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Can anyone identify this garden orb weaver spider?

Can anyone identify this garden orb weaver spider?



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Found in low foliage in Harare Zimbabwe. Argiope flavipalpis or A.levi


New Hampshire Spiders: Pictures and Identification Help

The cool, northern climate means the traditional season for New Hampshire spiders runs from late spring to early fall.

Spider enthusiasts almost always need to wait until mid-summer to explore spider diversity in the White Mountains.

Lower lying towns and larger residential areas such as Manchester and Nashua tend to share the same spider species. In fact, all New England provides suitable habitat for the New Hampshire spiders. The two most common types of spiders in terms of species numbers are the Dwarf/Sheetweb spiders and the Jumping Spiders. Dwarf and Sheetweb spiders build messy webs around the shrubs and the size, most around the 1/16 of an inch, means that the webs are more visible than the spiders.

On the other hand, many jumping spiders often grow around one quarter of an inch, and they pop up and down around the yard constantly. The video shows a Bronze Jumping Spider.

When it comes to spider identification in New Hampshire, most interest comes from individuals who see spiders in their homes and apartments and want to know if the spider is dangerous.

The easy answer is no. Spiders are classified as beneficial because they prey on insect pests. One very common ground spider, the Eastern Parson’s Spider, pictured above, fits that description.

The small list of spider pictures presented covers a representative sample of the state’s common house spiders and lawn and garden spiders. The spiders button leads to articles that provide additional spider pictures and information. The entire spider guide covers over one hundred different spider species.

Common Orbweavers

Shamrock Orbweaver


Marbled Orbweaver


Red-spotted Orbweaver


Cross Orbweaver


Orchard Orbweaver


Six Spotted Orbweaver


Spotted Orbweaver (Neoscona domiciliorum)


Hentz Orbweaver (Neoscona)


Arabesque Orbweaver


Banded Garden Spider


Black and Yellow Garden Spider

Common House Spiders

Cobweb Spider (Theridion)


Wall Spider


Triangulate House Spider


Long-bodied Cellar Spider


Bold Jumping Spider


Golden Jumping Spider


False Widow


Striped Lynx Spider


Crab Spider (Misumena vatia)


Woodlouse Spider


Identifying cobweb spiders could be a lifelong task. While the small group that tend to build their webs in residential areas tend to receive the most attention, in fact close to four hundred species have been documented in the United States.

The numbers suggest that over ninety five percent of all cobweb spiders are outdoor spiders that don’t receive a second thought by anyone other than extreme spider enthusiasts.

Two physical features, the presence of round abdomens with the first set of legs longer than the others, serve as the initial identification tools. Body color and abdominal patterns serve as the next identification clues.

Enoplognatha ovata, pictured at the top of the page is a good example. It’s fairly common along the northern part of the United States. However, they can take on a few different colors and abdominal patterns.

No doubt that the Northern Black Widow spider is the best known New Hampshire cobweb spider. Only the females get classified as spiders of medical importance.

Black Widow identification is fairly straightforward. Males and females have black bodies. Males and juveniles of both species tend to have white markings on the abdomen. Additionally, females are twice as large as males with a body length usually about one-half inch.

The presence of a red hourglass marking on the bottom of the abdomen represents the classic field identification. Northern Black Widow hourglass markings are broken in the middle.

Finally, another set of common house spiders also belong to the cobweb spiders category. Most of the cobweb spiders do not receive common names. The Common House Spider (Parasteatoda-tepidariorum, and the the Triangulate House Spider, are exceptions to the rule.

A couple of additional Stedota species go by the name False Widow spiders and they often wander indoors. While their bodies have dark colors, they lack the hourglass pattern. Steatoda americana is a common New Hampshire spider species.

New Hampshire hosts a nice variety of orb weaving spiders in the genus Araneus. Colorful bodies and distinct abdominal patterns, such as the Marbled Orbweaver, help make identification easy.

Don’t forget the Barn Spider made famous by Charlotte’s Web, Araneus cavaticus. They tend to resemble the spotted orbweaver. Looking under the abdomen helps clarify identification. Barn spiders have more of a curve marking on the underside of abdomen rather than distinct spots.


Common House Spiders



Florida sure does have big house spiders. In addition to the Huntsman spider, add the Southern House spider to the list. Their bodies are over one half inch in length and their legs add more length.

Formally they belong to crevice weavers and build webs in crevices around the house. Again, they are not considered dangerous, just large and scary to individuals who are not spider enthusiasts.

The first column in the gallery also covers more common house spiders. It’s interesting to note that many of the common house spiders such as cellar spiders and cobweb spiders fit into the web category.

Add in common hunting spiders such as ground spiders and jumping spiders, and that translates into both web spiders and hunting spiders sharing space with humans on a day to day basis.

Cobweb spiders also fit into the common house spider category. The Triangulate House Spider and the Common House spider (Parasteatoda-tepidariorum) represent two cobweb spider species that rank as two of the most common house spiders from coast to coast.

A couple of additional Stedota species go by the name False Widow spiders and they often wander indoors.

That leaves the widow spiders of the Genus Latrodectus to discuss. They are the most common of all the poisonous spiders. Four species live year round in Florida.

While they normally build nests low to the ground in brush and woodpiles,the bottom of barbecues or lawn chairs. Occasionally one can be found indoors, especially in back yard sheds.

Learning more about how to identify the different types of cobweb spiders in the house can be as easy at attaching a small, inexpensive macro lens onto the smart phone and comparing pictures.

Grass spiders also known as funnel weavers, often wander inside the house. Most species also look very similar with thin, striped brown bodies. The long spinnerets at the end of the abdomen help differentiate them from the wolf spiders.

Crab spiders usually do not venture indoors. Rather they tend to the flowers around the house. TThe picture shows two species with white bodies and red stripes. Three genera of so called flower crab spiders come in a variety of colors, including yellow. Eye patterns and body hair are the proper way to identify them.

Five Nursery Web and Fishing Spider species can also be found near residential areas, although with less frequency than other types of spiders. They generally have medium sized bodies with indistinct colors that help them blend into their environment.

To the untrained eye, they can look like wolf spiders or grass spiders.

