Hentz orbweaver

(Neoscona crucifera)

Conservation Status
Hentz orbweaver
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

There are 123 spotted orbweaver species (genus Neoscona) worldwide. They are among the most common and abundant orb weaver spiders worldwide, and are among the most common of all spiders in North America. Only 8 species occur in North America north of Mexico.

Hentz orbweaver is a medium-sized spotted orbweaver. It occurs in the United States from Maine to Minnesota south to Florida and Arizona, in southern Ontario Canada, and in Mexico. It is common in southeastern Minnesota, where it is at the northwestern extent of its range, but is mostly absent in the remainder of the state. It is found in open woodlands on shrubs and tall forbs, and on fences and buildings. It is seldom found on grasses.

North American spotted orbweavers are readily identified by the pattern of markings on the upper side of the abdomen. On Hentz orbweaver the lack of conspicuous markings is an identifying feature. The female can be 516 to ¾ (8.5 to 19.7 mm) in length with a ¾ to 1516(20.4 to 24.4 mm) legspan, but is usually just to ½ (10 to 12 mm) long. The male is slightly smaller, to (4.5 to 15 mm) in length.

The front part of the body (cephalothorax) is much smaller than the abdomen. The upper side (carapace) is reddish-brown to brown and has a longitudinal furrow in the middle. On males the sides of the carapace are nearly black.

There are eight eyes arranged in two parallel rows of four eyes each. The rear row is curved forward, the front row is straight or slightly curved backward. All of the eyes are small, but the median eyes are larger than the lateral eyes, and the posterior median eyes (PMEs) are slightly smaller than the anterior median eyes (AMEs). On each side the lateral eyes are widely separated from the middle (median) eyes and are almost touching each other. The median ocular area (MOA), the area defined by the middle four eyes, is longer than wide and narrower in front than behind.

The abdomen is large, triangular-oval, and broadest toward the rear. On the female it becomes oval when swollen with eggs. There are no low rounded humps (tubercles) in the shoulder (humeral) area. The color on the upper side is variable. It may be brown, reddish-brown, yellowish-brown, or orangish-brown. On the female it is sometimes white. Markings on the abdomen are obscure or entirely lacking. On the underside of the abdomen there is a large black spot bordered on each side by a white, more or less straight line or elongated white spot, and on the bottom by two yellow lines. Together, the spots can be described as two “broken Ls”.

The legs are spiny and mostly yellow with brown bands. The first pair of legs is the longest, the third pair is the shortest. The bands on the third and fourth pairs of legs are conspicuous and very dark. The third segment (femur) on all legs is brown. On the male, the first segment (coxa) on the front pair of legs has a spur on the underside; and the fifth segment (tibia) of the second pair of legs has two rows of straight, clasping spines on the outer lateral surface that run the entire length of the tibia.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Female Body Length: 516 to ¾ (8.5 to 19.7 mm)

Male Body Length: to (4.5 to 15 mm)

Legspan: ¾ to 1516(20.4 to 24.4 mm)

 
     
 

Web

 
 

The web hangs vertically and can be 16 to 24 (40 to 60 cm) in diameter. It is called an “orb”, which gives this family of spiders its common name. The orb has 18 to 20 radii 30 or more sticky spirals. A retreat is constructed near the top of the web consisting of a leaf folded over and secured with silk threads.

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Barn spider (Araneus cavaticus) has a raised tubercle on each side of the abdomen in the shoulder (humeral) area. The black spot on the underside of the abdomen is bordered on each side by a white, unbroken, comma-shaped spot.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Open woodlands, fences, and buildings

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

June to November

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

The Hentz orbweaver builds a new web every evening around dusk. It sits motionless in the center of the web, head down, waiting for prey to be snared. In the morning shortly after dawn it recycles the web by eating it. The spider usually spends the daylight hours in the retreat. Occasionally the female will leave the web up during daylight hours, probably due to the need to feed the developing eggs.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

 

 
     
 

Food

 
 

Moths, crane flies, and other insects.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

7, 24, 29, 30, 82.

