Cribellate Orb Weaver (Uloborus spp.)
Detailing the identifying qualities of the Cribellate Orb Weaver, including physical features and territorial reach.
Updated: 1/3/2014; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The tropical Cribellate Orb Weaver spins very fine silk webs that ensnare without need for adhesion.
The legs of this spider are hairy with flared, feathery tufts of hair at the 'ankles'. The front pairs of legs are extremely long. Often, these front legs are clustered next to each other, elongating the size of the spider as it sits on its web. The abdomen has two bumps, near the thorax, giving it a more boxy appearance as opposed to the more typical round shape of other spiders.
Webs are built flat and parallel to the ground, at or around knee-height. The spider sits on, or near it, in a 'tucked' position, and sometimes on the underside of the web, giving it the appearance of a dead flower or piece of leaf. The Cribellate Orb Weaver creates a web that lacks sticky silk. Instead, small prey get tangled in the tiny gaps between the fine threads in such a way that the typical 'glue' other spiders have on their silk is not necessary. The cribellum on the legs allow the spider to 'comb' its web, keeping the fine strands separated until prey enters.
This tiny spider is found in humid, tropical climates and lacks venom. They kill their victims by winding them tightly in silk, squeezing them to death.