Orb Weaver (Araneus spp.)
Detailing the identifying qualities of the Orb Weaver, including physical features and territorial reach.
Updated: 11/2/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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.