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Cat-Faced Spider (Araneus gemmoides)

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

 Updated: 2/14/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Cat-Faced Spider  
Picture of Cat-Faced-Spider

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.

Picture of the Cat-Faced Spider
Picture of the Cat-Faced Spider

Cat-Faced Spider Information

Category: Spider
Common Name: Cat-Faced Spider
Scientific Name: Araneus gemmoides
Other Name(s): Jewel Spider

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: gemmoides

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 5 mm to 26 mm (0.195 inches to 1.014 inches)
Identifying Colors: brown, white, yellow, ivory, red
Additional Descriptors: spiky, bumpy, hairy, horns, biting, venomous, harmless, shoulders, angulate

North American Territorial Reach (Though Not Limited To): Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Mexico; North Dakota; Oklahoma; Oregon; South Dakota; Texas; Utah; Washington; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; Quebec; Saskatchewan;

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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