Also known as the Orb Weaver Spiders, spiders within the family Araneidae are usually the ones you most commonly find in your garden although they do occur in many other places with foliages too. These spiders in general spin spiral-wheel type webs that are used for a number of functions, most notably to catch prey.

Orb Weaver Spiders come in a huge range of variety, ranging from small to large; dull to very colourful! This post is made especially for these unique spiders, and we hope that you will learn more about them with each photo!

Please enjoy the tour!

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Curved Long-Spined Spider- Macracantha arcuata ♀

#1. No doubt one of the most popular Orb Weaver Spiders out there, the Curved Long-Spined Spiny Spider (Macracantha arcuata ♀) displays a flaming red abdomen and two awesome curvy spines. This spider is very slow and unwieldy, but the very tough “shell” gives it protection from most of its predators. The bright abdominal colours probably act as a warning too!

 

A Tent Spider grooming itself- Cyrtophora sp.  ♀

#2. A Tent Spider (Cyrtophora cylindroides ♀) grooming itself. Many are often surprised that spiders know how to groom themselves- they would be very dirty indeed if they don’t haha Spiders will not hesitate to clean their legs and mouthparts when water is available; they do so by inserting and moving their legs (one each time) in between the fangs to remove dirt and debris.

 

Arigope sp. - St. Andrew's Cross Spider

#3. Orb Weaver Spiders don’t always build the same type of webs, even when its the same individual. These spiders are smart and will adjust their webs accordingly depending on their size and weight, as well as external conditions like the wind and space available for the web. This tiny Cross Spider (Argiope cf. chloreis ♀) builds a specialized, circular web at the centre of the web where it lies in wait for prey. This specialized structure is called a “Stabilimentum (plural Stabilimenta)” which serves to strengthen the web, reducing tension and frailty.

 

Neoscona sp.

#4. A male Sailor Spider (Neoscona sp.) enjoying its meal. Male Orb Weaver Spiders don’t usually build webs, but wander around looking for potential mates. This male here does not build a large and elaborated web like his female counterpart, relying on just a small web encompassing some moss on an electric cable.

 

Neoscona nautica ♂

#5. A female Brown Sailor Spider (Neoscona nautica). Unlike the males (Photo #4; different species), female Orb Weaver Spiders spin large and elaborated webs that is used for catching prey and mating., among other uses. Unlike many others, Brown Sailor Spiders are nocturnal spiders, active during the night.

 

Cyrtophora moluccensis

#6 . A female Tent Spider (Cyrtophora moluccensis). Tent spiders are in many ways like Argiope Cross Spiders, particularly in terms of eye arrangements. However, Tent Spiders are usually larger and more robust, and builds 3-Dimensional, Tent-like webs to catch preys.

 

Argiope versicolor web wrapping

#7. A common, female Multi-coloured St. Andrew’s Cross Spider (Arigope cf. versicolor). This spider quickly splurt out a lot of web to immobilize a Giant Forest Ant that got trapped on its large web. The webs used to trap and wrap prey is different from the usual ones used for web-building.

 

Gasteracantha diardii ♀

#8. A Parellel-Spined Spiny Spider (Gasteracantha diaradii). This spider is much like the Macracantha arcuata (Photo #1) and carries a hard and heavy, armoured abdomen. These spiders make up for their slow and low manoeuvrability by building very large and strong webs.

 

Eriovixia sp. ♀ - Red Morph

#9. A red-coloured Eriovixia spider. These spiders tend to form a diamond shape resting position when resting. Also, does the red colour give this spider some extra protection from predators?

 

A Spiny Gea (Gea sinipes) resting on its web

#10. A female Spiny Gea (Gea spinipes). This tiny spider is everywhere, and like most other orb weavers, they often lie waiting at the centre of their webs. Some think that when spiders rest on the centre of their webs, the unique and colourful abdominal patterns may misdirect insect preys to mistake the spider as a flower, luring them into a trap.

 

A juvenile Malabar Hermit Spider going in for the kill-  Nephilengys malabarensis ♀ juv

#11. A juvenile Malabar Hermit Spider (Nephilengys malabarensis ♀) going in for the kill. Orb-Web Spiders do not have magnificent vision and rely heavily on their web vibrations to sense their prey: The spider will not be able to detect a prey that is staying still.

 

A fecund Orb Weaver Spider- Parawixia sp. ♀

#12. A gravid (pregnant) Garden Spider (Parawixia cf. dehaani). Spiders that are pregnant carry hundreds to thousands of eggs within the abdomen and will thus appear a lot “fatter” than usual.

 

Orb Weaver Spider- Parawixia sp. ♀

#13. A female Garden Spider (Parawixia cf. dehaani) after laying her eggs. Note the huge decrease in abdomen size after laying her eggs (see photo #12 for comparison). The egg-laying process is sometimes so energy-consuming that the mother spider dies soon after.

