Backyard Dweller: Spined Orb-Weaver Spider

Nearly Ran Into This Spined Orb-Weaver

This female Spined Orb-Weaver (Micrathena gracilis) Spider wove a beautiful web across the path in my backyard.

What Are Orb-Weaver Spiders?

Source [3]
Orb-weavers are a class of spiders in the araneidae spider family.[1]

They create spiral webs every parallel to the ground at a height of about 2-3 feet, everyday. Mostly active during the evening hours, they prey on insects (even wasps) that happen upon their web while they hang upside-down, giving the appearance of a seed or thorns.

You will most likely walk through one of these intricate webs by mistake while trail-blazing or hiking. The Spined Orb-Weaver likes to cast a silky web across a path between limbs and shrubs.[2]


My Usual Experience With These Arachnids

Generally, I saunter through these webs at a good clip. Exploring the edge of the yard with the dogs means traveling half an acre down a 25 degree grade through a wooded path. It also means that they have more overhead clearance so as to avoid a brush with the sticky, silky web.

Living in close proximity to hundreds of acres of woods and a small ground spring means lots of unique creatures. Fortunately, they each serve a role in the ecosystem and upon close inspection are quite beautiful – like this spined orb-weaver.

They do bite, but like most spiders, it generally only happens when they are provoked or picked-up. Not the venomous sort, but not to be reckoned with, as goes for most natural beauties.

 


Another Closeup


References:

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orb-weaver_spider
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spined_micrathena

[2] http://springfieldmn.blogspot.com/2016/08/orbweavers-in-woods.html

[3] http://bugguide.net/node/view/1996


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