Spider Pictures: Know Your Orb Weavers

Spider pictures covers the orb weaving spiders (Araneidae). It’s a spider family familiar to many as the ones that build round flat webs come in all shapes and sizes.

The most recent (2017) World Spider Catalog lists approximately one hundred and seventy five different species divided into thirty one genera. This guide covers species in about twenty genera. The Araneus genus is presented separately because of the large number of species associated with it. Please press the green button to learn more about these spiders.

Growing to less than a quarter of an inch, the Trashline Orbweaver in the video at the top of the page, highlights both the odd shape of the spider and the typical trashline built into the web. It’s filled with prey and other materials, and the working hypothesis is that it provides camouflage for the spider. While in the web, the legs typically cover the spider’s head. Look for the web near ground level in most wooded areas across the United States.

picture of a orb weaving spider, Gasteracantha cancriformis genus

Ten of the orbweaver genera have only one species attached to them. One of them, Spiny-backed Orbweavers (Gasteracantha), is pictured.

They are especially common in the Southeast, along with a California population. The picture shows a species with a yellow body. Others have white bodies with red spikes and other variations.

picture of a verrucosa-arenata orb weaver spider
Verrucosa arenata is another of the one species orb weavers. They are very small in size and found in most areas of the Eastern United States.

With approximately fifty species, Araenus rank as the largest genus of orb weaving spiders in terms of number of species. Please press the button to see more spider pictures and learn about the members of the Araneus genus.

Like all spiders, the orb weavers bite. Fortunately none of them is considered a spider of medical importance. Their bites might be annoying, but with the exception of individuals sensitive to bites, they are harmless. In fact, they are beneficial insects that help keep the local insect population down.

Orb Weavers: Writing Spiders

picture of a garden spider
The group of spiders called Writing spiders (Arigope) get their name based on the web building habits. The middle of the web is filled with “Z” markings making it appear they are writing on their webs.

Along with their webs, their large, colorful bodies make them easy to identify. The Black-and-Yellow Argiope (Argiope aurantia)in the picture is common in thirty five states.

picture of a Banded Argiope
Banded Argiopes (Argiope trifasciata) are even more common. With the exception of a few Southeast states, they are found across the United States and Canada.

Both of these species are known as quintessential garden spiders.

picture of a Silver Argiope spider
The Silver Argiope (Argiope florida) is a southern species with a presence primarily in Florida, Texas and California. The final member of the genus, Argiope blanda, looks very similar to the Silver Argiope and is only found in South Texas.

Spotted Orb Weavers

picture of a neoscona-arabesca
It is very easy to confuse the Spotted Orb Weavers (Neoscona) with the Araneus species. One or two physical differences such as a ridge down the center of the head is what differentiated the.

Seven different species inhabit the United States. Neoscona arabesca in the first picture is the most common. They have a variety of body colors depending on location.

picture of an Arabesque orbweaver
Arabesque Orbweavers are probably the easiest to identify and most widespread of all the spotted orbweavers. The solid, dark slash marks down the center of the abdomen are good identification clues.

picture of a spotted orbweaver
Here’s a Western Spotted Orbweaver. They can be found in the Western United States, all the way to Texas.

More Spider Pictures

picture of an orb weaving spider the Spined Micrathena
Orb weaving spiders in the Micrathena genus are fairly common in the United States, east of the Rocky Mountains. Most of them are a black and white color. Here’s a Texas specimen that adds some more color to the mix.

picture of a orb weaving spider in the metazygia genus Species in the Metazygia genus are less common, explaining their lack of a common name.

picture of a orb weaving spider, eriophora-ravilla Species in The Tropical Orbweaver (Eriophora ravilla) takes so many different looks that a dozen spider pictures might not help with identification of any particular specimen. Some specimens have a heart shaped, all brown body.

This particular specimen has the yellow patch on the abdomen with dots around the patch. They are found in the subtropical areas of the Southeast. Look for them year round in Texas and Florida.

picture of an arrowshaped micrathena spider
While most people associate orb weavers with round bodies, the Arrowshped Micrathena represents on of a handful of orb weavers with pointed bodies.

There are four species. Three of them are very common in the East. One species has a California and Arizona population.

picture of a Six-spotted Orbweaver
The Six-spotted Orbweaver is fairly small and colorful, with the six black abdominal spots providing the best identification clue.

picture of a Gray Cross Spider
All three of the native Larinioides species have regional ranges, some of which overlap.

The Gray Cross Spider, pictured, is mostly a West Coast, Mid-Atlantic and New England species.

picture of a furrow orbweaving spider
The Furrow Orbweaver body looks kind of shiny. The pattern on the body can change but the darker edges are a good Identification clue. It’s mostly an East Coast species.

picture of a Humpbacked Orbweaver, Eustala anastera
Humpbacked Orbweavers rank among the smaller species in the Orb Weaver family. The body measures maybe one-third an inch in length. Identification can be tough because the body color and pattern can change.

They can be found in many areas east of the Rocky Mountains.

picture of a Difoliate Orbweaver
Stripes down the abdomen of the Difoliate Orbweaver (Acacesia hamata) make this an easy to identify orb weaving spider species. Finding one might be a bit more difficult than identifying one.

They are summer spiders, fairly common in the Central and Southern areas of the Midwest and East.Look for them around dusk and dawn beacuse they build webs at night and rest during the day.

picture of a Basilica Orbweaver
The Basilica Orbweaver (Mecynogea lemniscata) might easily be confused with the more common Orchard Orbweaver were it not for the web. The common name Basilica comes from the fact that it builds a dome shaped web that hangs horizontally rather than the traditional flat vertical web of most Orb Weavers.

Their range extends from about New York in the north and moves south from Florida through Texas.