Tent-web spiders

Family Araneidae

Genus Cyrtophora

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.

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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
Cyrtophora mollucensis with cocoon Cyrtophora mollucensis
Cyrtophora ZZ078 Cyrtophora ZZ078
Cyrtophora mollucensis Cyrtophora mollucensis with cocoon

Cyrtophora exanthematica

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
Cyrtophora exanthematica (by Jurgen Otto) Cyrtophora exanthematica (by Jurgen Otto)
Cyrtophora exanthematica Cyrtophora species frontal view
Cyrtophora ZZ314 (WA) Cyrtophora ZZ314 (WA)
   
   

Ed Nieuwenhuys, november 4, 2008
4 May 2005

Copyright ã2002, 2005