trees, large shrubs and around houses.”  The Natural History of Orange County site lacks information, but does provide the common name Tree Spider.  According to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles:  ” locally we have one very common species; A. gemma, perhaps the heaviest north American orb weaver. It’s round, humped abdomen is usually pale colored, tan yellow or greenish, with a single thin median white stripe. It builds a large orb from trees and buildings in moister parts of the valleys and canyons, spending the day hiding in a loose nest made of leaves and silk, usually under an overhanging ledge or branch.”  We have been observing these spiders for years, and large individuals often spin webs at night near lights and between shrubs in paths in our garden.  The spiders are active nocturnally and hide during the day.

Orb Web

 

Letter 47 – Orbweaver from New Zealand: Cyclosa trilobata

 

Subject: Black Silver Red Spider
Location: New Zealand Bay of plenty Rotorua
March 13, 2014 11:20 pm
Hi bug man
this picture was taken by an early digital camera in about 2004-5 or so. so it not that great but I’ve done a few searches since that time and I still cannot find this spider any were. I describe it as the parts that almost look white were shining silver. the parts that look brown were a bright red and the stripes on its legs were transparent. from what I recall I found lots of them in summer in between long grass co existing with silver orb spiders . there webs are the same as domestic and orb spiders and they sit in the middle of it. they don’t seem to do well in the rain as this one in the picture was washed up on a concrete path and the one that I found earlier this year that reminded me of this picture disappeared after it rained yet the orb spiders around where it was are fine. I haven’t found any for years until the one I mentioned. it would be mightily satisfying if you could tell me what it is thanks.
Signature: Alan

Unknown Orbweaver
Orbweaver:  Cyclosa trilobata

Hi Alan,
We agree that this is most likely an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae, but like you, we have not had any luck finding a matching image online.  We will post your photo and elicit input from our readers, and we will also attempt further identification when time permits.

Karl supplies some links:  March 19, 2014
Hi Daniel and Alan:
It is an Orbweaver in the subfamily Araneinae. Unfortunately, the photo is not very clear, but I believe this is a species of Cyclosa. As far as I can tell Cyclosa trilobata (Three-lobed Cyclosa) is the only species that is native to New Zealand (eastern Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand). Cyclosa insulana looks similar but does not occur in New Zealand. The colors are highly variable, ranging from mottled patterns of reds and browns to grays and blacks. The males, and I think this is probably one, are often quite silvery. As the name suggests, the posterior end is distinctly tri-lobed.  I can’t be sure but I believe that’s probably it. Regards. Karl

Reader Emails

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 – Orbweaver from Cape Verde

 

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Subject: Spider in Cape Verde
Location: Boa Vista, Cape Verde
October 13, 2014 6:22 am
Hi i saw this spider earlier on a palm tree in Boa Vista, Cape Verde. It has been still in its web all morning. Can you please tell me what it is and if it is dangerous.
Signature: Hollie

Dear Hollie,
This is a harmless Orbweaver in the genus Argiope, and though they might bite, the bite is not considered to be dangerous.  As you observed, Orbweavers rarely leave their webs.  Your individual might be
Argiope sector which according to SpiderzRule, “is quite common in Northern Africa.”

Letter 2 – Orbweaver from Tanzania is Nephila senegalensis annulata

 

Subject: Identification Request
Location: East Africa
January 19, 2017 7:28 pm
Hi there,
Here are a few interesting ‘bugs’ I photographed while living in Tanzania between 2008 and 2011. Hoping you can help me (finally) identify exactly what they are 🙂
Many thanks
IMG 1515b in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Banded-Legged Golden Orb Web Spider

Dear Tom,
Based on an image posted to Africa Wild, we are confident that this is a Banded-Legged Golden Orb Web Spider,
Nephila senegalensis annulata.  There are also images posted to iSpot.  In the past week, we have made six identifications for you and it is quite curious that we have yet to hear back with your appreciation of our research.

Hello Daniel,
Apologies for not replying earlier, I have been away travelling with no access to internet and so this was a wonderful surprise to find on my return!
Thank-you very much for identifying these insects. There were many others of interest during my time in East Africa, and I only wish I had my camera with me more often. However, it has served to develop my interest and so I am more observant these days with what I find around me wherever I am in the world. And knowing the correct species ameks a world of difference to conducting further research and learning more about these fascinating creatures.
I have been enjoying browsing your website and think you offer a fantastic service, so I hope you enjoy the identification process too as you help people like me.
Did you manage to identify the last individual (attached)? It too was quite spectacular! (seen in Arusha, Tanzania late 2008)
Kind regards,
Tom

Letter 3 – Orbweaver from the Philippines: Argiope appensa

 

Subject: Spider
Location: Camarines Sur, Philippines
August 19, 2017 6:14 am
Can you please identify this spider I found in our school? I need his to be identified today for our project. Thanks.
Signature: Gwnypasadilla

Orbweaver: Argiope appensa

Dear Gwnypasadilla,
This is an Orbweaver in the genus
Argiope.  Our research led us to this Wikimedia Commons image of Argiope appensa, and we verified that on Project Noah where the St Andrew’s Cross Spider this information is provided:  “Locally know here in the Philippines as ‘Gagambang Ekis’ or literally translated as X spider. The abdomen looks like a face mask.”

Letter 4 – Orbweaver Hatchlings

 

Subject: A gaggle of baby spiders
Location: Vaudreuil-Soulanges, Quebec
August 10, 2012 11:33 am
We found this bunch of baby spiders huddled together on the siding of the house near the edge of our front porch roof. Whenever we touched the bunch they scattered in every direction, and then would slowly make their way back into a huddle. We only found this out by mistake the first time, then did it again for the pics, after that we left the little guys alone 🙂 No mamma spider was in sight, so we have no idea what kind of babies they are. Any ideas?
Signature: Cindy

Orbweaver Spiderlings

Hi again Cindy,
These are spiderlings of an Orbweaver in the genus
Araneus, and since you recently submitted a photo of an adult Orbweaver that we identified as the Marbled Orbweaver, Araneus marmoreus, there is a strong possibility that these spiderlings may be the same species.  Alas, Bugguide does not have any photos that are verified as being the spiderlings of the Marbled Orbweaver.  There are many photos posted on BugGuide that are identified as spiderlings of the Cross Spider, Araneus diadematus, and they look very similar to the spiderlings in your photo, including this image posted to BugGuide.  It is also possible that other species in the genus, including the Marbled Orbweaver,  look very similar as spiderlings.  The best we are able to do on this is a genus identification, meaning they are Orbweaver spiderlings from the genus Araneus.  It is highly likely that they dispersed by ballooning soon after these photos were taken.

