Mesh-Web Weaver Spider – Dictyna species

Mesh-Web Weaver Spider – Dictyna Species

mesh web spider female and male

Female (left) and male mesh-web weavers

The type genus of the family, Dictyna is of world-wide distribution.

Spiders in the family Dictynidae are small, sedentary (that is, they build a web and stay in one place) arachnids that build irregular mesh webs to snare prey, and as shelters for themselves.

Dictynid Spider & soldier fly prey

The spider begins by spinning a simple framework of parallel rows, then overlapping those with another set at right angles. The whole web is infused with sticky ribbons consisting of dry support lines and a woof of curled threads the spider pulls from the cribellum by means of a comb of bristles, called a calamistrum, on its fourth metatarsus. [2]

Dictynid Spider & soldier fly prey

Being quite gregarious spiders in habit, these webs can become a serious problem when spiders congregate in large colonies – they are known to completely blanket small trees or shrubs. In the American Southwest, these communal webs can cover the walls of buildings!

Bossy young spider chases away ground cricket

Bossy mesh-web spider chases away ground cricket

This tiny mesh-web-weaver spider kept attacking this ground cricket’s antennae, eventually driving it away. It was rather comical to see a spider defeating an insect perhaps 25X its size.

Not much is known of the life cycle of these tiny spiders, but it is thought most species live only a single year. The females produce a few eggs at a time, encasing them in small egg sacs suspended in the mesh web.

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Tree Encyclopedia / North American Insects & Spiders

Online since 2002