 

Parallel-spined Gasteracantha feasting- Gasteracantha diardi ♀

#14. A female parallel-spined Gasteracantha (Gasteracantha diardi) feasting. Most spiders will run when out in the open but not this one as it is well protected by its very tough abdominal “shell”. Spiny Spiders of the genus Gasteracantha are known to have rigid, bizarre-looking protective abdomens.

 

The "Night" Spider- Araneus nox ♀

#15. A female “Night” Spider (Araneus nox). So called probably because of its dark and shiny abdomen, this spider builds large webs and often lies in wait at the centre. They can be found around forest fringes and parks.

 

St. Andrew Cross Spider (Argiope versicolor) shaking it off!

#16. As hardcore fans of Taylor Swift, Argiope spiders take her “Shake It Off” song very literally and seriously! The organisms that get stuck on webs of these spiders are not always “desirable”, where some may even pose a risk to the spider. Despite having 8 legs, Argiope spiders do not use them to kick unwanted visitors out like other spiders do. Instead, they shake their webs violently to evict them. Argiope spiders may use this similar trick, albeit less vigorously, to cause trapped prey to struggle, thus allowing the spider to locate them on the web.

 

Gasteracantha kuhli ♀

#17. A female Black-and-White Spiny Spider (Gasteracantha kuhli). This common spiny spider can be found in shaded areas of parks or mountains. Although small, the hard shell protects it from predators. Gasteracantha kuhli spiders build large webs and are usually quite clumsy when dealing with their prey- their short legs prevent them from properly holding the prey while eating, and more often than not, the food is dropped halfway…

 

Garden Spider- Parawixia sp. ♀

#18. A female Garden Spider (Parawixia sp.). This medium-sized orb weaver spider builds its large web at night and lie in wait for preys at the centre. During the day, it hides itself in curled leaves.

 

Reddish-Orange Tent Spider- Cyrtophora sp. ♀

#19. A female Reddish-Orange Tent Spider (Cyrtophora sp.). Tent Spiders are always difficult to photograph since they will ALWAYS hang upside down. This is probably because the more vibrant colours of the abdomen was meant to fool ground-dwelling insects to think that there it is a flower (=food), luring and eventually trapping them on the spider’s 3-dimensional web eventually. If the spider is upright, the striking abdomen will definitely attract unwanted attraction.

 

Silver-Spotted Sun Spider- Neogea nocticolor ♀

#20. A female Silver-Spotted Sun Spider (Neogea nocticolor). This spider can usually be found amongst thick undergrowths. Closely related to St. Andrew’s Cross Spiders (Argiope), Neogea builds stabilimenta as support for their webs as well (not shown here). These spiders are also known to build multiple, cute cup-shaped egg sacs which are usually hanged on the upper portion of the spider’s web.

 

An Oval St. Andrew Cross Spider wrapping prey- Argiope aemula ♀

#21. A female Oval St. Andrew Cross Spider wrapping prey (Argiope aemula). This enormous Argiope spider was seen rotating a trapped grasshopper while spraying silk all over it for immobilization. Argiope aemula are usually found building webs among low shrubs, catching mostly leaping grasshoppers or crickets. Note the mere four white spots on the bottom side of the abdomen instead of the usual 6 seen in other Argiope spiders. b

 

Common Garden Spider- Parawixia dehaani ♀

#22. A female Common Garden Spider (Parawixia dehaani). Common Garden Spiders are nocturnal and come in a wide range of colours and forms, as in Photo #12 and #13. It is uncertain why they are different from one to another.

 

A juvenile Argiope dang ♀

#23. A juvenile female Dang’s Cross Spider (Argiope dang). This species of Cross Spider is pretty common throughout Peninsular Malaysia, and can often be found in gardens, parks or places near streams or drains. This spider can grow as large as the other Argiope spiders, and are often confused with A. catenulata and A. mangal due to the somewhat similar, cylinder-type abdomen.

 

Double-Humped Yellow Tent Spider- Cyrtophora cylindroides ♀ juv

#24. A juvenile, female Double-Humped Yellow Tent Spider (Cyrtophora cylindroides). This young tent spider was pretty inactive when I found her, and she wasn’t eating either; this could only mean one thing- she was getting ready to moult! Spiders lose appetite in preparation for ecdysis and will often ignore the food or flee altogether. This inactive period varies from spider to spider but is usually longer in larger spiders.

 

A Double-Humped Yellow Tent Spider- Cyrtophora cylindroides ♀

#25. An adult, female Double-Humped Yellow Tent Spider (Cyrtophora cylindroides). This is what the same spider (from Photo #24) looks like after 3 moults. Note the whitish patterns fading away and the abdomen becoming striking yellow in colour. The patterns are expected to continue to fade away, and the legs darkening as the spider ages.

