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Labyrinthine Orb Weaver Spider (Metepeira labyrinthia)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Labyrinthine Orb Weaver Spider.

 Updated: 8/23/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




Labyrinthine Orb Weaver Spiders have distinctive double webs that help them use their surroundings to camouflage themselves.



The web of this spider is made of tight concentric rings, like the circular mazes seen on kid menus. It is one part of the web; the other part is a tangled mess that makes up a retreat. This configuration may help identify the spider sitting near it. The Labyrinthine Orb Weaver Spider conceals itself in the retreat web using dried leaves or other debris to help camouflage it. The spider sits with its legs tucked under and around itself in a narrow hiding spot, like a curled leaf, while waiting for insects to become ensnared in the larger web. Once a prey item is snagged in the web, the Labyrinthine Orb Weaver Spider moves toward it, bites it to immobilize it with venom, and then proceeds to wrap the prey in a cocoon of spider silk where it will remain until the spider wants to consume it.

A Labyrinthine Orb Weaver is brown with a distinct pattern on the abdomen. A jagged-edged black triangle points to the rear. This black area is surrounded with a white border with fine white dashes along the middle. Two sets of white curls begin near the waist. A stripe of light hairs runs down the center of this black triangle. Legs have brown-orange 'thighs', but the rest of is covered with wide black and white bands.

Adults are active from early spring to late fall. Males stop building and maintaining webs once they mature. Reproduction occurs in rainy spells during spring. Females wrap multiple egg sacs in silk, stranding them together like a string of pearls. This strand of egg sacs is then attached to her web and disguised as debris thanks to the twigs and leaves she places around it. She will guard her egg sacs until the spiderlings hatch and jump off her web to start lives of their own.
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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
      Order: Araneae
        Family: Araneidae
          Genus: Metepeira
            Species: labyrinthia
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Metepeira labyrinthia
Other Name(s): Labyrinth Orbweaver
Category: Spider
Size (Adult; Length): 5mm to 10mm (0.20in to 0.39in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; black; tan; gray; orange
Descriptors: biting, venomous, black and white legs, barb, arrow
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
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
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Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
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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).