Orbweaver Spiderlings

 

Letter 5 – Orbweaver from California, possibly Marbled Orbweaver

 

Subject: Fat Spider???
Location: San Leandro, California
October 24, 2012 10:47 am
I have lived here all my live and seen lot’s of basic looking spiders…But never one like this. Any idea what it is?
Signature: Sherri

Orbweaver

Hi Sherri,
This is a harmless Orbweaver Spider, a family whose members spend most of their lives in a classic orb shaped spider web.  Orbweavers seldom leave their webs unless they are forced out due to outside forces.  We believe this is a species in the genus
Araneus, but it does not look like one of the typical species we find in California including the introduced Cross Spider.  You can try browsing BugGuide to find a good visual match if you must know the species.  BugGuide reports the highly variable Marbled Orbweaver from California, and that would be a very good candidate for the species. 

Orbweaver

Thanks so much for your response. He is different looking from what we normally see for sure.

This is a She.

Oh my..then we shall call her Petunia.. Thanks..

 

Letter 6 – Orbweaver

 

Subject: Big Spiders surrounding house
Location: Central North Carolina
August 23, 2013 5:49 pm
We found numerous of these spiders around our house. We live in central North Carolina. My daughter is going to have a party outside and we want to know if they are poisonous and if they will be a risk to her and her friends. Please let me know as soon as possible!
Signature: Eric Anthony

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Dear Eric,
This is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae, probably in the genus
Araneus.  They are not considered dangerous, nor are they aggressive, but like many spiders, they are capable of biting if threatened or carelessly handled.  According to BugGuide:  “Being bitten by an orb weaver is very uncommon, and typically the individual was “asking” to be bitten. Orb weavers will only bite if they feel threatened and trapped without a chance for escape (e.g. – like trying to pick them up). A bite is often compared to a bee sting, and for most people, is nothing serious. However, it is recommended to observe them in their environments (e.g. – on their web) and not to pick them up.”  Tell the guests about the spiders and tell them to respect the spiders, but that they have no need to fear the spiders.

Letter 7 – Orbweaver from Bali

 

Subject: Bali, Indo what’s that spider?
Location: Ubud Bali, Indonesia
December 17, 2013 5:55 pm
My wife and I are on honeymoon in Alam Ubud on Bali, this guy was close to our room. What is it?
Signature: Bali explorers

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Dear Bali Explorers,
This is a harmless female Orbweaver and we believe she is in the genus
Argiope.

Letter 8 – Orbweaver from Australia

 

A spider with a pearlescent back decorated with an indented line and 2 spots on each side, and a brown underside decorated with yellow markings.
Mon, Nov 10, 2008 at 4:12 PM
Hiya, I found this spider on our now flowering Floribunda Iceberg. What a beautiful spider with a pearlescent back decorated with very subtle markings (that look like engraving of a line in the middle and 2 spots on each side), and a brown underside decorated with yellow markings. It was sitting in the centre of a round web. My husband doesn’t like spiders, so my first thought was to pick it up and toss it out of the garden… which is why I have photographed it on this dried branch. But I know that spiders can be a good friend to have in the garden too, and so I am in a dilema. What should I do? I attach 3 photos offering the top, underside and side views. I hope these help. As I do not know how they should be measured, the side view photo is against a ruler. I am zero on spiders as you can see… hahaha… thanks very much!
Intrigued
Leederville, Perth, Western Australia

Argiope protensa
Argiope extensa

Dear Intrigued,
When we first read your letter, we read the word Floribunda and somehow thought you were in Florida. We were going to say that this was probably a light Banded Garden Spider, Argiope trifasciata, which is well represented on BugGuide. Sometimes we see very light specimens of this species. Once we realized we had erred and that you were in Australia, we tried to identify your Argiope. Seems the Argiope trifasciata we found on a Brisbane Insect website is a different species entirely and we suspect it is misidentified. We then found the Thumbnails of Australian Spiders website and there are several Argiopes pictured. We believe this may be Argiope extensa.  There are some good images of this species on the Find a Spider Guide of Australia.

Argiope protensa
Argiope extensa

Letter 9 – Orbweaver from Australia

 

Dangerous looking spider
Location: Melbourne CBD, Victoria, Australia
February 15, 2011 9:45 pm
When gardening in my inner suburbs Melbourne home, i found this spider. The purple and red colours screamed DANGER to me, and needless to say put me off my gardening endeavours. I was curious about what kind of spider this actually is and whether the DANGER instinct is correct. (Living in Australia means things that look dangerous usually are)
This spider was found in the middle of summer, amongst some very thick tree & vine growth. Had made itself quite a large web, and was about 8cm in length.
Sorry about the poor photo quality, it was as close as i was willing to get!
Signature: H.Spannah

Orbweaver

Dear H,
This is a harmless Orbweaver Spider.  They can get quite large, and they might bite if provoked, but the bite is not considered to be significantly dangerous.  Your spider might be in the genus
Nephila, a group known as the Golden Silk SpidersSee the Brisbane Spiders Website.

Letter 10 – Orbweaver from Australia

 

Subject: unknown spider
Location: perth australia WA
October 7, 2012 3:22 pm
hi there i was in perth australia and on my aunty and uncles balconay there was this beut just hanging around i just wondered if you could identify it please as ive look afar and managed to find no info on what it is thankyou
Signature: jay

Orbweaver

Greetings Jay,
This is a harmless Orbweaver Spider in the family Araneidae, and we could not locate a visual match on the Brisbane Insect website, though many spiders in this family are highly variable in markings and coloration.  Our best guess on the species is
Eriophora transmarina, an apparently highly variable species that can be viewed on the Orb or Wheel Weaving Spiders page, Oz Animals and other places on the internet.

