candy-striped spider

(Enoplognatha ovata)

Conservation Status
candy-striped spider
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked


not listed


Candy-striped spider is a medium-sized cobweb spider. It is native to Europe and was introduced into North America. In the United States its range has now spread from Maine and Virginia to Minnesota and Illinois in the east, and from Washington and California to Montana and Colorado in the west. In Minnesota it has been reported often in the Metro Region and in Duluth but is mostly absent from the remainder of the state. It is found in open fields, in forest understories, and in roadside ditches. It is seen on the underside of the leaves of brambles, low-growing vegetation, shrubs, and the lower branches of trees. It often appears in dense clumps, sometimes called colonies.

Females are 316 to ¼ (4.3 to 6.8 mm) in length and have a ¼ to ½ (6 to 12 mm) legspan. Males are smaller, to 316 (3.5 to 5.2 mm) in length.

The front part of the body (cephalothorax) is flat and slightly longer than wide. The upper side (carapace) is pale yellowish-brown and shiny with few hairs. It has a more or less distinct longitudinal stripe in the middle and a thin black line on the lateral margins. There is a depression in the middle that is especially pronounced on the male. The underside is yellow to yellowish-brown with a dark stripe in the middle, a narrow black line on the lateral margins, and a black rear tip.

There are eight eyes arranged in two parallel rows of four eyes each. The front (anterior) row is straight when viewed from the front and the rear (posterior) row is straight when viewed from above. On each side the lateral eyes are widely separated from the middle (median) eyes and are almost touching each other. All of the eyes are small. The anterior median eyes (AMEs) are dark, the rest of the eyes are pearly. The jaws (chelicerae) have one or two strong teeth on the front margin and one small tooth on the rear margin. The chelicerae on the male are much larger than on the female.

The abdomen is pale yellow and rounded, almost spherical but slightly flattened in front. Candy-striped spider was previously described as three different species based on the color and markings on the abdomen. These are now known to be color variations (morphs) of a single polymorphous species. The former species epithets have survived as form names. The most common is form lineata, with four to seven pairs of black spots on the upper sides (dorsolateral) and no red stripes. Form redimita has two red dorsolateral stripes running the entire length of the abdomen. This is the feature that gives the species its common name. The least common is form ovata, with a single solid red dorsolateral band running the entire length of the abdomen. On the underside of the abdomen of all forms there is a prominent dark line with white borders.

The legs are long and slender. The first pair of legs is the longest, the third pair is the shortest. There are no long hairs on the third segment (femur) and no thick spines on any segment. There is a dark ring at the end of the fifth segment (tibia) on the front pair of legs, but the legs are otherwise unmarked. There is a row of 6 to 10 slightly curved bristles (“comb”) on the last segment (tarsus) of each hind leg. This is the feature that gives the family one of its common names. There are three claws at the end of each tarsus, but these are not visible to the naked eye.




Female Body Length: 316 to ¼ (4.3 to 6.8 mm)

Male Body Length: to 316 (3.5 to 5.2 mm)

Legspan: ¼ to ½ (6 to 12 mm)




A small, inconspicuous arrangement of tangled threads (cobweb) is constructed on the underside of a leaf. The edges of the leaf are often pulled down slightly and secured with silk threads, creating a retreat. The bent leaf is an indication of the presence of the web below.


Similar Species


Open fields, forest understories, and roadside ditches










Life Cycle


Eggs are enclosed in a round, bluish-white sac in summer and secured in a rolled leaf. The female guards the sac until the eggs hatch. Spiderlings in the second development stage (instar) disperse after several weeks. They overwinter in leaf liter.






Distribution Map



24, 29, 30, 82.





  Class Arachnida (arachnids)  


Araneae (spiders)  


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


Theridiidae (cobweb spiders)  





Aranea coronata

Aranea lepida

Aranea myopa

Aranea purpurata

Aranea redimita

Aranea rubricata

Aranea venusta

Aranea vittata

Araneus lineatus

Araneus ovatus

Araneus redimitus

Phyllonethis lineata

Steatoda redimita

Theridion lineatum

Theridion ovatum

Theridion redimitum

Theridion venustum


Common Names


candystripe spider

candy-striped spider

polymorphic long-jawed cobweaver










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.



The front part of the body of various arthropods, composed of the head region and the thoracic area fused together. Eyes, legs, and antennae are attached to this part.



The pair of stout mouthparts, corresponding to jaws, in arachnids and other arthropods in the subphylum Chelicerata.



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



The developmental stage of arthropods between each molt; in insects, the developmental stage of the larvae or nymph.



On insects, the last two to five subdivisions of the leg, attached to the tibia; the foot. On spiders, the last segment of the leg. Plural: tarsi.



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

    candy-striped spider   candy-striped spider  
    candy-striped spider      





Cobweb Weaver Spider (Enoplognatha ovata) and Green Immigrant Leaf Weevil (Polydrusus sericeus)
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Cobweb Weaver Spider  (Enoplognatha ovata) and Green Immigrant Leaf Weevil (Polydrusus sericeus)  





Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  COBWEB SPIDER Enoplognatha ovata
Rob Curtis

Oct 7, 2019

COBWEB SPIDER Enoplognatha ovata. Same family as Black Widow. McClaughery Springs FP, IL 7/4/2019.

  Comb-footed Spider - Enoplognatha ovata

Aug 30, 2016

This species can only be reliably separated from Enoplognatha latimana by detailed examination with a microscope or good lens.
Habitat--Hedgerows, grassland and gardens.
When to see it-- May to October.
Life History--Feeds on small insects.
UK Status --Common throughout Britain.
Approximately 6mm from front of head to back of abdomen.

  Enoplognatha ovata
Les Leighton

Jul 3, 2014

The Candystripe Spider or Polymorphic Spider is a member of the Comb-footed Spider family ( Theridiidae ). It was introduced to North America from Europe. It builds its webs among vegetation. Vancouver, BC July2, 2014. Video by an Optex DIGIMAG 200 USB Microscope.

  Enoplognatha ovata

May 28, 2009

Enoplognatha ovata Vs Aphid - Tug of war.




Visitor Sightings

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  Alfredo Colon

Location: Woodbury, MN

candy-striped spider  

Location: Milaca, MN (Mille Lacs County)

Kept finding tiny ones that were harder to identify. Finally found (and smashed, sorry,) Mama (they're webbing up a storm in our garage and have to go.)

Fairly sure they're Enoplognatha ovata 







Created: 1/14/2022

Last Updated:

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