cat-faced spider

Araneus gemmoides – Cat-Faced Spider

Cat-Faced Spider

The markings on this spider’s abdomen are thought to resemble a cat’s face, complete with bumps that look like ears. Sorry, this specimen does not have the prominent markings that really show the cat’s face well. This is a fairly large spider, about 12 – 20mm. Its habit of building its large orb webs inside barns and outbuildings, and near light sources causes an inordinate number of human encounters. It is completely harmless.

Cat-Faced Spider

Orb weavers comprise a huge family of spiders, with 3500 species worldwide, 180 of which call North America home. These spiders vary greatly in color, shape and size, measuring between 2 – 30mm (1/16 — 1 1/4″) long. They have eight eyes arranged in two horizontal rows of four eyes each. The males are generally much smaller than the females and commonly lack the showy coloring of their fairer sex. They often spin their own smaller orb web near an outlying portion of the female’s, and I’ve noticed most males give the females wide berth. Indeed, I rarely see male orb weavers, they are so reclusive.

Most orb weavers spin spiraling webs on support lines that radiate outward from the center; the plane of the web may be vertical or horizontal or somewhere in between. Many orb webs are built on human structures, parallel to walls.
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