Orb weavers are some of the most common spiders in gardens. They also live in parks, forests, and grassland.
Orb weavers are types of spiders mainly known for building spirals-shaped webs. These webs have both sticky and non-sticky parts.
Orb weavers use their third pair of legs to walk on the non-sticky part of the web either to look for trapped insects or to repair their webs.
Many orb weavers are also known for building a completely new spiral wheel-shaped web every day.
Table of Contents
Orb weavers are spiders that build spiral wheel-shaped webs. Part of the Araneidae family.
Orb weavers are some of the most intriguing spiders. Often seen in the tall grass around the garden, these spiders are generally colorful.
Orb weavers have a colorful body with a typically large bulbous abdomen and 8 eyes. Their legs are either covered in small spines or short hairs. Orb weavers are also known as spiders that can have an irregular-shaped abdomen.
Orb weavers eat many types of small bugs and insects that get caught up on their webs such as moths, flies, and even wasps.
Female orb weavers are also known to eat male orb-weavers after mating, mainly as females are larger and as it’s easier for them to overpower male spiders.
Orb weavers build spider webs. They are attached to these webs and use them as a means to get food. These types of spiders are nocturnal. Most of their web repair and web-build activities are only visible at night.
Orb weavers are known to live around the world. There are almost 4.000 worldwide species of orb weaver spiders. They are found in tall grass, short grass, shrubs, woodlands, and even in coastal areas. Orb weavers are also common in the US.
Types of Orb Weavers
1. Yellow Garden Spider
Scientific name: Argiope aurantia
Common name: Yellow garden spider, black and yellow garden spider, golden garden spider, writing spider, zigzag spider, zipper spider, black and yellow argiope, corn spider, Steeler spider, McKinley spider
The Yellow Garden Spider is the most common orb weaver. The species is known for its preference for building spider webs in open fields, particularly those that get sufficient sun exposure.
These brown, black, and yellow species grow to a maximum size of 28mm. Female Yellow Garden Spiders are responsible for building spider webs that may trap all types of flies and even geckos.
These spiders are mildly venomous but not dangerous to humans. Some Yellow Garden spiders are known to bite. However, it’s rare for these spiders to be associated with biting unless roughly handled.
Apart from their bright yellow marks, these spiders are also known for building some of the largest webs among orb weavers. Their spider webs can measure up to a few feet in diameter, especially when the female spiders find 4-5 anchoring points for the web.
2. Spotted Orbweaver
Scientific name: Neoscona crucifera
Common name: Hentz orbweaver, spotted orbweaver, barn spider
Spotted Orbweavers are known to come in 3 colors. They are either tan, red-brown, or orange-red. Rarer yellow-brown Spotter Orbweavers can also be seen in remote areas of the country.
These spiders are known for having hairy bodies and hairy legs. Their hairs are rather thick resembling bristles.
While nocturnal, Spotted Orbweavers can also be seen during the day on occasion, mainly next to their spider web. This web is rather large as it can expand up to 2 feet.
Spotted Orbweavers have a common habitat for this genus of spiders. They prefer woodlands and parks but they’re often seen next to homes, particularly in the garden.
Spiders of this genus are rather large and have a smaller number of predators. Young Spotter Orbweavers are easier to prey on. Mud dauber wasps are known to see young spiders as this genus as good prey.
3. Spinybacked Orbweaver
Scientific name: Gasteracantha cancriformis
Common name: Spinybacked orbweaver
One of the characteristics of orb-weaver species is that it often comes in species that have an irregular shape. This irregular shape is seen on species such as the Spinyback Orbweaver.
These spiders are identified by their abdominal projections. 6 abdominal projections are common for the species. Females are easily seen compared to males as they’re a few times larger.
Spinybacked Orbweavers have a white body with black spots and rusty-brown abdominal projections. Their legs are black.
These spiders are common in parks and gardens. They are known to rely on spider webs to catch a large range of insects.
Preferred prey for the orb weavers includes whiteflies, beetles, and moths.
