SPINED MICRATHENA

Micrathena gracilis

ORB WEAVER FAMILY (Araneidae)


Description
The female of this species grows to about 3/8th of an inch long, with a large irregular shaped abdomen, white on top with black and red spots, and five sets of spikes on the edges. A side view shows quite a bit of variability in coloration, with intricate yellow, brown and tan patterns (B,C,D). The web is large and tightly wound (E).

Occurrence
These spiders are considered uncommon in Fontenelle Forest, occurring in both upland and floodplain wooded areas with webs at eye level and lower. Most often seen in late summer.

Comments
These spiders live only one season. They shed their 'skin' (exoskeleton) as they grow, and die usually with the first frost.



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