Garden Orb Web Spiders
The varied body patterns of female Garden Orb Web Spiders - from top: black form, red form, white spot form, white stripe form.
Eriophora transmarina, family Araneidae
Moderately large fawn, brown spiders with dark reddish brown hairy head and hoary grey legs that build very sticky webs during the early evening often across pathways. Body pattern varies. It can be a dark grey body with white, yellow, orange or rust-red stripe. Some are dark with a V-shaped line of bright white dots and others are just dark grey with no pattern. Males have very spiny legs. During the day, the spiders huddle under eaves, often on clothes left overnight on the line or up in trees, usually only a single strong thread marks the position of the web to come.
Diversity & distribution
Common in east coastal Australia; similar small species (Eriophora biapicata) more inland.
There are a number of similar species difficult to casually differ from this one.
Large circular vertical webs of silver or clear silk built across paths. These webs usually remain up only during the night and are taken down at dawn when the spider consumes the web (which is quickly recycled) and digests pollen and other small insects trapped on the very sticky web.
Bites are quite common and usually harmless; often at night when colliding with the web but also babies and children get bitten when spiders hide in folds of clothing left out overnight. Strong bite and quite painful for about 30-40 minutes after which the pain eases. Attention to infection of the bite very important.
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