Spider Identification: Orb weavers

The presence of colorful bodies with distinctive patterns make Florida spiders in the orb weaver category among the easiest spiders to identify.

Golden Silk Orbweavers, for example have thin brown spotted bodies. The presence of the largest orb shaped web in the United States makes it hard to miss them anywhere they live.

Species from three genera, Araneus, Neoscona and Argiope are probably the most common back yard orb weavers.

Tourists from the West Coast might be interested to know that a handful of less common Araneus species such as Araneus Cingulatus Araneus bicentenarius Araneus alboventris Araneus alboventris live there.

Black and yellow garden spiders are probably the most common argiope spiders. Florida also has its own distinct version of a Silver Argiope, (Argiope florida).


Golden Orb Weaving Spiders

Click to enlarge image Toggle Caption

Fast Facts

  • Classification Genus Nephila Family Nephilidae Order Araneae Class Arachnida Phylum Arthropoda Kingdom Animalia
  • Size Range 2 cm - 4 cm (female), 5 mm (male)

The Golden Orb Weaving Spiders build large, strong orb webs with a golden sheen.

Identification

Golden Orb Weaving Spiders are large spiders with silvery-grey to plum coloured bodies and brown-black, often yellow banded legs. The males are tiny and red-brown to brown in colour. The main difference between the common Sydney species, Nephila plumipes and N. edulis (which is commoner in inland regions) is the presence of a 'knob' on the front of the sternum (the heart shaped plate on the underside of the body between the legs) of N. plumipes.

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Famale Golden Orb-weaving Spider, Nephila plumipes.

Image: Fritz Hiersche
© Fritz Hiersche

Habitat

Golden Orb Weaving Spiders are found in dry open forest and woodlands, coastal sand dune shrubland and mangrove habitats.

All orb weaving spiders make suspended, sticky, wheel-shaped orb webs. Webs are placed in openings between trees and shrubs where insects are likely to fly.

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Distribution

Golden Orb Weaving Spiders are found in dry open forest and woodlands, coastal sand dune shrubland and mangrove habitats, with Nephila edulis and N. plumipes being the two species found in the Sydney region.

In Sydney, the bushes and trees of the Royal Botanic Gardens are a good place to see them, as are the mangrove forests of Bicentennial Park and the Homebush Bay area of the city.

Feeding and diet

Golden orb weaving spiders prey items include flies, beetles, locusts, wood moths and cicadas. Sometimes their strong webs manage to trap small birds or bats, and the spider will wrap them and feed upon them.

Toggle Caption

Juvenile Golden Orb Weaver, Nephila spp.

Image: -
© Australian Museum

Other behaviours and adaptations

The Golden Orb Weaving Spiders build large, semi-permanent orb webs. The strong silk has a golden sheen. These spiders remain in their webs day and night and gain some protection from bird attack by the presence of a ➺rrier network' of threads on one or both sides of the orb web.

Like the St Andrew's Cross Spider, they will vibrate their webs to distract potential predators. Sometimes aggregations of Golden Orb Weavers are found, with a tangled network of overlapping webs. Their webs are often host to the small kleptoparasitic spiders of the genus Argyrodes (often the Quicksilver Spider, Argyrodes antipodeanus) which inhabit the larger spider's web and eat the smaller insects that become trapped on the web, thereby helping keep the web clear of debris.

Toggle Caption

Golden Orb Weaving Spider with cicada in web

Image: Bruce Hulbert
© Bruce Hulbert

Life history cycle

In the Golden Orb Weaving Spider group, it is common for a number of tiny (6 mm) males to live around the edges of a female's web, waiting for a mating opportunity. After mating, the female Golden Orb Weaving Spider wraps her single egg sac in a mass of golden silk, which is then hidden on foliage away from the web, disguised within a curled leaf or sprig of twigs.

Predators

Predators of orb weavers include several bird species and wasps of the family Sphecidae. The wasps land on the web, lure the spider to the perimeter by imitating a struggling insect's vibrations, and then carry the spider away to be paralysed and stored as live food for their young.

Danger to humans

Orb weavers are reluctant to bite. Symptoms are usually negligible or mild local pain, numbness and swelling. Occasionally nausea and dizziness can occur after a bite.


Letting nature back in

The first creature that caught my eye on the first day of 2019 and caused me to pick up my camera, was this garden orb spider. Its complex round web was strung across the vertical spikes of a Common Rush (Juncus effusus) next to our garden pond.

Garden orb spiders (Argiope) occur across the world, including in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. There are many species in this genus, and I was not able to pinpoint which species this very beautiful garden orb spider is.

This female garden orb-weaving spider has banded colours on her legs that sport delicate sensory hairs. The abdomen is beautifully marked. Spiders have multiple eyes rather than the compound eyes of insects and they have no antennae but have obvious palps that are used when feeding, and used during reproduction in males.

This female garden orb spider waits in the centre of her web ready to attend to any prey that may get caught in the web.

In the photo above, the spider is moving away from the centre in response to a disturbance in the web, but in this instance the potential prey flew off without getting caught and the spider returned to the centre of the web where she spends most of her time waiting.

May orb spiders eat the central part of the web at night and rebuild that section of web again each morning.

This wasp did not manage to escape the web. The spider bites prey items and envelopes them in silk to immobilise them, and usually returns later to eat them.

In the above photo the spider is eating a bug that previously she had bitten and wrapped in silk when it got stuck in the web. The venom she injects into a victim immobilises it. Prior to eating, the spider injects digestive fluid that includes enzymes that liquefy the insides of the prey animal, which the spider eats by sucking the liquid into her stomach.

Many spiders that weave circular (orb) webs include zigzags of thick silk known as stabilimenta. Two vertical zigzags can be seen in the web in the above photograph. It is speculated that stabilimenta serve several functions, which might include providing camouflage or distraction from the spider in the centre of the web, serving as a warning to birds not to fly into the web (and break the web), attracting insects to fly into the web as the stabilimenta reflect ultraviolet light, and also making stabilimenta may be a way of depositing surplus silk and/or stimulating the production of more silk.