4. Golden Silk Spider
Scientific name: Trichonephila clavipes
Common name: Golden silk orb-weaver, golden silk spider, banana spider
The Golden Silk Spider gets its name from the yellow web it builds. This yellow and brown orb weaver is sometimes known as the Banana spider.
Golden Silk spiders are endemic to North and South America. It’s mostly found in Southern US but its range expands to South America.
The orb-weaver is known for building complex spider webs. These are used to catch all types of insects.
Spiders of this species prefer to immobilize prey by injecting venom, unlike many orb weavers that wrap caught-up insects in silk.
While the Golden Silk spider is mildly venomous, it’s not aggressive towards humans. Its venom is not dangerous to people either.
The size of the Golden Silk Spider is also important. This orb weaver grows to a maximum size of 40mm. By some estimations, it’s the largest orb weaver in the US.
5. Cross Orbweaver
Scientific name: Araneus diadematus
Common name: European garden spider, diadem spider, orangie, cross spider, crowned orb weaver
This large orb weaver is known for having a gray body and brown or dark markings that form the shape of a cross on its back.
Cross Orbweavers come from Europe. They have been accidentally introduced to North America where they’re now widespread.
The Cross Orbweaver is known to build solid large spider webs. It’s the large females that are responsible for building these webs.
Once the web is ready the female drops from its center point using a silk line, typically in a leaf of some type of vegetation where it remains hidden until an insect gets caught up in its web.
The species also show a high level of aggression from the female to the male. The female spider can eat the male spider after mating.
6. Banded Garden Spider
Scientific name: Argiope trifasciata
Common name: Banded garden spider, banded orb weaving spider
The Banded Garden spider is found across North America. The species is known for its tan-brown coloring and yellow bands that run across its body.
Banded Garden spiders are known to build large spider webs to catch prey. These spider webs measure an average of 23 inches.
A distinct trait of the Banded Garden spider web is that it’s also characterized by various decorations known as stabilimenta.
These decorations have an unproven role or benefit as nobody knows why spiders prefer to decorate their webs by this method.
Some theories suggest the Banded Garden spider adds decoration to its spider web so that birds see it to avoid it when flying nearby.
7. Marbled Orbweaver
Scientific name: Araneus marmoreus
Common name: Marbled orbweaver, pumpkin spider, orange pumpkin
The Marbled Orbweaver is also known as the Pumpkin spider. The round bulbous shape of the abdomen of the females of the species is known for influencing its nickname.
Spiders of the genus have an orange or a yellow abdomen. They have short wide legs compared to the long thin legs of the Banded Garden spider.
Marbled Orbweavers are found in dense vegetation even in parks and homes. Its preferred habitat is among streams and rivers in riparian areas.
This spider is known for building a vertical spider web. The female builds the web and then spins a hiding cocoon to provide cover.
Spiders of the genus are normally easy to spot, especially the larger females as they can grow up to 20mm.
8. Spined Micrathena
Scientific name: Micrathena gracilis
Common name: Spined micrathena, castleback orbweaver
The Spined Micrathena spider is one of the smaller orb-weaver species. It grows to a maximum size between 8 and 10mm.
Spiders of the genus are known for their spiked white and black body. Their irregular shape is characteristic of many types of orb-weaver species.
Spined Micrathena orb weavers are known for building spider webs to catch small insects. These spiders are nocturnal and they repair the central section of a spider web each night.
It may take 7-10 days for the Spined Micrathena orb-weaver to move on to another location to build a new spider web.
The species is known for frequently moving around. This helps it catch more insects.
Orb weavers of the genus are known for preferring oak and hickory forests as their habitat as these are high moisture areas easier for them to attract certain types of flies.
These orb weavers also produce venom. However, this venom isn’t dangerous to people.
9. Furrow Orbweaver
Scientific name: Larinioides cornutus
Common name: Furrow spider, furrow orb spider, foliate spider
The Furrow Orbweaver resembled the Marbled Orbweaver. It has a bulbous abdomen that can be pink, yellow, brown, or gray. The top of the abdomen is generally of a lighter color.
Orb weavers of the species are known to grow to a size between 6 and 14mm. They prefer moist environments and they often find themselves next to water sources.