Letter 11 – Orbweaver from Brazil

 

Subject:  Orange big spider
Geographic location of the bug:  Rio Bonito, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Date: 01/06/2018
Time: 06:50 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear WTB,
I found the attached orange spider in the rainforests of Rio Bonito, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. More precisely, in (-22.660427,-42.592756):
https://www.google.com/maps/place/2239’36.5S+4235’33.7W/@-22.660427,-42.592756,18z/data=!3m1!1e3
It was big, with the body length of about 4cm. I’m attaching 3 pictures.
Thanks!
How you want your letter signed:  Luis A. Florit

Orbweaver: Eriophora fuliginea

Dear Luis,
This is one beautiful Orbweaver in the family Araneidae, a group of harmless Spiders that build orb webs in which to snare prey. Interestingly, we were able to identify your individual as
Eriophora fuliginea thanks to the ventral view of this image on FlickR.  There is a matching dorsal view on Gallery Kunzweb and another ventral view on The Natural World.  This really is quite a beautiful spider.

Orbweaver: Eriophora fuliginea

Dear Daniel,
Indeed, it was quite beautiful, I spent a long time shooting it because the light was bad. By the orange color I thought it wasn’t harmless, so I didn’t approach.
Thanks a lot for the identification! Your site and the whole idea is amazing.
Cheers!
L.

Orbweaver: Eriophora fuliginea

Letter 12 – Orbweaver from Brazil: Bertrana species

 

Subject:  Balloon spider?
Geographic location of the bug:  Sao Paulo, Brazil (-22.79381, -44.37906)
Date: 02/20/2018
Time: 10:14 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
I found this beautiful spider in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on 2012, 02/19. I would appreciate an identification.
Thanks!
How you want your letter signed:  Luis

Orbweaver

Dear Luis,
This is a pretty Orbweaver in the family Araneidae.  Our initial internet search did not turn up any visual matches, and we went through the Insetologia archives in an attempt to identify this species, but unsuccessfully.

Orbweaver

Update:  Thanks to a comment from Cesar Crash, we now know that this is an Orbweaver in the genus Bertrana, and we verified that on Project Noah.

Thanks Daniel!!!
WTB is the best!
Cheers!!
L.

Letter 13 – Orbweaver from Cambodia

 

Subject: Golden-backed spider
Location: Cambodia
March 24, 2015 3:38 am
Hi,
Any idea what this fella is? I took the picture in Cambodia in 2013.
Signature: Oliver

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Dear Oliver,
This is an Orbweaver in the genus Argiope, and it is only identified to the genus level on Wildlife inthe Kingdom of Thailand site.
  It may be the St. Andrew’s Cross Spider, Argiope keyserlingi, based on this FlickR posting.

Letter 14 – Orbweaver from Canada

 

Large,Fat Round Orange Spider – Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Location: Kingston, Ontario, Canada
December 17, 2010 12:19 am
This spider was holed up in the lid of my hose caddy for several days after I took the photos. It had been cool for days at this point (Nov 3, 2010), close to the freezing point and rather late to be putting this stuff away for the winter. When I checked about a week later, it was gone, probably lost to birds, as the lid had blown open in a storm. I guess it’s some sort of orb spider. I’m sending a second set of photos of another kind of spider elsewhere in the lid of the same hose caddy.
Signature: Lulu

Orbweaver

Dear Lulu,
This is an Orbweaver Spider, probably in the genus Araneus.  Your other photo is of an egg sac and we cannot see a spider.

Letter 15 – Orbweaver from Canada

 

Subject:  What kind of spider is this?!
Geographic location of the bug:  New Brunswick, Canada
Date: 10/02/2017
Time: 11:24 AM EDT
First time I’ve come across a spider like this! What’s the name?!
How you want your letter signed:  Thank you!

Orbweaver

This is a harmless Orbweaver, but we are uncertain of the species.

Letter 16 – Orbweaver from Costa Rica: Eriophora nephiloides

 

Subject: spider
Location: costa rica
March 25, 2013 3:36 am
a beautyfull spider with green body
Signature: fred from belgium

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Hi Fred,
This is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae, but alas, we cannot provide a species identification for you.  It looks similar to the North American species pictured on BugGuide
Verrucosa arenata, commonly called the Arrowhead Spider, but we cannot even say for certain if it is closely related.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide a species identification for you.

Update
We realized we had a very similar image in our archives that was identified as 
Eriophora nephiloides.

Whouawhh! many thanks!
beautyfull colors when it’s a good picture…. not like mine…
fred

We did correct the color to the best of our ability.  See the posting.

Update:  May 19, 2013
Subject: Spider
Location: Costa Rica
May 19, 2013 11:25 pm
A few months ago I sent you a (bad) picture of a spider, named by you:Eriophora nephiloides, and you photoshopped the picture very well, thanks for it! Now, I found by the guy who was with me, a better picture. That’s for your website, OK? thanks!
Signature: fred from belgium

Eriophora nephiloides
Eriophora nephiloides

Letter 17 – Orbweaver from Ecuador: Encyosaccus sexmaculatus

 

Unusual Orb Weaver from Ecuador
Location:  Ecuador
January 24, 2013
Hi Daniel. I haven’t posted anything in a while so I thought it might be time. When it comes to ‘bugs’ you may have gathered that I have a particular fondness for the unique and unusual. So I am sending photos of my two favorite finds from a recent trip to the Ecuadorian Amazon (the second to follow shortly). This one is a tiny, rare and undeniably cute Orb Weaver spider called Encyosaccus sexmaculatus (Araneidae: Araneidaeincertae). The genus has only one described species and is native to the upper Amazon basin in Ecuador, Peru and Brazil. The bright colors suggest a warning (aposematic coloration). I haven’t found anything to suggest that they are particularly poisonous, so perhaps they are toxic or distasteful, or they may be mimicking something else that is. Regards. Karl

Orbweaver: Encyosaccus sexmaculatus

Hi Karl,
Thanks for sending us this positively gorgeous Orbweaver for our archives.  We found a few photos online, including this image from Arachnoboards.

