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Garden orb-weaver

Fact Box
Species:
Eriophora transmarina (QM)
Previous species name:
Araneus transmarinus
Family:
Araneidae
formerly Argiopidae
Body length:
female: 24 mm
male: 16 mm
Habitat:
In a typical orb-shaped web between branches of shrubs; the spider will usually be found in the web in the evening but hiding in a retreat near the top of the web during the daylight hours; the legs are normally extended at night since the spider is feeding but retracted against the body by day in the fashion typical of Eriophora species
Toxicity:
Uncertain; may cause mild illness and necrotising arachnidism but this spider is not very aggressive to humans and will normally try to escape if approached
Eriophora transmarina
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Plain coloured
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Striped example
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Side view
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In web at night
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Egg mass
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Female epigynum
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Spotted female
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Camouflage colours

The female is considerably larger than the male, which tends to wait on the edge of the web. An unusual feature of the female is the variation in colour and patterning on the upper surface of its shield-shaped abdomen. Some individuals have a white or reddish longitudinal stripe down the centre of the abdomen.

A useful identifying feature on a female is the long, needle-like epigynum which points backwards towards the spinnerets. Unless the weather is overcast, this spider only occupies the web at night. During the day it hides in a leafy retreat (or under a ledge on a building) to which the top of the web is attached. The female has the common araneid characteristic of drawing its legs up against its carapace when in its retreat. Egg masses are sometimes seen anchored near the female's retreat and have the appearance of a mass of fluffy webbing that is off-white to grey-green in colour.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: Some other Araneus or Eriophora species, such as Eriophora heroine, Eriophora biapicata, and Acroaspis species.



Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 20 January 2006.