Most spiders are harmless to people and should, where possible, be left undisturbed. The intricacy and engineering of the webs are worthy of our admiration. Most spiders benefit gardeners by eating many insects and other creatures that gardeners may consider to be pests. In any event, I found this spider to be an elegant and decorative presence in the garden, albeit surprisingly easy to overlook.


Common spider species found in Victoria

Badge (huntsman ) spider

Neosparassus diana

Habitat and Biology
The badge huntsman is nocturnally active and occasionally comes into houses, but less frequently than other huntsman spiders. Outside it can be found hunting for prey on the trunks of trees or in foliage. During the day it will retreat beneath the bark of a tree. A silken retreat is built in a similar situation for moulting and egg laying. Some species of Neosparassus build a silken retreat in foliage by gluing several leaves together, whilst others construct shallow burrows. The egg sac, which is a flattish silken capsule, is guarded by the female. During this period she can be quite aggressive and will rear up in a defensive display if provoked. Young Neosparassus are often green in colour.

Colour
Male: Similar to female.
Female: Fawn to orange or pinkish brown. Black shield shaped marking with two white spots on underside of abdomen.

Form
Body flattened, though less so than other huntsman groups. First two pairs of legs distinctly longer than hind two pairs.

Body Length
Male: 16mm
Female: 20mm

Web type
Does not build a web.

Bite
No serious symptoms have been recorded from the bite of N. diana, but bites from other species of Neosparassus are known to cause general symptoms including local severe pain and swelling, sweating, nausea and vomiting.

Bird Dropping Spider

Celaeniaexcavate

Habitat and Biology
This spider has been described as the master of camouflage, its colour pattern resembling a bird dropping. Another common name for the species is the death's head spider, due to the supposed resemblance of the body colours to a skull. The bird-dropping spider is a sedentary spider found sitting on a leaf or suspended underneath its egg cases. The egg cases, numbering up to 13, are large (12-14 mm in diameter), dark brown spheres with black criss-cross markings. This spider feeds at night, almost exclusively on male moths. It sits with forelegs outstretched awaiting the approach of prey. The spider attracts the moth by releasing a sex pheromone or smell similar to that produced by female moths.

Colour
Male: Similar to female.
Female: Body mottled brown, black and cream.

Form
Abdomen broad and triangular, upper surface rising to a pair of roughened humps towards the rear, distinctly concave along midline. Legs folded against body.

Black House Spider

Badumna insignis

Habitat and Biology
Commonly found around buildings in the corners of window frames and doors, in crevices of brickwork, under eaves, etc. In nature, they are found in holes in tree trunks, crevices in rocks, etc. The distinctive lacy web with funnels is sometimes confused with that of a funnel-web spider, but all species of funnel-web spiders found in Victoria build their retreats at or below ground level. The black house spider is a timid spider and will normally only venture from its retreat when prey is entangled in the web. The prey is then quickly seized and dragged back into the tube. Males wander at night during the mating period. After mating the female lays her silk-encased eggs within the tube. The maximum life span is around two years.

Colour
Male: Similar to female but often slightly paler.
Female: Cephalothorax and legs shiny black, abdomen duller black or grey-black.

Form
Robust, hairy spider with a typically blunt, square front end of the cephalothorax.

Body Length
Male: 10mm
Female: 20mm

Web type
Lacy sheet with one or two funnel-shaped entrances leading into a tubular retreat.

Bite
Because of its timid nature this spider rarely bites humans however, the bite can cause general symptoms including nausea, sweating, localised pain and swelling.

Brown House Spider

Steatoda grossa

Habitat and Biology
There are two species of Steatoda which are known by the name Brown House Spider. These are Steatoda capensis (Hann) and Steatoda grossa (Koch). This spider is often confused with the red-back spider, which has a similar body shape and web structure. Unlike the red-back spider, the brown house spider never has a red hour-glass marking on the underside of the abdomen. The Brown House spider (sometimes known as the Cupboard spider) is often found indoors in dark places, inside or under furniture. It is uncommon to find the red-back spider in such places. Outdoors, the brown house spider can be found in sheds, under empty plant pots or amongst general refuse. Egg sac similar to that of the Red-back spider.

Colour
Male: Smaller-bodied with longer legs similar colours to female except white markings more prominent.
Female: Overall body colour is brown to black, typically with a dull white crescent-shaped marking on top of the abdomen, sometimes followed by several dull white spots.

Form
Similar in shape to the red-back spider, with pea-shaped abdomen and slender legs.

Body Length
Male: 4mm
Female: 10mm

Web type
Tangled web with sticky catching attached to substrate.

Bite
Unlike the red-back spider the bite of the brown house spider is not lethal, but may cause headaches or nausea. Small blisters may occur around the bite site.

Daddy Long-Leg Spider

Pholcus phalangioides

Habitat and Biology
This spider is commonly found indoors in dark areas, such as behind doors or furniture, disused rooms, etc. Old webs are often seen in the corners of ceilings. Outside it occurs in garages and sheds, under verandahs, etc. Lifespan may vary from three months to two years depending on temperature and food supply. Food consists of small insects, spiders, silverfish, etc. The daddy long-leg spider is usually associated with human habitation and is thought to have been introduced into this country. Harvestmen (Opiliones) are sometimes mistaken as daddy long-leg spiders however, harvestmen lack a median constriction of the body and are rarely found indoors, preferring moist areas outside. The eggs are held together in a circular bundle with a few silk threads and are carried in the mouthparts of the female until hatching

Colour
Male: Similar to female.
Female: Overall body colour pale brown to cream with darker markings on legs and cephalothorax, sometimes with darker markings on abdomen.

Form
Recognised by its extremely long and slender legs and relatively small body.

Body Length
Male: 16mm
Female: 20mm

Web type
Makes a tangled web, up to 30 cm in diameter, inside shelter locations.

Bite
Relatively harmless local reaction if any. Folk lore has it that the venom of this spider is extremely venomous.

Garden Orb-weaving Spider

Eriophora biapicata

Habitat and Biology
This is a large robust spider which builds a large, strongly constructed orb web to catch its prey of mostly flying insects. The web is usually constructed in the evenings and is sometimes unexpectedly encountered by humans. The spider rests upside down in the centre of the web. At dawn the web is often taken down. The spider then rests on nearby foliage with legs drawn in and is well camouflaged. The eggs, which are laid by the female in late summer to autumn, are encased in a fluffy silken cocoon and attached to foliage. The lifespan of the garden orb-weaver is approximately twelve months. It is a widespread species having been recorded from all states except Tasmania.