Letter 18 – Orbweaver from Florida

 

Subject: Very small central FL orb weaver
Location: Lakeland, FL
January 2, 2016 1:28 pm
Hi,
I have searched here, bug guide and the general web but can’t identify this orb weaver. I only noticed it due to the web being wet from earlier rain, the web is in our lawn and the maximum diameter is maybe 4 inches so the spider is very small. If you look closely it has horned protuberances on the beginning of the abdomen.
Thanks!
Signature: Wendy H.

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Dear Wendy,
We just returned from nearly two weeks away from the office and we are finally addressing some identification requests that arrived in our absence.  While we don’t have time to research the species at this time due to playing “catch up” with our lives, your images are quite beautiful and we will post them as unidentified until we have a chance to do some research.

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Letter 19 – Orbweaver from France

 

WTH is this?
Location:  Paris, France
October 2, 2010 12:18 pm
Oh please help me identify this Spider! I am living in the suburbs of Paris and I am forever seeing these in my window. Can you tell me what kind of Spider it is and if it is dangerous?
Signature:  American in Paris

Orbweaver: Wasp Spider

Dear American in Paris,
The Spiders of Northwest Europe website identifies this lovely Orbweaver as
Argiope bruennichi, and it is commonly called a Wasp Spider, though it is unclear where that common name is used.  We doubt it is the common name in France since the name is in English.

Letter 20 – Orbweaver from Greece

 

Subject: Kefalonia
Location: Kefalonia Greece
August 5, 2016 11:52 pm
We saw this on our balcony
Signature: Rf

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Dear Rf,
This is a harmless Orbweaver spider in the family Araneidae, but we are not certain of the species.

Letter 21 – Orbweaver from Hawaii

 

Subject: Spider in Kauai
Location: Kauai, Hawaii
December 25, 2012 9:03 am
I saw this spider hiking in Kauai. It was pretty big and had a really big spider web, any idea what it is?
Signature: Adam

Orbweaver from Hawaii

Hi Adam,
This is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae.  We posted a photo of this member of the genus
Argiope once before, but we never determined a species identification.  They are not considered dangerous, though large specimens might bite if carelessly handled.

Argiope species

Update:  December 5, 2014
A new submission of this Orbweaver has finally led us to the proper identification of
Argiope avara kauaiensis.

Letter 22 – Orbweaver from Iguazu Falls

 

Subject: Spider name
Location: Iguazu falls national park, Argentina/Brazil
January 31, 2013 8:53 am
I was on holidays in the beautiful Iguazu falls this summer. I saw a lot of these spiders and butterflies. However, after some research on the internet, I have been unable to find the exact scientific name. Could you please help me?
Signature: Filipe De Vadder

Orbweaver

Hi Filipe,
Your spider is an Orbweaver, most likely in the family Araneidae.  We haven’t the time right now to research the species name.

Update:  February 1, 2013
Cesar Crash from Insetologia Blog wrote in that this appears to be a species in the genus
 Alpaida.  Based on this photo on EcoRegistros, he might be correct.

Letter 23 – Orbweaver from India

 

Subject: scary orb web spider
Location: Bangalore, India
August 19, 2017 2:12 am
Dear bugman,
First up, congratulations for the work that you do. I found an orb weaver near my place. But it’s patterns don’t match up to any orb weavers on the internet. Please take a look at it
Signature: Gautam dikshit

Orbweaver

Dear Gautam,
This is an Orbweaver in the genus Argiope, a group sometimes called Writing Spiders because of the zigzag stabilimentum woven into the web.  It might be
Argiope anasuja, which is pictured on the Orb Web Spiders of India site where it states:  “Argiope anasuja is a species of Orb spider found in Asia ranging from Pakistan to the Maldives. Like other species of the same genus, it builds a web with a zig-zag stabilimentum. The mature female of A. anasuja always rests at the centre of the orb with her head facing downwards. The orb has an opening at the centre and when disturbed she goes through the hole and exits on the other side of the plane of the web.”  Another very similar looking species found in India and pictured on Alamy is Argiope pulchella.

Orbweaver

Letter 24 – Orbweaver from Kenya

 

Subject: what is this?
Location: central kenya
December 11, 2015 7:05 am
Hey found this in a coffee plantation. I live in Kenya never seen them before but found two today.is it harmful.its about a centimetre in diameter.
Signature: Robin Kagai

Spider
Spider

Dear Robin,
This is one unusual looking spider.  The only similar image we were able to locate is identified as
Paraplectana thorntoni from South Africa on Ravenwhimsy’s Wonderful World, and then we crosschecked that on iSpot and found a different but similar looking individual identified as being in the same genus. 

Spider
Spider

Letter 25 – Orbweaver from Mexico

 

wich spider is this?
Location: Tampico, Tamaulipas, México
April 3, 2012 10:30 am
found it outside my house, I thought it was an Orb weaver cause of the beautifull, almost perfect web, but then I looked closely and it has somo rare features I don’t seem to recognize on any spider, like that green figure on the abdomen
Signature: 018712661513

Orbweaver

Dear 018712661513,
Your spider is some species of Orbweaver.  It resembles a species from Florida we posted in 2009 that we identified as
Araneus detrimentosus.  That may or may not be a correct identification for your spider.

Letter 26 – Orbweaver from Mexico

 

Subject: pink spider
Location: cabo san lucas mex.
November 14, 2015 10:39 am
i took a picture of this spider next to a pool in cabo san lucas,i want to know the name
Signature: carlos

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Dear Carlos,
This is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae, and while we cannot provide you with a species, we are able to inform you that according to BugGuide:  “Orb weavers are very docile, non-aggressive spiders that will flee at the first sign of a threat (typically they will run or drop off the web). They are not dangerous to people & pets, and are actually quite beneficial because they will catch and eat a lot of pest-type insects.”