These spiders create webs in grass or shrubs. They are known for eating a wide range of insects.
Mating starts when the female begins emitting pheromones to lure in males. This is a time when these otherwise solitary species begin living together.
The female lives with the male for up to a few days for mating purposes. Many males die afterward by being eaten by the female.
10. Arrowhead Orbweaver
Scientific name: Verrucosa arenata
Common name: Triangle orb weaver, arrowhead spider, arrowhead orbweaver
The Arrowhead Orbweaver is one of the main species of orb weavers that doesn’t have an irregular shape or a bulbous body. It has an arrow-shaped abdomen which inspires its name.
This spider has generally known for its rusty red-brown coloring and light yellow markings on its triangular abdomen.
Arrowhead Orbweavers are also found in multiple other colors, especially white and pink in the case of male spiders.
The species is known for building some of the strongest spider webs. They create anchoring points, a central area, and then move on with powerful threads from the central area towards multiple other anchoring points.
This makes the web of the Arrowhead Orbweaver very efficient at catching insects in its central section.
Spiders of the genus are also known for being mildly venomous, albeit not to people. They insert a small amount of venom in insects which liquefies their bodies and makes them easier to consume.
11. Western Spotted Orbweaver
Scientific name: Neoscona oaxacensis
Common name: Western spotted orbweaver, zig-zag spider
The Western Spotter Orbweaver is found in gardens, parks, and other riparian areas.
Spiders of the species are known for the bulbous abdomen which can be gray, white, yellow, or red with a central line running from the head to the end of the abdomen.
The specie exhibits a few distinct traits among orb weavers. It doesn’t spin a zigzag thread in the middle of the spider web as other spiders.
Western Spotted orb weavers are still efficient at catching insects and bugs. They routinely eat flies and beetles which get caught up in their spider webs.
12. Silver Garden Orbweaver
Scientific name: Argiope argentata
Common name: Silver garden orbweaver, silver argiope
The Silver Garden orb weaver is a genus of black and white spider that builds a zigzag pattern spider web.
Studies suggest this species knows how to male UV threads which are believed to attract certain types of insects and flies.
These are among the mildly venomous species found in the South humans aren’t affected by in case of a bite.
Spiders use their venom to immobilize prey. The larger prey is the more venom it inserts in it.
These orb weavers are generally friendly towards people. They don’t bite unless squeezed. Most of their bites aren’t painful but red skin in the bitten area is common.
13. Arabesque Orbweaver
Scientific name: Neoscona arabesca
Common name: Arabesque orbweaver
The Arabesque Orbweaver is a species found all around the world. It’s recognized by a small body.
These spiders have a black body with white and red markings. From a size perspective, they are considerably smaller than other spiders of the genus.
Male Arabesque Orbweavers grow to a size of around 5-6mm.
These spiders are nocturnal. Females only come out at night to check on possible prey on the spider web.
Females of the genus spend the night repairing the spider web or resting at its central point.
During the day, the female prefers to hide in a nearby place.
This species is of no concern to humans as it rarely bites.
14. Red-femured Spotted Orbweaver
Scientific name: Neoscona domiciliorum
Common name: Spotted orbweaver, red-femured spotted orbweaver
The Red-femured Spotter Orbweaver is a species found in the Southeastern US states. It can be found in hardwood woodlands.
Spiders of the genus grow up to 16mm and they can be recognized by a white or yellow irregular-shaped band that runs across their abdomen.
Females of the species build spider webs but hide nearby during the day. They attach themselves to the web through a single silk thread.
This single silk thread acts as a warning in case something gets trapped on the web.
Members of this species aren’t easily seen by people as they don’t inhabit gardens and suburban areas.
Their nocturnal nature also makes them difficult to see during the day. They aren’t dangerous to people even if they rarely bite.
15. Arrow-shaped Orbweaver
Scientific name: Micrathena sagittata
Common name: Arrow-shaped orbweaver
The Arrow-Shaped Orbweaver is a species that gets its name from its arrow-shaped abdomen. This species has a white or yellow abdomen that resembles the tip of an arrow.