Colour
Male: Similar to female.
Female: Bases of legs bright red, rest of legs and cephalothorax reddish brown with long white hairs. Abdomen brown, usually with darker foliate pattern and sometimes with white spots or stripe.

Form
Typically with a triangular abdomen with two noticeable humps towards front.

Body Length
Male: 18mm
Female: 22mm

Web type
Large, strongly constructed orb web.

Bite
The bite of the garden orb-weaver is not considered dangerous. Symptoms may include localised mild pain and swelling, nausea and dizziness.

Huntsman Spider

Holconia immanis

Habitat and Biology
This huntsman is the one most commonly found in houses, where it hunts at night on walls and ceilings. It also occasionally enters the cabins of vehicles, causing much alarm. In the bush Holconia can be found sheltering during the day beneath the loose bark of eucalypts. It is a large species and, when alarmed, is capable of moving very rapidly often in a sideways direction. Food consists of insects and other invertebrates. The egg sac is flat, oval and constructed of white papery silk. It is most commonly deposited beneath the bark of trees. Lifespan of the species is about two years.

Colour
Male: Similar to female.
Female: Brown to grey with several pairs of darker spots on upperside of abdomen, sometimes with dark bands on legs.

Form
Body very flattened with long, rather forwardly directed legs. The first two pairs of legs are longer than the second two pairs.

Body Length
Male: 25mm
Female: 40mm

Web type
Does not build a web.

Bite
This is a timid spider and bites are infrequent. Symptoms are minor, including local pain and swelling.

Melbourne Trap-door Spider

Stanwellia grisea

Habitat and Biology
Due to its size, colour and large fangs, these spiders are often thought to be Sydney funnel-web spiders. The Melbourne trap-door spider is a common ground-dwelling spider often encountered by the weekend gardener when digging soil or moving rocks. Both males and females dig silk-lined burrows up to 40 cm deep in soft earth. Despite the reference in the common name, the entrance of the spider's burrow does not have a 'trap-door'. The spiders feed at night, waiting at the entrance of the burrow to ambush passing insects. Males leave the burrow when mature and roam in search of a mate. This roaming usually occurs in autumn or early winter and may take the spider into odd places such as inside houses, swimming pools, etc. Trap-door spiders have long life spans and may live from 5 to 20 years.

Colour
Male: Similar to female except that some specimens have golden hairs on the cephalothorax.
Female: Cephalothorax and legs brown, abdomen often paler with dark, mottled, rib-like pattern on upper surface.

Form
Large robust spiders, males are generally smaller-bodied and longer-legged than females.

Body Length
Male: 25mm
Female: 35mm

Web type
Several strands of silk radiate from around the entrance of the burrow.

Bite
Due the size of the fangs, the trap-door spider can inflict a deep, painful wound, but, the venom is not known to cause medical problems. The two large appendages on the tail of the spider are spinnerets, on which the silk glands open.

Mouse Spider

Missulena bradleyi

Habitat and Biology
Like the trap-door spiders, the mouse spider lives in tunnels in the ground. Unlike the Stanwellia trap-door spiders, mouse spiders do possess a `trap-door' lid at the entrance. Males are most active during the daylight hours of the early winter, when they search for a mate. A close relative, Missulena occatoria Walckenaer, occurs in the drier western areas of Victoria and males of this species have a distinctive red cephalothorax and black abdomen. The spiderlings of the mouse spider apparently disperse on gossamer, a technique which is rare in mygalomorphs. The common name derives from the erroneous belief that this spider excavated a mouse-like burrow.

Colour
Male: Cephalothorax and legs glossy black, abdomen slightly paler with distinct pale bluish patch on upperside towards the front.
Female: Dark brown to blackish.

Form
Recognised by the large cephalothorax, stout legs, and eye formation spread across the front of the cephalothorax instead of in a compact group as in trap-door spiders.

Body Length
Male: 15mm
Female: 25mm

Web type
Does not build a web.

Bite
Although some experimental evidence suggests the venom of mouse spiders is relatively toxic, most recorded bites have not produced serious reactions.

Red-back Spider

Latrodectus hasseltii

Habitat and Biology
This spider is commonly found outdoors around human habitation, in such places as rubbish, litter, old tins, containers, under and on steps of the verandah, and on or under the seats of outdoor toilets! Storage stacks and disused furniture will encourage the breeding of this spider. In nature, it occurs under logs, bark, sides of rocks, etc. As the spider rarely leaves its web, humans are not likely to be bitten unless some part of the body (eg. the hand) is put into the web. Always check before moving items that have been stored outdoors for some time. Wear gloves when cleaning up rubbish areas. The female produces up to ten pale-yellow egg sacs, each with approximately 250 eggs. Females may live for two to three years, males about 90 days.

Colour
Male: Usually without red markings. Body light brown with white markings on upperside of abdomen, and pale hour-glass marking on underside.
Female: Body and legs dark brown to black. Characteristic red hour-glass marking on underside of abdomen, usually also with broad, red stripe on upperside of rear half of abdomen red stripe sometimes broken. Juveniles recognised by white markings on abdomen.

Form
Characteristic pea-shaped abdomen, long slender legs, males much smaller than females. For more information, see the Queensland Museum Spider Page.

Body Length
Male: 4mm
Female: 10mm

Web type
Tangled web with sticky catching attached to substrate.

