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Orb Weaver (Araneus spp.)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Orb Weaver.




Orb Weavers come in a variety of colors and patterns, but their spiral shaped webs and rounded abdomen help in identify this helpful garden spider.



 Updated: 1/24/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




Orb Weavers are a commonly seen spider in gardens and trees. They all seem to have a bulbous abdomen and build circular webs that they sit in. Many are orange, brown, and black. Legs of an Orb Weaver are generally very long, giving length to the overall size of the spider. Males are about 6 mm long, while females can be 10 mm to 20 mm long.

Habitats for Orb Weavers range from tall grasses to the quiet corners inside homes and under protected porches. The web is a masterpiece and the Orb Weaver sits in the middle, head facing downwards, waiting for prey to enter. 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 anything 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 re-spin a new web every night. Their proficiency at nighttime hunting and propensity to eat many insects make them a great tool 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 may notice the mosquito population dwindle in the dusk-to-nighttime hours. Webs set among garden plants help with pest control organically.


General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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Hairy insect icon
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Spiny / Spiky insect icon
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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
      Order: Araneae
        Family: Araneidae [ View More ]
          Genus: Araneus [ View More ]
            Species: spp.
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Descriptors
Scientific Name: Araneus spp.
Other Name(s): Orb Weaver
Category: Spider
Size (Adult; Length): 6mm to 25mm (0.23in to 0.98in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: orange, brown, yellow, black, white
Descriptors: up-side-down, hairy, spiky, biting, venomous, helpful
Relative Size Comparison
Lo: 6mm | Hi: 25mm
Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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
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Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns.
Territorial Map
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
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Spider Anatomy
Graphic showing basic parts of spider anatomy
1
Legs: Spiders have four pairs of legs and these are attached to the cephalothorax.
2
Pedipalps: Small appendages near the mouth used as taste and smell organs.
3
Cephalothorax: Contains eyes, head, mouthparts, and legs.
4
Abdomen: Contains various organs related to digestion, reproduction, and web-making.
5
Spinnerets: Used in the production of spider silk for fashioning webs or catching prey.
NOTE: Unlike insects, spiders have both an endoskeleton (internal) and exoskeleton (external).