Gasteracantha cancriformis Photo Michele Campbell ©
The Spiny Orbweaver Spider is one of Florida’s most easily recognized spiders. It is sometimes called a ‘crab spider’.
These colorful little spiders are about the size of a kidney bean, with a greenish-white back dotted with black spots. Six red spines project from the white ‘shell’. The legs and underside are black with some white spots. Males are tiny, much smaller than the female, and if you look closely at the female’s web you can sometimes see a tiny male hanging by a single thread.
Webs are about 2 feet across, and often have conspicuous tufts of silk dotted around on the main support lines. No one really knows what the tufts are for, but one theory is they may serve as a visual aid to prevent birds from flying into the web and destroying it.
Spiny orbweavers are found in wooded areas and citrus groves. They feed on whiteflies, moths and beetles.
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