tuftlegged orbweaver

(Mangora placida)

Conservation Status
tuftlegged orbweaver
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Tuftlegged orbweaver is a small typical orbweaver. It occurs in the United States and southern Canada east of the Great Plains and in northeastern Mexico. It is common in Minnesota. It is found in bushes and trees in forested areas and in low shrubs and tall grasses in grassy areas.

The female is to 3 16 (2.3 to 4.5 mm) in length with a 316 to (5 to 10 mm) legspan. The male is much smaller, 116to long.

The front part of the body (cephalothorax) and the legs are yellowish or brownish-yellow. The upper side (carapace) is much smaller than the abdomen, more or less rounded at the rear when viewed from above, and moderately convex when viewed from the side. There is a longitudinal furrow in the middle. A narrow black stripe extends from just behind the eyes into the furrow and to the base of the carapace. There are no horny outgrowths. There is a dark stripe on the lateral margins, at least near the base.

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 PMEs have black eye rings. 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 and elliptical or oval and narrowest in front. There are no low rounded humps (tubercles) in the shoulder (humeral) area. The upper surface is white with a broad dark stripe in the middle, a narrow light stripe on each side, and three light oblique lines on each side. The width and color of the stripes is highly variable. The middle stripe is narrow in front and broad behind. It may be light brown with a dark margin or entirely medium brown. It encloses two white spots and two rows of three black spots. The pale stripes and lines may be yellow, brownish-yellow, or brown. The underside is mostly dark with white spots. On the male the carapace is darker and the middle stripe on the abdomen is much darker.

The legs are highly variable in color but usual pale near the base with dark areas at the end of each segment. They are armed with long black spine-like hairs. There is a row of spines on the underside of the third segment (femur) of the second two pairs of legs but not on the first two pairs. On the fifth segment (tibia) of the third pair of legs there are two oblique rows of 5 or 6 long slender hairs on the underside near the base. This is the feature that gives the spider the first part of its common name, however it is shared with all spiders in the genus Mangora.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Female Body Length: to 3 16 (2.3 to 4.5 mm)

Male Body Length: 116to (2.0 to 2.8 mm)

Legspan: 316 to (5 to 10 mm)

 
     
 

Web

 
 

A tightly woven hunting web is constructed in tall grass or on a low shrub, bush, or tree. It is called an “orb”, which gives this family of spiders its common name. The orb may be vertical or inclined. It is about 12 in diameter, very large for such a small spider. It has 30 to 70 radii and numerous, usually very closely spaced, sticky (viscid) spirals.

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Lined orbweaver (Mangora gibberosa) has two black lines or rows of black spots on the back half of the abdomen. The cephalothorax appears swollen on each side of the furrow, and the dark line in the middle extends into the thoracic groove but not to the base. There is a thin black line on the underside of the femur of the first and second pairs of legs. The web has a bullseye-like decoration in the center.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Forests and grassy areas

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Early May to August

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

 

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

In early fall the female creates a sac for her eggs in a small leaf folded and reinforced by strands of silk. The eggs hatch in the fall and the spiderlings overwinter in the egg sac.

 
     
 

Food

 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

24, 29, 30, 82.

 
  12/30/2021      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
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

Mangora  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Epeira placida

Epeira praetrepida

Mangora spiculata

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

tuftlegged orbweaver

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Tubercle

On plants and animals: a small, rounded, raised projection on the surface. On insects and spiders: a low, small, usually rounded, knob-like projection. On slugs: raised areas of skin between grooves covering the body.

 

 

 

 

 
 
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Alfredo Colon

 
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  Alfredo Colon
8/9/2019

Location: Woodbury, MN

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Created: 12/30/2021

Last Updated:

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