Bite
The bite is highly venomous and characterised by intense localised pain and around the bite site. Other symptoms may include sweating, muscular weakness, loss of co-ordination and, in severe cases nausea, vomiting, convulsions, etc. The following envenomation description is from The Australian Animal Toxins by Struan Sutherland, 1983. Signs and Symptoms: The normal sequence of events after a bite is as follows. A sharp pin-pricking pain is almost invariable. Usually the bite site becomes hot, erythema and oedema develop rapidly. Localized sweating often occurs. The swelling is generally limited to an area of several cm in radius from the bite site occasionally it is extreme. Approximately five minutes after the bite, intense local pain commences and increases in severity and distribution. In most cases, pain is the predominant symptom the patient is sometimes distraught and even hysterical because of its intensity. Movement of the affected limb often significantly increases the pain. About thirty minutes after the bite, pain and swelling are often experienced in the regional lymph nodes. If abdominal pain occurs, it is worse when the lower extremities or genitals were bitten, probably due to lymph node involvement. Sometimes severe pain develops in parts remote from the bite site, for example, in an opposite limb or the opposite side of the trunk. Uncommon, even bizarre, signs and symptoms developed in some cases. There were tetanic spasms, tingling in the teeth, swelling of the tongue, bite site infection, convulsions, excessive thirst, severe diarrhoea, anaphylactic reaction to the venom, blotchy rash on face, haemoptysis, dyspnoea, dysuria, severe trismus, persistent anorexia, periorbital oedema and/or conjunctivas. Patchy areas of what was described as `bizarre sweating' were not uncommon. For additional information see


A. diadematus has a holarctic distribution, found throughout Europe and across North America, from southern Canada to Mexico, and from British Columbia to Newfoundland. [4] [5]

Individual spiders' colourings can range from extremely light yellow to very dark grey, but all A. diadematus have mottled white markings across the dorsal abdomen, with four or more segments forming a cross. The markings are formed in cells filled with guanine, which is a byproduct of protein metabolism. [6]

Adult females range in length from 6.5 to 20 mm (0.26 to 0.79 in), while males range from 5.5 to 13 mm (0.22 to 0.51 in). [7] Occasionally, the female will eat the male directly after mating. (See video below.)

The legs of orb-weaver spiders are specialized for spinning orb webs. The webs are built by the larger females who hang head down in the center of the web or remain hidden in nearby foliage, with one claw hooked to a signal line connected to the main orb waiting for a disturbance to signal the arrival of prey. Prey is then quickly bitten and wrapped in silk before being stored for later consumption. The initial bite serves to paralyze the prey and minimize the danger of the spider herself being stung or bitten, and the enzymes thus injected serve to begin liquefaction of the prey's internal structures.

Alongside the use of the web to capture other prey, the spiders are also cannibals and prey on each other. However, this only happens before, during or after sexual activity. They attack based on their size, sexual experience and hunger levels.

A. diadematus is a reclusive creature and only bites humans if cornered or otherwise provoked. It responds to a disturbance by vibrating rapidly in its web until it becomes a blur, a reaction that is assumed to confuse potential predators. [8]


Around homes, orb spiders build their webs in the branches of trees and bushes, in gardens, and in the corners of doorways, porches, and decks. Orb spiders also commonly build their webs near or next to porch lights since the insects that they eat are drawn to light. They are the most common spider you'll find in your landscaping.

The best way to get rid of orb spiders from your home and property is with the help of a professional. At All-American Pest Control, we offer pest control services for orb spiders through our Perimeter Plus Pest Control program

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Silver Orb Weaving Spiders

Click to enlarge image Toggle Caption

Fast Facts

  • Classification Genus Leucauge Family Tetragnathidae Super Family Araneoidea Suborder Araneomorphae Order Araneae Class Arachnida Phylum Arthropoda Kingdom Animalia
  • Size Range 1 cm

Introduction

Silver Orb Weaving Spiders are recognised by their long, silvery bodies.

Identification

Silver Orb Weaving Spidersare easily recognised by their silvery body, with yellow or green and black markings. They are long-bodied, long-limbed spiders. The abdomen often has rounded 'shoulder' humps that give these spiders their other common name of Humped Orb Weaving Spiders.

Habitat

The Silver Orb Weaving Spider is often found amongst understorey vegetation in moist forest and woodland habitats, including streamside and swampland vegetation.

Silver Orb-Weaving Spiders build small flimsy, horizontal webs among shrubs and grasses or over water.

Distribution

Silver Orb Weaving Spiders are found throughout Australia.

Feeding and diet

Silver Orb Weaving Spiders remain in their webs during the day and capture flies and other small insects.

Predators

Predators of orb weaving spiders include several bird species and wasps of the family Sphecidae. The wasps land on the web, lure the spider to the perimeter by imitating a struggling insect's vibrations, and then carry the spider away to be paralysed and stored as live food for their young.

Danger to humans

Orb weaving spiders are reluctant to bite. Symptoms are usually negligible or mild local pain, numbness and swelling. Occasionally nausea and dizziness can occur after a bite. Silver Orb Weaving Spiders have very small fangs and they are timid and reluctant to bite.


Can anyone identify this garden orb weaver spider? - Biology

I am waiting eagerly to see if the golden orb weavers emerge again this season. It's a real mystery what is going on. The summer of 2011 brought an influx of golden orb weavers such as the town had never seen before. Last year, there were none. As spring is springing, the obvious question is: will they return? And why weren't they here last year? One theory is given below. This year will tell if it's right! And the other mystery - how did the daddy long-legs know about the feast on offer?

First, a recap. When we moved to Castlemaine in Central Victoria, Australia, in April 2011, there was a glorious adult female golden orb weaver (Nephila edulis, family Nephilidae) at the front door to greet us. So she was named Welcome.

57 comments:

This is awe-inspiring, and a little bit funny, as you ended up with lots of spiders indoors, an event a spider lover like me finds wonderful. Finding out there is little or no research on a particular species is exciting, especially when one favors that species. As for the Daddy Long legs, I wonder if somehow scent is involved. Much of what spiders do is unknown, and that too, is exciting.

Thank you, ZBra. I am now back into blogging regularly as the season starts here. I can't wait to see if we get any Nephila this year.

Spiders are such amazing fun - and it is all there for free for anyone who just takes the time to get to know them!

Oh, and as for the scent attracting the daddy long-legs, that seems logical given they have chemical sensors in their hairs. But the juvenile Nephila are tiny, and the daddy long-legs must have been at least ten metres away, or I would have noticed them. You don't usually get five of them in close range. How strong is their scent detection? I have no idea, and doubt others do either. I'll check the gospel, Foelix's 'Biology of spiders' but I have read it thoroughly and certainly got no indication of long range scent detection. More research to be done.

