The common Garden Orb Weaver Spider (Eriophora transmarina) is among the first spiders most children learn to recognize, due to its large size and readily recognizable shape and colouration patterns. They are common throughout the Blue Mountains.
They are usually quite large, with females being about 14–15 mm long and males about 10–11 mm long. Orb Weaver spiders spin orb-shaped webs that usually have one or more stabilimenta, silk decorations at the centre of the web. These stabilimenta are believed to be part of the spider’s courtship behaviour to aid in catching prey, but their exact purpose is not yet fully understood.
We often see the spiders and webs across less travelled tracks or just to the side of the track.
How Did The Old Web Weaver Spiders Get Its Name?
Garden Orb Weavers are often found spinning their webs in garden plantings, hence their common name. But they can also be found in garages, around swimming pools and even indoors (they can grow up to two inches long). They do not spin webs where they live; rather, they lay silk down and rest upon it while waiting for an insect to blunder into its threads.
Is An Orb Weaver Spider Dangerous?
A garden orb weaver spider is not considered dangerous for humans, although it can bite if you try to handle it. Also, its bite may cause discomfort and itching, but it isn’t usually serious. If you believe that you have been bitten by a venomous spider of any kind, seek medical attention immediately. They are often encountered in grassland areas and are also common on bushes and trees in parks, gardens and bushlands. A garden orb weaver spider uses a silk ‘trip-line’ to help locate its prey when hunting at night.
What Does The Orb Weaver Spider Look Like?
Here are some of the commonly seen Garden Orb Weavers: a stout, reddish-brown or grey spider with a leaf-shaped pattern on their fat, roughly triangular abdomens, which also have two noticeable humps towards the front. They sometimes have a dorsal stripe which may be white or brown edged with white. These stripes can sometimes be seen as bluish when in contact with soil.
Where Are Orb Weaver Spiders Found?
There are approximately 100 species of Orb Weaver spiders that are found all over Australia. While some of them are commonly found around human homes, others can be found in more natural areas such as forests and bushlands. Despite their name, not all species of Orb Weaver spider spin webs. Some build a rather large ‘orb’ which is a globe-like structure made out of silk or leaves. They weave these spheres as a retreat for themselves to hide inside when they are not hunting or eating.
What should you do when you see an Orb Weaver Spider
If you are arachnophobic then you may want to avoid these spiders, but if not, it’s best to leave them alone. They are docile creatures and don’t normally attack humans. In fact, they very rarely even bite at all. So if you do see an Orb Weavers just look away and carry on with your day.
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