Tent-web spiders

Family Araneidae ß Home

Genus Cyrtophora


Cyrtophora citricola

These spiders are closely related to orb-web spiders and are commonly known as Tent spiders or Tent-building spiders. The tent-web could be considered as a primitive orb-web.
The tent shaped web is made of non-sticky, closely woven threads. The distinctive webs are not easily recognized as orb-webs because they are woven on a horizontal pane with a network of supporting threads above them. These spiders often live in colonies.
With a few exceptions these spiders are small. Some species are communal; if the webs not actually adjoin, there are usually many to be found in the area.
Australian tent web spiders -->


Cyrtophora citricola is found around the Mediterranean where her web is often constructed in Opuntia or prickly pear cactus.
The male is very small 2-4 mm compared to the 10-15mm large female. The web can not be missed because its size can be 50 - 60 cm in diameter.
The dome is constructed with a very regular, almost square mesh, and above the dome an almost impregnable barrier of vertical threads. None of the threads in her web are sticky.


Detail of the dome

The complete web in a tree


Cyrtophora citricola with cocoon

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Ed Nieuwenhuys, 31 october 2010
4 November, 2008, 4 May 2005

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