I do adore watching a daddy long-legs pair on a web strumming out signals to each other. Is that language?

Hello, I live in Alabama, USA. The daddy long legs here are massive in size and regularly cluster in groups ranging from 3 to hundreds. It is quite a site to see. They seem to congregate as a family. They also clean the webs of other spiders by removing and eating the "leftovers", We also have many many large Golden Orb Weavers. Their common name here is Banana spiders. I have several living around the eaves of my home. And yes they are so fascinating to watch, along with all the other species that inhabit the corners and under eaves. I am starting to learn some of their names and habits. Was terribly afraid of them when we moved here but am now growing accustomed to them and even find myself feeling a little sad when one dies or disappears.

What you call daddy long-legs, we call harvestman. They have only a single body segment and don't make their own webs. I have seem a small cluster of very large daddy-long-legs / harvestmen in Texas, but nowhere near as large as you describe and I know can exist. I'd love to see it.

What we call daddy long-legs, you call cellar spiders. Very confusing!

I am delighted to hear about your changed attitude to your Golden Orb Weavers. The more you watch them, the more you will fall in love with them as individuals.

Thank you so much for writing!

It's been raining for 3 days now and I haven't seen my Golden Orb Spider. Is she missing or does she wait for the rain to stop before rebuilding?

I have noticed them disappear into the foliage during rain. Hopefully she will emerge when the rain is done. It is amazing how attached we can get to spiders we have been watching for a while. And Golden Orb Weavers are so stunning!

Please let me know if she emerges!

I have a garden orb weaver, that I have tended to in our kitchen just off the dinner table(which we never use to eat). She has built her web from the wall to the ceiling, to the large plant and the end of the table. I put strawberry top out in the Summer, that attract scores of fruit flies, she has moved her web higher and higher to catch them. When her web was a foot off the table, she didn't catch them, about a week of this she is now about 2 feet from the ceiling and catches quite a few a day. I will often herd them towards her web with a misty spray bottle. If I spray close to her, she climbs over to the plant and hides under a leaf or climbs high up to the top of her web near the wall in the corner. So I am guessing that is what she'd do if she were outside and it rained.
I have watched her since the first week of Summer back in June and it is now the first week of September and it has been both fascinating and a learning experience. From watching her feed and spinning her web, to molting about once every 3 weeks. She is quite big now. I named her Mickey.
Just tonight it appears she is laying her eggs as there is a small sac appearing right beside her, though it is difficult to say for sure until I can get a better look. I don't want to disturb her and it is difficult to see her up close, as the table is up against the back wall. I would have to climb on top and crawl over to see her up close. But if that is the case, then her life will be coming to a close and it will be time to move the sac outside, as I do not want baby spiders hatching in my kitchen. I will find a safe spot on my patio to put them. And hopefully one of her kids will join us next Summer. Truly a fascinating creature, that I have thoroughly enjoyed watching. Much to the puzzlement of my Teen aged Son, whom is not so fond of Spiders.

Thank you so much for such a wonderful story - and described so fully. This sounds delightful. The free entertainment on offer in nearly every house and garden is overlooked by almost everyone. I am so glad that you have been able to enjoy the fascination at such close range.

I've been watching a cross orb-weaver over the past couple months, she layed her eggs and passed away as of today when I checked. I nearly cried she was beautiful. I hope I get to see her babies hatch and grow. I'll be watching.

It is amazing how beautiful spiders are, especially the orb weavers, when you watch them over time and get to know the individuals. She had to die. It is the short lifespan they have. I do hope the young hatch and grow. They will ballon off and most - at least 99% - will not grow to maturity and breed. Any mature adult spider is a real survivor.

Let me know more of the saga if you see the young hatch! Thank you for the comment.

I've been lucky enough to have orbs in my garden for the last 10ish years. The same peach tree, each year, a large female grows and each year places her egg sac in the same peach tree before passing away. I still have the 'shell' of our first orb, we called her Shelby and each one following her has been Shelby2, Shelby3 and so on. We have a beautiful egg sac again in our tree and I'm always so impressed with these little wonders of nature. They have a place in my heart that's for sure.

I have enjoyed this read very much. I am an huge fan of spiders though must admit I know little about them. Will be sure to return regularly, thanks for sharing, Jilly

Delighted to meet you, Jilly. Thank you so much for your comments. I look forward to more!

This is interesting and terrifying. I have a garden spider across my front door and just saw the egg sac. You think I can safely move it before they hatch in the spring? I can avoid my front door for a few weeks and let her stay, but not for 8 months, and not when there is a spider explosion. (from Mississippi, USA)

The more you watch, the more they just become interesting and the terrifying goes.

I am not sure what you mean by 'garden spider' in Mississippi, but the orb weavers tend to die before winter. You can move the egg sac, but maybe wait until she has gone? Although, if it is a hassle, you can move her too. Just move part of the web and attach it to somewhere less obstructive. She will probably fix it up there rather than putting it back where it was.

All the best with it! Thank you for caring for the spider!

Thanks! They call them garden spiders here (among other things). She gets to stay, and I will wait til she dies to move the egg sac. I suspect there may eventually be other egg sacs since she eats a lot. We have Argiope aurantia here, at least that's what she appears to be. Thanks!

Ahh - Argiope, wonderful! I am jealous. Have fun watching her and then waiting for her spiderlings to hatch.

We have an Argirope aurantia in our back yard now. She came to us as an adult rescue spider. The family where she had been living called her HellSpawn, and the dad was going to try and poison her with WD--40. She had built her web across the shed, so she was not in a good place, and the family was afraid of her, which was worse. My daughter asked if she could take her home, and the family agreed. M caught her in a box and we release her in our backyard garden. Within a day she had made a lovely large web in a perfect place -- that was 3 weeks ago. She has caught a lot of bugs and my girls feed her grasshoppers from time to time to see her amazing spinnerets at work. She up, then disappeared today up by the eave if the house. We just checked in her now, and she has greatly deflated. Where she had been hanging by the eave we see an egg sac :) so That's what she was doing :)

What a great story! Thank you! Please tell your daughter that i think she is a hero!

