Wild Florida Photo
Nature Photography by Paul Rebmann
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VENUSTA ORCHARD SPIDER
Synonym: Leucauge venusta
One of Florida's smaller orbweavers of woodland edges and shrubby meadows, these spiders are often seen hanging below the center of their webs just off to the side of trails. Orchard orbweavers can be found throughout Florida and some of the coastal plain from Louisiana into the Carolinas. The range also includes Mexico and Brazil.
Like other orbweavers this spider spins a circular web. While many of the other orbweavers position their webs vertically, the orchard orbveaver places them horizontal, or slightly slanted and up to 1.5 m (5 ft.) above the ground. The webs are typically 30 cm (1 ft.) in diameter with an average of 30 spokes and 60 spirals.
The spiders are small with relatively large abdomens with a metallic sheen. The color is pearly white or silvery with distinctive black lines and also red and yellow markings. The red bowtie shaped mark on the abdomen cause many to mistake these for black widows, which do not spin webs like these nor are likely to be out during the day. Females have bodies from 5.5-7.5mm (~2/10-3/10 in.) long, the smaller males are 3.5-4mm (~1/8 in.) long.
Leucauge argyrobapta was until very recently considered a synonym for Leucauge venusta, but the Florida, Mexico and Brazil populations have been reclassified as a separate species. L. venusta is still the species north of the range of the Florida species, throughout much of the eastern United States, north into Ontario and west into Nebraska and Texas.
Another species of this genus is found in Florida, L. argyra. The two species can be most easily differentiated by the black lines on the abdomen.
For more information on this species, visit the following link:
BugGuide.net page for this species
Date record last modified:
Sep 06, 2018