Eggs hatch in the spring and spiders of this genus live up to a year. They die at the end of the fall.
Most orb weavers of the genus are only found in hardwood woodlands.
They spin spider webs and use them to trap insects. These spider webs are sticky so that small insects can get away if they fly into them.
16. Tropical Orbweaver
Scientific name: Eriophora ravilla
Common name: Tropical orbweaver
The Tropical Orbweaver is a species known to be widely common in Florida. This tropical spider is known to be among the nocturnal spiders of this genus.
Female spiders of the family build their spider webs in the evening and take them down early in the morning.
Tropical Orbweavers are known for their capacity to eat a wide range of flies, insects, and bugs, including moths.
17. Six-spotted Orbweaver
Scientific name: Araniella displicata
Common name: Six-spotted orbweaver
The species of spiders gets its name from the 6 spots on the abdomen. It has a dark green and light green body as it lives in grass and shrubs.
This species is also known to live in forests. Moving frequently to catch different insects, individuals of the species are known to prefer flies.
While not sharing their habitat with humans, they can occasionally be spotted in open fields as well.
18. Basilica Orbweaver
Scientific name: Mecynogea lemniscata
Common name: Basilica orbweaver
The Basilica Orbweaver looks different from the standard spider of the genus. It has an elongated body that’s almost rectangular.
This species of spider comes in many colors. Green is the dominant color of the species followed by yellow and white.
Its body is known to have yellow and white stripes on the abdomen.
These orb weavers create the standard dome-shaped webs. During the mating season, this web becomes more complex as it holds the egg sack laid by the female as well.
Spider webs of this genus are rarely reconstructed elsewhere as these spiders prefer to always work to repair an existing web instead of building a new one.
19. Grey Cross Spider
Scientific name: Larinioides sclopetarius
Common name: Bridge spider, grey cross spider
Grey Cross Spiders are atypical orb weavers. They live on metal surfaces or under bridges. Preferred habitats include populated areas with artificial light at night.
Spiders of the genus use street lighting that attracts insects, mainly of the Chironomidae genus. This type of fly is known to gravitate toward artificial light sources at night.
Females, young spiders, and even males are sometimes seen on the spider web.
The more spiders are present in an area the least likely they are to move on to build a spider web in another location.
Seeing these spiders at night can be difficult as they’re among the smaller species of orb weavers. Most measure anywhere between 4 and 6mm.
20. Jorō Spider
Scientific name: Trichonephila clavata
Common name: Jorō spider
This yellow and black spider is native to East Asia regions of Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. It has been introduced to the US where hopes are high for it to become a dominant species among those that eat invasive insects.
This orb weaver has already begun to eat stink bugs as well as other invasive species in the US.
Its exact impact on the environment isn’t known. It was first introduced to Georgia but it’s expected to expand its habitat on the Eastern Coast within a few years.
21. Giant Lichen Orbweaver
Scientific name: Araneus bicentenarius
Common name: Giant lichen orbweaver
The Giant Lichen Orbweaver is important due to its web and its widespread distribution in the US.
It’s found in most Eastern states as well as in Canada.
This spider is identified by its green and black hairy body with short green and black hairs.
Most importantly, it’s one of the orb weavers known to spin a very large spider web. Its web can be as large as 8 feet in diameter making it one of the largest orb weaver webs in North America.
Growing to a maximum size of 1 inch, this large spider is very efficient at trapping insects. However, it’s rarely seen during the day as a nocturnal species.
22. Shamrock Orbweaver
Scientific name: Araneus trifolium
Common name: Shamrock orbweaver
The Shamrock Orbweaver is one of the many gray or tan to brown species in the US. It can be distinguished from other similarly-colored species by the white marks on its abdomen.
This species is known for creating a new spider web each day. They begin making it early in the morning by first eating the remaining spider web from the previous day.
The female will then hang upside down connected to the spider web all day.
Mating occurs in the fall when the female deposits egg sacks. Once the young spiders emerge they are ready to move on with their lives on their own and build personal spider webs.
However, the eggs females of the species lay don’t hatch in the fall. They remain dormant during the winter only hatching in the spring.