Letter 27 – Orbweaver from Mexico might be Silver Argiope

 

Subject: Strange almost luminescent spider
Location: Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, Mexico
February 17, 2013 4:33 pm
Dear Bugman,
I found this spider in our hose here on the pacific coast of baja california sur. It was much brighter green in real life and seemed as though the marks on its back were almost luminescent when the lights were dimmed. Any idea what is is and if at all venomous?
Bests, look forward to your response.
Capt, Bob
Signature: Capt. Rob Lawford

Possibly Silver Argiope

Dear Capt. Rob,
This is one of the Orbweavers in the family  Araneidae.  Though they possess venom, they are not considered to be dangerous, and large individuals might bite if carelessly handled.  There would be temporary discomfort and possible swelling around the site of the bite, but again, Orbweavers are not considered dangerous.  Except for the odd blue coloration, which we suspect might be a result of a combination of factors including taking the photograph in the shade (which has a bluer color temperature) or artificial lighting and possibly incorrect settings on the camera and/or failure to white balance the image, this spider resembles a Silver Argiope,
Argiope argentata.  Here is an image from BugGuide and one from Eric Eaton’s blog Bug Eric.  The silvery-white coloration of the body might also have reflected back the intense green coloration of the wall resulting in your perception that the spider was green.

Letter 28 – Orbweaver from Namibia

 

Spider from namibia
Location: Windhoek Namibia
April 20, 2011 7:22 am
This spider has been building its web and weve been watching it and we would like to know more what spider it is and if it is poisenous ??? ETC…..
Signature: The spider watchers

Orbweaver

Dear Spider Watchers,
This is some species of Orbweaver.  Orbweavers like all spiders are venomous, however they are not considered to be a threat.  The effects of the bite of an Orbweaver are mild and generally last less than a few hours.

Letter 29 – Orbweaver from Portugal is Lobed Argiope

 

Subject:  Argiope bruennichi?
Geographic location of the bug:  São Brás, Algarve, Portugal
Date: 09/01/2018
Time: 07:46 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello,
We spotted this spider on the wall outside the door of a villa we were staying in, in the Algarve in Portugal – a very remote location surrounded by nothing but olive groves and hills, accessible only by a dirt road. It appeared quite suddenly in the morning, as we were leaving, and we hadn’t noticed it before anywhere inside or outside during our week-long stay. We’ve never seen a spider like this in Portugal before (usually just lots of lizards and the odd snake!), especially not with  an almost crab-like body and a nest/egg sac? A little Googling suggests it might be a wasp spider, but do you know for sure?
Thank you for your time and for any help you can give!
All the best,
Amelia

Orbweaver

Dear Amelia,
In our opinion, you have the genus correct but not the species for your Orbweaver.  We believe, based on this Age Fotostock image that your spider is
Argiope lobata.  Images on iNaturalist and ArachnoPhoto support that ID.

Letter 30 – Orbweaver from Rwanda

 

We live in Rwanda and saw this on a walk in Kibuye. Is it a golden orb weaver? It was BIG!
Location: Kibuye, along Lake Kivu, Rwanda
October 26, 2010 4:57 am
Hello,
We saw this yellow and black orb weaver on a walk near Lake Kivu in Rwanda. It’s abdomen was about the size of a small chicken egg. The silk on the web was golden coloured. The whole spider and legs would have nicely spanned an opened hand. It was beautiful. Our kids were fascinated (as were we!) I wish we could have gotten better scale for you. The web was between two hedges, about 5 feet off the ground. The spider was eating something at the time, so we enjoyed observing for a while. Sorry about the dark and blurry photos. We’ve tried searching online, but haven’t quite found much like it! We’d appreciate your help!
Signature: The Jelsma family in Rwanda

Orbweaver

Dear Jelsma family,
Based on the color of the silk and the size of the spider, we suspect this Orbweaver is one of the Golden Silk Spiders in the genus
Nephila, but its coloration and markings are unfamiliar to us.  We will attempt a proper identification, but we will post the image and letter first in the event our readership is able to provide any clues.

Thanks so much for your quick reply! What a beautiful spider!
I took some video of it, with my hand as near as I felt gutsy enough to put it! (With the kids in the background saying: “No, mom, No mom…NOOooo…” Just to show some scale. It is one of the largest spiders we’ve seen here, as well as one of the most beautiful!
Thanks Daniel!
Jocelyn Jelsma

Letter 31 – Orbweaver from Senegal: Argiope lobata

 

Subject: what kind of spider is this?
Location: Dakar, Senegal
December 8, 2012 5:02 am
Hello,
I just found this spider in my cucumber patch and I’m wondering if you can tell me about it. Its black with light yellow stripes, and it’s quite large. It’s abdomen is a little smaller than a half dollar coin and it’s legs are about two inches long. The thing that i find most interesting about it is the shape of it’s abdomen — I’ve never seen a spider quite like it before!
I live in Dakar, Senegal in West Africa. It’s the dry season here this time of year which means clear colder weather (though it rarely gets below the high 70’s) and lots of wind. According to my Senegalese neighbor this is the time of year that these particular spiders show up.
Many thanks for your help in identifying my new tenant!
Signature: Amy

Orbweaver

Dear Amy,
This is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae.  We are not certain of the species and we will try to secure that information.

Thank you Daniel for your fast response! I’ve been perusing your fantastic site so I also guessed it was an orb weaver based on other entries. But what species?? i’ve done my usual google searches an nothing similar comes up.
Thanks again!

Hi again Amy,
We had no luck finding any matching images either.  Seems there is not an extensive Senegalese spider archive online.

Yeah, too bad. Thanks so much for your effort though!
The spider has moved to my tomatillo bed and seems quite happy. i’m hoping she has an appetite for grasshoppers — the scourge of my garden!
Cheers,
Amy

Update from Amy:  December 11, 2012
Hi again Daniel,
It occurred to me to search for the spider in french on google.fr (I searched for: les araignées du senegal), and I think I may have found something. There are many pictures of my spider, most of which are much better than mine but unfortunately have descriptions like “une jolie araignée du senegal”, without any scientific name. There was one however that said Argiope lobata – espèce d’araignées aranéomorphes de la famille des Araneidae. Could this be it? A quick google search for Argiope lobata in english turned up many images of spiders with the same markings and abdomen shape but slightly different coloring.
Thanks again for all your help!
Amy

Hi Amy,
We agree that your Orbweaver is most likely
Argiope lobata.  There is often a degree of variability in coloring of Orbweavers within a species.  The photo on TrekNature is especially nice though the text is in Spanish and no country is listed.

