The spines on the side of this female spider make it unique and easy to recognize. Males are considerably smaller than females and they lack the spines. There are a variety of species in this genus and colors vary.
Like other orb weavers, it creates a web that is circular in shape, only it has few or no spirals at the center of its web. Each night, a new web is spun to catch small insect prey. The spider stands up-side-down on the web.
Late in the year, the female will lay eggs that will grow throughout winter, hatching spiderlings in the spring. The oval-shaped egg sac is near the web, usually hidden underneath leaves. It may be white, green or yellowish, but it is woven of the spider's silk.
Common name: Spiny Backed Orb Weaver
Scientific Name: Gasteracantha spp.
Other Names: Crablike Spiny Orb Weaver Spider
Adult Size (Length): 2mm to 10mm (0.08in to 0.39in) COMPARE
Identifying Colors: orange; black; white; yellow; red
General Description: spikes, flat, spines, thorns, spots, 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
* 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.