|Orb Weaver Spider - Mangora placida|
Family Araneidae - Orb-Weavers.
Live adult spiders photographed in the wild at Warrenville, Illinois. Size: 3-7mm
Spider Index | Spider Main | Funnel Web | Orb Web | Nursery Web | Cobweb | Insects
|Orb weavers (Family Araneidae) comprise a huge family of spiders, of which there are several hundred species in North America. These spiders vary greatly in color, shape and size, measuring between 2 - 30mm (1/16 -- 1 1/4") long. They have eight eyes arranged in two horizontal rows of four eyes each. The males are generally much smaller than the females and commonly lack the showy coloring of their fairer sex. They often spin their own smaller orb web near an outlying portion of the female's, and I've noticed most males give the females wide berth. Indeed, I rarely see male orb weavers, they are so reclusive. |
Most orb weavers spin spiraling webs on support lines that radiate outward from the center; the plane of the web may be vertical or horizontal or somewhere in between. Many of this family replace the entire web daily, spinning a new web in the early evening (this usually takes about an hour) and deconstructing the web each morning in a ritual almost as complex as the spinning process: they gather the silk into a ball and eat it for reprocessing. Our page on the Neoscona orb weaver has a series of pictures showing this process.
Class Arachnida / Order Araneae: Spiders are the largest group of arachnids. They are easily recognized by their eight legs, and there are few creatures great or small that elicit such irrational fear in mankind. The vast majority of spiders are completely harmless and offer beneficial services, chief of which is keeping the burgeoning insect population in check. I am continually amazed at the resourcefulness of these supremely successful predators.
Spider Index | Spider Main | Funnel Web | Orb Web | Nursery Web | Cobweb