Insect Identification
Insect Identification

Labyrinthine Orb Weaver Spider - (Metepeira labyrinthia)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 1/22/2014

Labyrinthine Orb Weaver Spiders have distinctive webs to the trained eye. They create a double web and use their surroundings to camouflage themselves.

The web of this spider is more like a starburst, rather than a typical orb, making it unique and easy to identify. It is a two-part web: a more typical orb web in front of a tangled mess of a retreat web.
The Labyrinthine Orb Weaver Spider will conceal itself in the retreat web using dried leaves or other debris to help camouflage it. The spider will sit, legs tucked under and around itself in a tight spot, like a curled leaf, while waiting for insects to become ensnared in the larger web.

Once a prey item is snagged in the web, the Labyrinthine Orb Weaver Spider will go to it, bite it to immobilize it with venom and then proceed to wrap the prey in a cocoon of spider silk where it will remain until the spider wants to consume it.

Adults are active from early spring to late fall. Males stop building and maintaining webs once they mature. Reproduction occurs in rainy spring. Females wrap multiple egg sacs in silk, stranding them together like a string of pearls. This strand of egg sacs is then attached to her web and disguised at debris by putting twigs and leaves around it. She will guard her egg sacs until the spiderlings hatch and jump off her web to start lives of their own.

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Category: Spider
Common name: Labyrinthine Orb Weaver Spider
Scientific Name: Metepeira labyrinthia
Other Names: Labyrinth Orbweaver

  Kingdom: Animalia
   Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
     Order: Araneae
      Family: Araneidae
       Genus: Metepeira
        Species: labyrinthia

Adult Size (Length): 5mm to 10mm (0.20in to 0.39in)

Identifying Colors: brown; black; tan; gray; orange

Additional Descriptors: biting, venomous

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.