The Araneus genus of spiders consists of many familiar orb weaving spiders found in and around residential areas throughout North America.
Because of their size, the size of their web and their affinity for living in residential settings, many people refer to araneus spiders as garden spiders, without knowing their taxonomic group.
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Types of Spiders
Physically, araneus spiders generally have a round abdomen, and when seen from a side view, the abdomen has spikes or points at the top.
Some have common names such as Barn spider, marbled orbweaver and the cat-faced spider. Other species are identified only by their Latin name.
Despite their large size, Araneus generally do not display aggressive behavior around humans. In instances of bites, no Araneus species are listed as spiders of medical concern.
The five species presented here generally represent the genus.
The Cross Orbweaver (Araneus diadematus), top picture, often called a garden spider or cross spider, is a native European Araneus species that found its way to North American homes and gardens. Today it is one of the most common Aranues species from coast to coast.
The name derives from the white cross on the back of the abdomen.
Araneus gemmoides or the Cat-faced Spider, builds its webs around Western North America.
The large size of the female along with the protruding abdominal spines are good field identification clues.
The Marbled Orb Weaver (Araneus marmoreus), picture three, spins its web in many neighborhoods East of the Rocky Mountains.
Within species physical differences prevail, however, one dominant pattern shows species with an orange, patterned abdomen.
The picture shows a female with another typical look, a black and yellow patterned abdomen and pink to red legs.
Araneus nordmanni, a northern species, variable in looks, somewhat resembles the southern species, Giant Lichen Orbweaver.
Generally characterized by the black marks on the abdomen. Additional white spots on the dark abdomen patch are present in the species.
The identification is tentative.
Araneus Saevus, a dark colored orb weaver, makes its home in northern North America.
They can be found in forested areas as well as residential areas.
© 2005-2013 Patricia A. Michaels