The orb weaver spider is part of the spider family Araneidae and is known for building spiral wheel-shaped webs in forests, fields and even gardens of homes.
The orb weaver spider has hairy or spiny legs and eight similar eyes without stridulating organs.
Garden orb weavers have huge abdomens after feeding and possesses a wide color range from white to brown and to a nearly black color. The abdomen top of the spider has a rough leaf shaped pattern with a darker and complex outline.
The leg segments of the spider are reddish brown but can change color to adapt to the background especially during the day when they are resting.
A female orb weaver spider is said to be larger than the male with body length ranging from 20 to 25 mm. The body length of the males range from 15 to 17 mm. The females can be recognized through a needle like epigynum that protrudes in the direction of the spinnerets.
Fossils have proven that the orb weaver evolved about 140 million years ago which is part of the Jurassic era.
Orb weavers may either be a large golden orb weaver, a long-jawed orb weaver or a cribellate or hackled orb weaver.
All orb weavers are active at night and hide during the day. They build a new web each day and consumes the old wed as the night goes deep before resting for at least one hour prior to making a new web in the same location, making the webs of the orb weavers free from accumulating detritus which is either a fecal material or fragments of dead organisms.
Garden orb weaver spiders may be seen in various variants and color across the coastal areas at the eastern states of Australia. There are about 100 species of orb spiders in Australia.
The garden orb weaver spider bite is not lethal. It doesn’t pose any serious threat to the health of humans. An orb weaver bite may only cause mild local pain, redness and occasional swelling for about 30 minutes but may also last for three to four hours.
The webs of orb weavers can be compared to spokes of wheels. They have radial strands and concentric circles. They are built vertically and usually found attached to the branches, stems and other man-made structures.
Food and hunting
Orb weavers are capable of building flat webs with sticky spiral capture silk. The Y-shaped sticky line is effective in capturing prey such as insects. The insects such as wasp is stunned by a quick bite and immediately wrapped in silk. The prey would not easily recognize the orb weaver spider since the spindy spider looks like plant seeds or thorns just hanging from their orb webs.
Orb weavers are carnivores just like all arachnids. Their primary food are insects and small organisms that they ensnared with their sticky webs. Sometimes bigger preys like hummingbirds and frogs are also trapped in their webs.