Berman, J. D. & Levi, H. W. (1971). The orb weaver genus Neoscona in North America (Araneae: Araneidae). Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 141: 465-500.

 
  1/10/2022      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common and abundant

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Class Arachnida (arachnids)  
 

Order

Araneae (spiders)  
 

Suborder

Araneomorphae (typical spiders)  
  Infraorder Entelegynae (entelegyne spiders)  
  Superfamily Araneoidea (araneoid spiders)  
 

Family

Araneidae (orb weavers)  
 

Subfamily

Araneinae (typical orbweavers)  
 

Genus

Neoscona (spotted orbweavers)  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Aranea crucifera albimaculata

Epeira crucifera

Epeira domiciliorum

Epeira hentzii

Epeira lentiginosa

Neoscona arkansa

Neoscona benjamina

Neoscona hentzi

Neoscona hentzii

Neoscona nebraskensis

Neoscona sacra

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

barn spider

common orb weaver

Hentz orb weaver

Hentz’s orb weaver

Hentz orbweaver

spotted orb weaver

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Carapace

The hard, upper (dorsal), shell-like covering (exoskeleton) of the body or at least the thorax of many arthropods and of turtles and tortoises. On crustaceans, it covers the cephalothorax. On spiders, the top of the cephalothorax made from a series of fused sclerites.

 

Cephalothorax

The front part of a spider’s body, composed of the head region and the thoracic area fused together. Eyes, legs, and antennae are attached to this part.

 

Femur

On insects and arachnids, the third, largest, most robust segment of the leg, coming immediately before the tibia. On humans, the thigh bone.

 

Tibia

The fourth segment of an insect leg, after the femur and before the tarsus (foot). The fifth segment of a spider leg or palp.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

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Alfredo Colon

 
    Hentz orbweaver   Hentz orbweaver  
 

Kirk Nelson

 
 

Part of the web appeared to be anchored to the power lines 15 feet above it.

 
    Hentz orbweaver   Hentz orbweaver  
           
 

Appears to be a female, building her web on the High Bridge

 
    Hentz orbweaver   Hentz orbweaver  
           
    Hentz orbweaver      
           
 

Ventral view

 
    Hentz orbweaver      
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

Dorsal View

 
    Hentz orbweaver      
           
 

Ventral View

 
    Hentz orbweaver      

 

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Slideshows
 
 
     
     

 

slideshow

       
 
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Other Videos
 
  Hentz's Orbweaver, Part 2 - September 12, 2013
Don Gagnon
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 13, 2013

Hentz's Orbweaver (Neoscona crucifera), Gagnon Wildlife Habitat, Somerset, Massachusetts, Thursday afternoon, September 12, 2013, 5:20 PM - Canon EOS REBEL T2i MVI_116940; 2:25 min.

   
  Neoscona Crucifera Orb-Weaving Spider
LeDouxTube
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Oct 27, 2011

A Neoscona crucifera (a common orb-weaving spider) scurries across the ground to find a new site to build a web in San Diego, CA.

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  Spider "Neoscona Crucifera"
David Fahnestock
 
   
 
About

Published on May 15, 2012

This spider builds a web every night but it is always gone in the morning. I do not know where it hide during the day.

   
  my little friend: Neoscona Crucifera
Dennis Copeland
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 14, 2013

activities of Neoscona Crucifera, an orb weaver spider

   

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this arachnid.

 
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  Kirk Nelson
10/9/2020

Location: St. Paul

Part of the web appeared to be anchored to the power lines 15 feet above it.

Hentz orbweaver  
  Alfredo Colon
8/4/2019

Location: Woodbury, MN

Hentz orbweaver  
  Kirk Nelson
9/17/2014

Location: St. Paul, Ramsey County, MN

Appears to be a female, building her web on the High Bridge

Hentz orbweaver  
  Kirk Nelson
8/19/2014

Location: Sibley House, City of Mendota, Dakota County

Ventral view

Hentz orbweaver  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
   

 

 

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