Letter 32 – Orbweaver from Thailand

 

Subject: Spider from Southern Thailand
Location: Southern Thailand, Khao lak
February 21, 2013 10:35 am
We came across this fine looking spider. We then tried to find it online, but without any luck. Can you help us identify this bug? Thx
Signature: Tina & Chris

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Hi Tina & Chris,
This spider is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae, but we cannot tell the species at this time.

Letter 33 – Orbweaver from Thailand

 

Subject: Wild beauty !
Location: Koh Yao Noi
March 23, 2013 3:06 am
Hi there !
Pictured this beautiful spider this week, and her amazing dome-like web, can you help me identify the species ? We are on Koh Yao Noi, small island near Phuket, Southern Thailand.
Let me know if quality is insufficient.
Thanks a lot in advance
Signature: Olivier

Orbweaver and Prey
Orbweaver and Prey

Hi Olivier,
This is some species of Orbweaver.  We will attempt to do additional research to see if we can provide a species identification for you.  The web is rather distinctive.

Orbweaver Web
Orbweaver Web

Letter 34 – Orbweaver from Uruguay

 

Subject: Spider
Location: uruguay
December 9, 2016 10:21 am
Hi I was hoping you could identify this spider. There are a lot of them that live out in the field. As you can see in the 2nd photo they often have thick webs in a zig-zag extending from where they put their legs. Thanks.
Signature: Louis

Silver Argiope
Silver Argiope

Dear Louis,
This is an Orbweaver, and it really resembles a North American species
Argiope argentata, the Silver Argiope, which BugGuide states is found in:  “CA, TX, FL (mostly in southernmost parts of those states). There’s also one data point from AZ.”  The zigzag web you mention is known as the stabilimentum, and many scientists believe it helps to camouflage the spiders in the web, and the presence of the stabilimentum gives spiders in the genus Argiope the common name Writing Spiders.  According to Colnect, the Silver Argiope was pictured on a stamp from Uruguay in 2009, which is good evidence the range extends well into South America.  According to EcoRegistros, the species is known as the Araña Tigre or Tiger Spider for our English only speakers.  We will be postdating this submission to go live at the end of the month while our staff is away from the office for the holidays.

Writing Spider:  Argiope argentata
Writing Spider: Argiope argentata

Letter 35 – Orbweaver Hatchlings preparing to “Balloon” Away

 

Subject: Spiderlings…hatching? Or a communal web???
Location: Montrose, CO
June 16, 2016 10:58 pm
Dear Bugman,
I’m a longtime fan of the site, though I haven’t had much cause to send any id requests in between your wonderful archives and my trusty field guide. But this one was both interesting and perplexing: while visiting family in western Colorado, I walked out the front door and spotted what looked like a lot of large grains of sand caught on a small three-dimensional web spreading from the front step to the post of the railing (perhaps 10 cm long and the same height). When I looked closer, I saw that the “grains” were hundreds of little yellow balls about 1-2 mm in diameter, stuck all over the cobweb structure, with here and there a few very tiny yellow spiders moving around. In the 30 seconds it took to get my camera, ALL of the “grains” had turned to the same spiders–hundreds of them!
The only explanation I can think of is that the balls were eggs and the spiders were hatching from them en masse (though they had all hatched by the time I got the camera), but I’ve never heard of a spider laying eggs all over a web like that rather than making an egg sac. Any ideas?
Signature: Susan

Orbweaver Hatchlings
Orbweaver Hatchlings

Dear Susan,
We believe these are hatchling Orbweaver Spiderlings, and that they have just emerged from a traditional egg sac like you have described.  Even immediately upon hatching, Spiderlings are able to spin silk, so what you witnessed can be described as a communal web, though not a web in the traditional sense.  Orbweavers disperse using a technique known as Ballooning.  The spiderling releases a strand of silk that catches the wind and transports the individual to a new location far from its siblings that would compete for food as well as pose the potential threat of cannibalism.  We believe the Spiderlings in your image are just waiting to catch the breeze.

Orbweaver Hatchlings
Orbweaver Hatchlings

Letter 36 – Orbweaver may be Arabesque Spider

 

Subject: Brown and yellow spider
Location: United States, Northeast, Pennsylvania
August 31, 2014 12:55 pm
Hey bug friends,
Any idea what kind of spider this may be? I usually have a pretty good eye, but I couldn’t pinpoint the precise family. Both pictures were taken in a relatively urban part of south central Pennsylvania, late July.
Thanks!
Signature: Sam

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Dear Sam,
This is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae
, and we are uncertain if we will be able to provide you with a species identification in the limited research time we have remaining this morning.  You can try browsing through BugGuide to see if you can identify the genus and species if we are unable to provide that information.  We suspect that based on this image on BugGuide, it might be an Arabesque Spider, Neoscona arabesca, but we are not certain.  According to BugGuide, this is a wide ranging species and it has much variation in the color and markings.

Possibly Arabesque Spider
Possibly Arabesque Spider

Letter 37 – Orbweaver is Silver Argiope

 

Subject: Spider in Cabo Pulmo
Location: Cabo Pulmo
November 9, 2016 12:55 pm
Hello! I found this spider in one of the little hills in Cabo Pulmo. She was on her web and about 4 or 5 cm long. This was during late October. I would like to know the species and if it is venomous or not. Thank you!
Signature: OBZ

Silver Argiope
Silver Argiope

Dear OBZ,
This Silver Argiope is considered harmless to humans, though like most spiders it is venomous, but the venom does little more than cause local swelling in the unlikely event a person is bitten by this non-aggressive Orbweaver.

