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Cat-Faced Spider (Araneus gemmoides)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Cat-Faced Spider.

 Updated: 2/14/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




The Cat-Faced Spider is every gardener's friend, keeping watch over plants and consuming loads of pest insects.



The Cat-Faced Spider is a common name shared by this species and second North American spider. Its other common name, Jewel Spider is also shared with an Australian spider. This name duplication illustrates the usefulness of using scientific names when addressing the identity of living things, which prompts gratitude for the work of Carl Linnaeus, the father of scientific nomenclature.

This harmless spider is an angulate spider, meaning it has two pronounced bumps at the top of its abdomen. The 'cat face' on the abdomen is created by these bumps, which form cat ears, and the pattern in the center of the abdomen, which forms the facial features. This face is usually up-side-down in the garden because this spider prefers to sit with its head toward the ground. The individual spider may vary in color. Some are pale; others are a rich, tawny brown. Usually, a large female is found hiding in plant leaves or debris off to the side of the web, waiting to sense a tremor on the lines of her web. Males are smaller. A female will create an egg sac that holds about a hundred fertilized eggs in it. This egg sac will overwinter and in the spring, the spiderlings emerge and disperse using silk lines to help carry them away to new homes.




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
      Order: Araneae
        Family: Araneidae
          Genus: Araneus
            Species: gemmoides
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Araneus gemmoides
Other Name(s): Jewel Spider
Category: Spider
Size (Adult; Length): 5mm to 26mm (0.20in to 1.01in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown, white, yellow, ivory, red
Descriptors: spiky, bumpy, hairy, horns, biting, venomous, harmless, shoulders, angulate
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
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
Canadian National Flag Graphic
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. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.




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).