Spiders are the best free entertainment (and education) in the world.

I just shared your comment with my daughter and she is very proud to be a Spider Hero :) We just came from the backyard where our Argirope has caught a grasshopper that is larger than her body. She is liquefying him now. Yesterday we learned a new thing: spiders can also eat prey whole. She caught a midge, and wrapped it lightly. We were wondering how she would liquefy it and the answer was she didn't: she crunched him up whole, like a taco. Just when you think you know your spiders, they surprise you!! :)

I am so pleased that your Argiope (is that her name as well as her genus?) is providing so much free and educational entertainment.

I think your new conclusion about eating food whole may be in error - or you are discovering new spider facts and your daughter needs to do a science project on it! Spiders will crunch up prey sometimes, but they still liquify what they are going to eat. They can only take in liquid and filter it finely as it goes into their mouths.

Are you getting plenty of photos? If so, please send me an email to l.kelly @ latrobe.edu.au (without the spaces). I'd love to see her and your daughter!

I work at a University in NW Florida and I have a beautiful female that lives right outside my office. Today she laid her egg sack!! I'm so excited I could burst! But I can't find any information on what happens to the female after she lays the sack, the general timeframe for the sack to hatch or approximately how many "grandbabies" I can be expecting. By any chance do you know any of this information?

I forgot to mention, she appears to be a "banana spider" or golden orb weaver.

It is so good to hear from you. I am so jealous. This sounds extraordinary.

I found information on the life cycle hard to find, but can tell you my observations. It partly depends on whether you are talking about a golden orb weaver or the yellow and black spider, Argiope, although I suspect the life cycle is fairly similar. Both are referred to as banana spiders.

A golden orb weaver egg sac is very golden. They are genus Nephila, as in the one above. In Florida, there is only one possible species, Nephila clavipes:

Is this the spider you have?

I expect she will then die with winter and her egg sac hatch later, but I am not sure. I would LOVE to hear more from you as you observe it, and see any photos. I would love to do a blog on your spider!

I submit my next book manuscript this week and then will get back to blogging spiders. I can wait!

Hi Lynne..I'm so glad I found your blog, I can't wait to delve into it some more! I live on the Florida panhandle so I guess our seasons are the exact opposite. Since late August I've had the privilege of caring for a beautiful golden orb weaver in my front shrubs. We had quite a few around here but I favored her. I fed her at least 2 grasshoppers everyday so in no time she was the biggest spider of them all. One day at the end of September I went out to feed her and she was super skinny so I figured she must have laid her egg sac sometime in the night. I was sort of sad because I have done a lot of reading on the orb weavers and I knew that meant her time was coming to an end. During the next couple of weeks I kept an extra close eye on her and she remained as lively as ever..also I never could find an egg sac. So I continued caring for her and eventually she became as fat as she was before. Then near the end of October we had our first cold spell, and very windy weather with hard rain. I knew she wouldn't make it. But the next morning I found that she had relocated during the storm higher up in a tree next to the shrubs (about eye level), and I couldn't find any of the other orb weavers. I wonder if she survived because she was so well-fed? Every time we had a cold night or a storm I would go out expecting not to see her and she would surprise me every time. So yesterday, November 18th, was a cold windy raining buckets kind of day, and this morning, she is gone. I never thought I'd be sad at the loss of a spider but I found her so amazing, therapeutic to watch, even. I see her egg sack now, under a leaf that was near her web. I'm not sure if she laid it that first time or sometime after, or if there was more than one sac, or what..It doesn't get as cold here as it does some places, but throughout the winter we will have some freezing weather. I don't see how that sack will survive. Do you think I should try to relocate it? And if so, where would you suggest? Do the sacks survive freezing weather? I'd love and appreciate any information you could give me. I have some pics and video of her but I don't think I can add it to the comment.
I hope to hear back from you!
❤ Poppy

Thank you so much for such a wonderful comment. Isn't it wonderful to follow the lives of individual spiders?

I have now sent off the manuscript for my next book to my publisher and can get back to blogging my precious spiders! Your post has inspired me to get back to taking the torch and camera out each night.

It does sound like your favourite (does she have a name?) has survived because she is so well fed and smart enough to relocate.

I know all about the sadness of losing a spider. I was devastated when I lost my wolf spider, Theresa, one of the stars of my book. I had taken hundreds of photos of her and she was quite used to my presence. She was part of my daily life. I even watered her when the weather was very hot and dry and she came up to drink the droplets every time.

The sac will survive, I assume, or there wouldn't be any spiders in the area. I have relocated a scam successfully, but I am not sure if it is necessary.

I'd love to see the pics and video. Then I can post them as a proper post. Can you send them to me at:

I am really keen to hear more of the story! Two correspondents from Florida now! Wow!

I'm so happy to hear my comment inspired you! My spider had the most common spider name you could imagine..I just couldn't help but to name her Charlotte, lol. Her tiny boyfriend was George. My husband swears he can't remember a year that we haven't had them on our property so I pray that I have another pet next year. He talked me out of relocating the sac, although I've been so tempted. We had our first cold, cold night and some crazy wind this year, but hubby keeps telling me that Charlotte knew what she was doing. I'm really glad I got some pics of her. I'm going to go through my carousel and find some of the best to send to you. Thank you so much for the reply and I look forward to reading your book!
Your friend, Poppy

My little garden orb weave is out at night and growing but I cannot find her resting place during the day, even though I now know what side of the web she is coming from. She is so well hidden. I can't deadhead the roses until I find her! I'd hate to prune her off the plant!

Thank you so much for the videos and photos. I have taken a few still from the videos and will blog about them. Unfortunately things were a bit blurry - but that was because of the wind. How amazing that she was feeding and wrapping her prey in that wind. The silk is so flexible!

I thought that I could see two females in the images. The males are much smaller, and the one against the blue sky and the one wrapping her prey appear to both be female. They look like Nephila calvipes to me.

I'll do a blog post about her and Rose and Mysti as well.

Maybe you can comment on that and tell me more!

