Insect Identification
Insect Identification

Orb Weaver - (Araneus spp.)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 1/27/2014

Orb Weavers come in a variety of colors and patterns (or lack thereof). Their spiral shaped webs and rounded abdomen may help in identifying this helpful garden spider.

Orb Weavers come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. Common traits among some include the rounded abdomen and orange-to-brown and brown or black coloring - those this colors may vary per species. Legs of an Orb Weaver are generally very long, giving it a menacing look, and their overall body size can range from 6mm for males and up to 10mm to 20mm for the females.

Habitats can range from tall grasses to corners of homes or under protected porches. Their webs a stage and the Orb Weaver sits in the middle, head facing downwards, waiting for prey to come upon their net. If the spider is not in the middle of the web, it is usually nearby monitoring the web by way of a "signal" line still attached to the spider. The moment a prey gets entangled in the sticky web, the signal line vibrates and the spider comes out to finish its work.

It is reported that Orb Weavers will re-spin a new web every night. Their proficiency at nighttime hunting and propensity to enjoy insects makes them a great aid in lowering mosquito populations. If you find an Orb Weaver near your front door or deck, and it is not in an intimidating area for you or your guests, keep it around and you'll notice the mosquito population dwindle in the dusk-to-nighttime hours.

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Category: Spider
Common name: Orb Weaver
Scientific Name: Araneus spp.
Other Names: Orb Weaver

  Kingdom: Animalia
   Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
     Order: Araneae
      Family: Araneidae
       Genus: Araneus
        Species: spp.

Adult Size (Length): 6mm to 20mm (0.24in to 0.79in)

Identifying Colors: orange, brown, yellow, black, white

Additional Descriptors: up-side-down, hairy, spiky, biting, venomous, helpful

North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

* Keep in mind that insect reach is not governed by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.