Letter 38 – Orbweaver from South Africa

 

Subject: striped stranger
Location: Caledon area on N2
April 7, 2014 9:57 pm
Hello Bugman
I’ve looked on the internet trying to identify this striped spider that I saw while in South Africa. We were travelling on the N2 and pulled over to look at the national bird in a farm field just about an hour outside of Cape Town. Walking through the grass we noticed this large spider, although not colourful. Would also like to know if it is poisonous.
Thank you
Signature: Angela

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Dear Angela,
This is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae, and members in the family are venomous, but they are reluctant to bite humans, and they are not considered dangerous, with the bite producing only local swelling and tenderness.  We did locate a matching image on Superstock, but it is not identified beyond the family level.  We then found a matching image on BioDiversity Explorer and it is identified as
Argiope australis.  It is odd that your individual was found on the ground.  Orbweavers are clumsy when not in their webs, and they are relatively stationary spiders, preferring to spin a web in the same location unless they are disturbed.  Perhaps someone who passed its web prior to your arrival knocked this individual to the ground.

Letter 39 – Orbweaver from South Africa

 

Subject: Beautiful South African spider
Location: Mpumalanga, South Africa
November 25, 2014 8:11 am
Hi there. This spider is sitting on a huge web outside the window of our chalet in sanbonani, hazyview South Africa.
Hoping you can identify since all my googling has proven useless.
Signature: Cait, bug enthusiast

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Hi Cait, bug enthusiast,
Though there are not prominent markings on its abdomen, we believe your Orbweaver in the genus
Argiope is most likely Argiope australis, the Garden Orbweaver, which is pictured on iSpot.  Because of the zigzag stabilimentum that is incorporated in the web, Argiope Spiders are sometimes called Writing Spiders.

Thanks! I had narrowed it down to the orb web species but couldn’t seem to find one with such a plain body.
Photos don’t do it justice. It is really beautiful! And the tiny male is also on the web, just staying out of her way!
Thanks for such a speedy reply!!
Kind regards
CaitB

Letter 40 – Orbweaver from Southern California

 

Subject: Pumpkin Spider?
Location: Southern California
December 16, 2013 9:47 am
Hello,
This photo was taken on 10/17/2013, in southern California at the base of Mount Baldy. Its body was about 3/4 of an inch long and 1/2 an inch high. The body had 4 dimples on the top and the legs were striped orange and white. I just found this site the other day and absolutely love it!!! I have so many pictures of insects that I have found and don’t know what they are so I will be on this site a lot in the near future. Anyhow I believe from looking over your site that this is an pumpkin spider/marbled orbweaver but I wanted to make sure. Thanks for your help
Signature: Newest/Biggest fan

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Dear Newest/Biggest Fan,
We are happy you are enjoying our site.  While this Orbweaver is orange and is a member of the same family as the Pumpkin Spider, it is a different species of Orbweaver.  It might be a Cat Faced Spider,
Araneus gemmoides, but we cannot say for certain.  See images on BugGuide for comparison.  We look forward to getting additional images from you.

Letter 41 – Orbweaver from UK may be Garden Spider

 

Subject: Weird Orange Spider UK
Location: Cambridge, UK
January 29, 2015 1:22 am
I found this in our outside covered pool. It is held pretty warm in their all year round. Took some pics and tried to locate what it was but no idea.
Signature: James Sore

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Hi James,
This is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae, but we are not certain of the species.  Orbweavers are often large colorful spiders that attract attention because they generally wait for prey in a classic orb web.  Large Orbweavers may bite if carelessly handled, but they are not dangerous to humans.  See some of the individuals on Ray Wilson Bird & Wildlife Photography.
  The Garden Spider, Araneus diadematus, on the Photography Obsession page looks like a good match.  The Garden Spiders pictured on Nature Watch exhibit considerable color variation.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you so very much. It has put my mind at rest. I had never seen one before and was worried that the artificial temperature of the covered pool was harbouring something a bit exotic !!
Thanks once again.
James

Letter 42 – Orb Weavers

 

Found spiders (as opposed to lost ones…)
I spotted these two spiders on a particularly warm night here in Central Florida. Good night for spiders…bad night for bugs. Are either poisonous? The golden orb weaver is the largest I’ve seen in a LONG time around here (2-3 inches) and is quite alarming when not expected.

The other I have not been able to identify, but is also quite large…about 2 inches and very bulky. Attached are photos of the argiope and a front and back of the brown.
Love the site!
Thanks!
Leslie Lormann

Hi Leslie,
Thanks for sending the awesome photos. Your female Argiope aurantia exhibits a color variation we don’t see often in Los Angeles. She is still young and will fill with eggs, or else she may be very old, haveing already procreated. The bite of the Argiope can be painful, but is not serious. Your brown spider is a member of the genue Araneus, I believe, though we usually see them with striped legs.

Letter 43 – Orb Weavers Mating

 

Spiderwars?
I am sending you these pictures that my husband recently took of the spiders outside our sliding glass door. Are they dangerous? There are tons in my garden. The webs are VERY sticky, tough, and the spiders themselves have sticky little feet…I had one crawling on me the other day, and nearly died of heart failure. These gems are about 1 to 1.5 inches and the smaller skinny one is more aggressive than the fat one. I can assume that they are a Mr. and Mrs., but which is which? In the garden, when you see one spider, you don’t really have to look far to see a separate web with the partner in close proximity. Local people call them “quarterbacks” as the bulbous body can easily reach the size of a quarter. If they do bite, do you know what a remedy is (if needed?) Thank you for the help.
Ruth

Hi Ruth,
There are so many similar looking Araneus species as well as so much variation within a species, that we have given up trying to get species names on Orb Weavers. Let’s just call them a pair of Araneus Orb Weaving Spiders. The female has the more bulbous abdomen. The bite is not dangerous and they would really have to be provoked to bite anyways. The weather this year created a population explosion of insects, and hence, their predators like spiders are also plentiful.

Letter 44 – Orb Weaver from Cyprus

 

Subject: Spider
Location: Cyprus
July 27, 2012 3:19 pm
I came across this spider and thought it looked like it was made from ”mother of pearl”
Signature: Jel

Orb Weaver: Argiope lobata

Hi Jel,
This stunning Orb Weaver Spider was relatively easy for us to identify.  We suspected the genus to be
Argiope, and that name paired with Cyprus brought us to the Invertebrates from Cyprus website where it is identified as Argiope lobata.  Orb Weavers are not considered dangerous.