I'm glad to see I'm not alone. We live in Michigan and we currently have a golden orb weaver on the front door of our old farmhouse. It has been in the upper corner of the brick door arch since early October and we are assuming female, so like the family above, we also named her Charlotte. The weather has been changing rapidly and she has, so far, survived strong 50+ mph wind gusts, rain storms, snow, etc. She is rather chubby and has grown on us. We have discussed whether we should bring her in for the winter and take care of her with the intention placing her back on the porch when spring arrives. However, I'm now concerned of the potential for babies. We've never seen a mate, but we are reading they can still lay an egg sac? I feel guilty just letting her die knowing harsher weather will surely arrive soon. I'm also going to call our local U of M Nature Center in hopes they'll accept her if we deliver. Any thoughts or leads to help? Thanks, Rose

It is so good to hear from you. When I was writing my spiders book, I interviewed the guys who did the animation of Charlotte for the film and told them what a huge impact they had on the attitude to spiders. They were delighted by that effect of their work.

I am afraid that her dying once she's laid the egg sac is the way of the world. I'd be really keen to hear of any alternatives. Your Charlotte is a real survivor - incredible aren't they?

The egg sac will almost certainly survive. If they didn't, there would be any adults for the following season. I would be interested to know how the Nature Center responds.

As for the male, they are much smaller that the female. Although in most spider species, the males can live on after breeding, that isn't always the case with golden orb weavers. The female will often eat them after mating.

I have photos now from Poppy. Would love to see any you have as well.

Thank you again for writing and please send updates!

Hi Lynne and Happy New Year! I am your third Floridian! I love this post. You have a heart of gold to save all those babies. I am in a situation myself. I took down the sac of my friend who lived between the porch posts this summer (a nephila clavipes), it was on the porch ceiling and would have been destroyed during pressure washing. I took it down on the last day of the year and had it outdoors in a glass year with a breathable lid while trying to decide where to put it. Today the nymphs hatched!! They picked the first freeze of the season!! When I saw they were coming out (at sundown), I put the sac in a shallow dish of leaf litter on a table on the porch. About thirty of them were in the jar but stuck in a bit of condensation. I brought the jar inside and they have all dried off an are trying to exit the jar. Should I put them outside tomorrow even though the high will be about 55F? I am worried they won't survive as it will probably freeze tomorrow as well (predicted low is 35F tomorrow but you never know). Do you have any thoughts for me? I have emailed the local extension office for the university here and set a question in BugGuide.net, but an internet search did not illuminate questions on nymph survival in freezing conditions of day of hatching. :( I hope the best for my little friend's babies but am at a loss as to how to proceed.

Happy new year to you and all spider-lovers in Florida.

What a fascinating story. If I can do my calculations right, 35 is close to freezing, about 1.7 deg C. That is cold, but I am pretty sure they can survive it. I am very keen to know what BugGuide or anyone else suggest. I suspect Nature knows better than we do.

Unfortunately, the reality is that most will not survive whatever you do. If they do their first moult when all confined together, they will start feasting on sibling stew and most will die anyway. Not pretty!

Sorry, but my advice is that they need to be free to leave. PLEASE let me know what happens!

Thanks for your response, Lynne,

I put the dish with the leaf debris and the sac in a tall brown paper grocery bag the garage and the little jar with the others laid on side with opening toward the sac. The garage was a little warmer than the outdoors. Just checked and no one is doing much, littles were still in the jar and no one else has exited the sac. the jar occupants were all on a couple of paper towel pieces so I gently dumped them into the litter by the sac. Maybe too cold for them to move much? It is about 45-50 in the garage. Maybe keep them there until they start to move and then put them outside? I have not heard back from anyone else. No moulting yet.

I will let you know what happens, a bunch of thanks once again!

Looking forward to the next instalment!

Hi, I'm Edie from Folsom, La. and enjoy my nephlia clavipes, but have only seen one Agriope Aurantia several years ago and no more since. I have eight acres and also more Nephlia clavipes than I can count, but treasure each one. So far I have been unable to locate an egg sac, but will keep looking and would like specific information on how to preserve it over the winter and the best possible release of the babies in the early spring. Most of my females have a male in the web with them or one close by. Thank you so much for all the information you have shared. I lost all I could find the year after the Katrina hurricane, but the population has rallied. Edie Stumpf

HI Edie. Thank you for writing!

I would adore to have more Nephila than I could count. In fact, one would be nice. We have had almost none in the area ever since the burst of activity when I took the photographs above a few years ago. But we have just had a wetter winter after years of drought, so maybe they'll be back this year. I also hope we'll have Argiope. In both, of course, we have different species but they are very like yours.

I find the egg sacs very hard to find. I only collected the egg sac because it was attached to a structure which was going to be moved. I think that wherever the spider leaves it is the most likely to be successful. If you want to observe it by moving it, then somewhere outside would be best. Inside would be too dry and warm.

I am so pleased they have rallied after the cyclone. Please let me know if you find the egg sac, and any other observations.

Hi don't know if you still on here. I have had 4 golden orb spiders in my yard. The females kept traveling around the yard and i was following them with the movements, very hard when they decide to move over night and the hunt begins to look for them all the time. I found 2 sacs of eggs in my tree and didn't think they left anything, but to my surprise while pruning my tree i found them and did a Google search and came to your blog. Thank you for putting up pictures of them so I know what they actually look like. I will be looking out for when the babies do come out of the sac. I have never had any golden orb spiders in my yard before. Only this year I saw the 4. But after the storms we had in the Cape this winter, I haven't found any of them. Cheers Chants

Yes, I am still here. Since the Spiders books was published, I became obsessed with the topic of my PhD and most recent two books. But I still adore my spiders as much as ever. I hope to have more time to big here now that my new book , The Memory Code, is out.

How wonderful to have 4 golden orb weavers. I wonder why they are moving. Mine usually don't do that. It sounds like an adventure to find them each day! It's great that you found the egg sacs. The one in these photos are the only ones I have ever found in my own yard.

The numbers each year do seem to vary a lot, but I am not sure that any studies have been done which know why. I have asked arachnologists and they all acknowledge that the numbers can vary hugely year to year, but don't know why. They suspect it is to do with weather.

I have no idea where you are. The Cape could be in Australia or South Africa or lots of other places. Where are you?


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