Insect Identification logo

Spiny Backed Orb Weaver (Gasteracantha spp.)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Spiny Backed Orb Weaver, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 9/13/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Spiny Backed Orb Weaver  
Picture of Spiny-Backed-Orb-Weaver

You can look, but don't touch the Spiny-backed Orbweaver spider. Those thorns help keep predators at bay.

The spines on the side of this female spider make it unique and easy to recognize. Males are considerably smaller than females and they lack the spines. There are a variety of species in this genus and colors vary.

Like other orb weavers, it creates a web that is circular in shape, only it has few or no spirals at the center of its web. Each night, a new web is spun to catch small insect prey. The spider stands up-side-down on the web.

Late in the year, the female will lay eggs that will grow throughout winter, hatching spiderlings in the spring. The oval-shaped egg sac is near the web, usually hidden underneath leaves. It may be white, green or yellowish, but it is woven of the spider's silk.

Picture of the Spiny Backed Orb Weaver
Picture of the Spiny Backed Orb Weaver

Spiny Backed Orb Weaver Information

Category: Spider
Common Name: Spiny Backed Orb Weaver
Scientific Name: Gasteracantha spp.
Other Name(s): Crablike Spiny Orb Weaver 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: Gasteracantha
       Arrow graphic Species: spp.

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 2 mm to 10 mm (0.078 inches to 0.39 inches)
Identifying Colors: orange; black; white; yellow; red
Additional Descriptors: spikes, flat, spines, thorns, spots, biting, venomous

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

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.

Images Gallery


BugFinder: What is it?