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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.




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



 Updated: 10/26/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




The Cat-faced Spider is a common name shared by this species and a 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 two bumps, which form the cat's 'ears', and the pattern in the center of the abdomen, which forms the 'face'. This spider is usually up-side-down in the garden, preferring to sit with its head toward the ground. Each individual spider may vary in color. Some are quite 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 threads of silk. 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.


General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
      Order: Araneae
        Family: Araneidae [ View More ]
          Genus: Araneus [ View More ]
            Species: gemmoides
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Descriptors
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
Relative Size Comparison
Lo: 5mm | Hi: 26mm
Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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
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.
Territorial Map
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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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.
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Abdomen: Contains various organs related to digestion, reproduction, and web-making.
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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).