|Family Tetragnathidae |
Long-Jawed Orb Weavers
Tetragnathids spin less elaborate webs than Araneae
Spider Index | Spider Main | Orb Web | Cobweb
|Larger spiders in this family are often found near water, especially moving water of rivers and streams. They build orb webs in the horizontal plane, often just inches above the surface of water where they can catch emerging insects like midges, mayflies, and stoneflies. I have seen them construct elaborate scaffolding atop plants at the water's edge, upon which they can travel quite rapidly, seemingly on thin air.|
Smaller species build webs in fields and meadows, often in trees and shrubs or low foliage in the forest understory. Most of their orb webs are built closer to the horizontal than vertical, with a large open area in the center through which the spider can pass to access both side of the web. Other species are active hunters and build only the aforementioned scaffolding.
The oldest fossil record of an orb-weaver is from the Lower Cretaceous. Several fossils provide direct evidence that the three major orb weaving families; Araneidae, Tetragnathidae and Uloboridae evolved 140 MYA..
Long-jawed orb weaver with ectoparasite
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