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.
|Cyrtophora mollucensis. This spider is a spectacular black and
white spider and the female can have a body length up to 20 mm.
She can be found in the tropical parts of Australia. The huge communal webs may extend 4 meters across.
Immature females have green legs and areas of bright orange on their body. The tiny male (size 4 mm) has an orange head-breast part (cephalothorax) and the abdomen patterned in white, black and yellow. The egg-sac is pear-shaped and made of dirty white silk.
|Cyrtophora mollucensis with cocoon||Cyrtophora mollucensis|
|Cyrtophora mollucensis||Cyrtophora mollucensis with cocoon|
Cyrtophora exanthematica is known as pan-web spider because they construct their webs in the shape of a pan 50 cm above the ground. Their colouring is variable brownish.
|Cyrtophora exanthematica (by Jurgen Otto)||Cyrtophora exanthematica (by Jurgen Otto)|
|Cyrtophora exanthematica||Cyrtophora exanthematica|
|Cyrtophora exanthematica||Cyrtophora species frontal view|
|Cyrtophora ZZ314 (WA)||Cyrtophora ZZ314 (WA)|
Ed Nieuwenhuys, 1 april 2017
november 4, 2008, 4 May 2005
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