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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 ¬©

  Orb Weaver  
Picture of Arboreal-Orb-Weaver

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.

Picture of the Orb Weaver
Picture of the Orb Weaver

Orb Weaver Information

Category: Spider
Common Name: Orb Weaver
Scientific Name: Araneus spp.
Other Name(s): Orb Weaver

Taxonomy Hierarchy

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

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 6 mm to 20 mm (0.234 inches to 0.78 inches)
Identifying Colors: orange, brown, yellow, black, white
Additional Descriptors: up-side-down, hairy, spiky, biting, venomous, helpful

North American Territorial 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

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that 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. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

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