Orb Weaver: Argiope lobata

 

Letter 45 – Orb Weaver from Dominican Republic

 

Orb Weaver from Dominican Republic
Sat, Apr 4, 2009 at 1:11 PM
Found this spider in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Looks like some type of Orb Weaver, but not sure. It was sitting right in the middle of the web.
To Matt
Dominican Republic

Orb Weaver
Orb Weaver

Dear To Matt,
You are correct.  This is an Argiope Orb Weaver, but we are not certain of the species.

Letter 46 – Orb Web of a Tree Spider

 

Subject:  Classic Orb Web
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
August 18, 2017 9:17 am
The early morning sunlight is beautifully captured on the silken strands of this Tree Spider web,
Araneus gemma, a common species in the Los Angeles area.  Both the size of the spiders and the size of their webs is increasing as summer wanes.  According to BugGuide:  “Builds web in open areas of trees, large shrubs and around houses.”  The Natural History of Orange County site lacks information, but does provide the common name Tree Spider.  According to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles:  ” locally we have one very common species; A. gemma, perhaps the heaviest north American orb weaver. It’s round, humped abdomen is usually pale colored, tan yellow or greenish, with a single thin median white stripe. It builds a large orb from trees and buildings in moister parts of the valleys and canyons, spending the day hiding in a loose nest made of leaves and silk, usually under an overhanging ledge or branch.”  We have been observing these spiders for years, and large individuals often spin webs at night near lights and between shrubs in paths in our garden.  The spiders are active nocturnally and hide during the day.

Orb Web

 

Letter 47 – Orbweaver from New Zealand: Cyclosa trilobata

 

Subject: Black Silver Red Spider
Location: New Zealand Bay of plenty Rotorua
March 13, 2014 11:20 pm
Hi bug man
this picture was taken by an early digital camera in about 2004-5 or so. so it not that great but I’ve done a few searches since that time and I still cannot find this spider any were. I describe it as the parts that almost look white were shining silver. the parts that look brown were a bright red and the stripes on its legs were transparent. from what I recall I found lots of them in summer in between long grass co existing with silver orb spiders . there webs are the same as domestic and orb spiders and they sit in the middle of it. they don’t seem to do well in the rain as this one in the picture was washed up on a concrete path and the one that I found earlier this year that reminded me of this picture disappeared after it rained yet the orb spiders around where it was are fine. I haven’t found any for years until the one I mentioned. it would be mightily satisfying if you could tell me what it is thanks.
Signature: Alan

Unknown Orbweaver
Orbweaver:  Cyclosa trilobata

Hi Alan,
We agree that this is most likely an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae, but like you, we have not had any luck finding a matching image online.  We will post your photo and elicit input from our readers, and we will also attempt further identification when time permits.

Karl supplies some links:  March 19, 2014
Hi Daniel and Alan:
It is an Orbweaver in the subfamily Araneinae. Unfortunately, the photo is not very clear, but I believe this is a species of Cyclosa. As far as I can tell Cyclosa trilobata (Three-lobed Cyclosa) is the only species that is native to New Zealand (eastern Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand). Cyclosa insulana looks similar but does not occur in New Zealand. The colors are highly variable, ranging from mottled patterns of reds and browns to grays and blacks. The males, and I think this is probably one, are often quite silvery. As the name suggests, the posterior end is distinctly tri-lobed.  I can’t be sure but I believe that’s probably it. Regards. Karl

Reader Emails

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.

Reader Emails

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.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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26 thoughts on “Where Do Orb Weaver Spiders Live: A Friendly Guide to Their Habitat”

  1. A complete guess here… possibly a juvenile or sub-adult form of Nephila fenestrata (commonly known as the Black Legged Nephila).

    Reply
  2. Banded-Legged Golden Orbweb Spider (Nephila senegalensis).

    Beautiful spider! And not really dangerous to humans, despite its impressive size and aposematic-looking colours.

    Reply
  3. This is most likely a pale-colored “Jewel orbweaver” (Araneus gemma). The four dimples, pronounced hips, and banded legs are characteristic.

    Reply
  4. I found a spider identical to this one last night. I live in southern Ontario . I have seen a lot of different kinds of spiders here but its the first time I’ve seen this one ..do you think its the same ?

    Reply
  5. I found one today in my garden – West Coast of Portugal 30 minutes from Lisbon. I have never seen one before in my life. Glad they are harmless as I have a dog who I let out in the garden every day.

    Reply
  6. This is Nephila turneri, the eastern morph with uniformly black legs. This species occurs in equatorial West and Central Africa and also in Uganda. Interesting to see a specimen from another African state. Nephila spiders are not dangerous to humans.

    Reply
  7. I thought we had a single post, but it seems I just made an identification for a friend without posting. It must be Bertrana sp.

    For São Paulo, it’s listed B. rufostriata and B. striolata.

    Reply
  8. Hi Ruth, you are correct that your orbweaver family is making whoopy. From your photo, it looks like you have a breading pair of garden orbweavers, the female being the larger of the two. I just video’d a pair of hutch orbweavers doing the same. Its interesting that they move to the edge of the web to mate, and I have another female about 35′ from this web and she has moved to the side of her web, perhaps as a lady in waiting? The video I captured shows the male attempting to fertize her as he moves his semen to two small appendages on the front of his anthrothorax (head/body) and inserts these into the female receptacle on the females area. They look like they are high giving, but I assume they hold off on that until the kids come and make it through college. I hope I can find a place to post my video file… Very cool

    Reply
  9. Busy researching a spider I seen recently at Angkor Wat, yours looks to be the same. Seems to be St Andrews Cross Spider.

    Reply
  10. This spider is Cyrtophora cylindroides. Notice it is resting horizontally in a fine-meshed web, whereas Argiope appensa rests vertically in a vertical web of wider mesh. Further, in C cyl the abdomen is more elongate. Other differences are noticable, as well. To better compare, enter the names of these two species as search terms at iNaturalist.org

    Reply

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