 

Neoscona Orb-Weaver Spider- Neoscona sp. ♀

#26. A large, female Neoscona Orb-Weaver Spider (Neoscona sp.). Like other Neoscona spiders, this one probably starts building her web around the evening (usually 7pm) and waits at the centre for unfortunate preys. Hating sunlight, Neoscona spiders will hide in curled leaves during the day.

 

A Scorpion Spider- Arachnura sp.

#27. A female Scorpion Spider- (Arachnura sp.). So-called due to the tail that looks like a Scorpion’s sting, these spiders actually try their best to imitate fallen leaves i.e. the tail mimics the leaf stalk (petiole) whereas the entire body mimics the leaf itself. These spiders often come with colours (orange, brown etc.) that resemble wilted leaves too.

 

A Trashline Orb-Web Spider- Cyclosa sp. ♀

#28. A female Trashline Orb-Web Spider (Cyclosa sp.). Cyclosa Orb-weaver spiders are smart and creative spiders that decorate their webs with leaf matter of debris, mainly as camouflage. Many of these spiders build very unique web support structures called stabilimenta (the thicker and circular webs in this photo).

 

A gravid Oval St. Andrew Cross Spider- Argiope aemula ♀

#29. A female, gravid Oval St. Andrew Cross Spider (Argiope aemula). Probably the largest Argiope (in terms of overall size) spiders in Malaysia, Oval Cross Spiders build their webs on grassy areas near water, and usually prey on grasshoppers and crickets that accidentally jump onto their webs!

 

An adult Dang's Cross Spider releasing dragline silk- Argiope dang ♀

#30. An adult female Dang’s Cross Spider (Argiope dang) releasing dragline silk. The silk is released into the air and carried by the wind until it sticks to any surface (far from the spider), forming a “bridge” where the spider can use to start building a cobweb, or simply to escape deathtraps. Most web-building spiders will do this when there is wind movement.

 

An adult Dang's Cross Spider on the hunt- Argiope dang ♂

#31. An adult Dang’s Cross Spider (Argiope dang) on the hunt. Male spiders spend most of their juvenile days building webs and catching their preys. Once becoming an adult, they focus mainly on tracking down (mostly by pheromone) suitable female spiders (as seen in photo #30) of the same species. During this time, they don’t really feed. The same applies to this one, losing two legs will not stop this adult male to continue his pursuit of a female.

 

Cytophora cicatrosa sub ♀- Four-Humped Tent Spider

#32. A juvnile, female Four-Humped Tent Spider (Cytophora cicatrosa). This uncommon spider is known for its unique, four humps on its abdomen, and hence the name. Like most other juvenile Tent Spiders, this one has brown, glossy legs and cephalothorax, which are expected to turn darker and hairier as the spider matures.

 

Yellow-Silver St. Andrew's Cross Spider- Argiope catenulata ♀

#33. A female Yellow-Silver St. Andrew’s Cross Spider (Argiope catenulata). This is probably one of the most beautiful Argiope spiders in Malaysia. The striking, silvery-white hairs and the colourful (red, orange, yellow) abdominal patterns are the two main attractions of this beauty.

 

Common Garden Spider- Parawixia dehaani ♀

#34. A female Common Garden Spider (Parawixia dehaani). The Common Garden Spider is not exactly very “common” to most people, simply because these spiders only come out during the night, where they wait on the centre of their large webs for prey . During the day, the spider will abandon its web (without destroying it), and hide on or inside nearby leaves.

 

Parallel-spined Spiny Spider (Gasteracantha diardi) under UV illumination 2

#35. A female Parallel-spined Spiny Spider (Gasteracantha diardi; same as #14) under UV illumination. Spiders are easy to find at night, mainly because their eyes will fluoresce when being shined by UV. However, certain spiders have entire body parts that fluoresce instead. It is unclear as to why this happens. Some say its for males to locate the females; some say its an attractant towards preys; and some say it serves as a warning to the spider itself that its exposed (under moonlight) to predation.

 

Laglaise's Garden Spider- Eriovixia laglaizei ♀

#36. A female Laglaise’s Garden Spider (Eriovixia laglaizei). Some spiders tend to eat up/ destroy their own webs. This Laglaise’s Garden Spider is seen destroying its on web during an early morning. Why do they consume and destroy their webs? Perhaps it is to reduce waste of nutrients and also to “cover up” the location of their territory (most spiders tend to hide in leaves just beside their webs- easy to find and preyed upon).

 

Doleschall's Argiope Spider- Argiope doleschalli ♀

#37. A large, female Doleschall’s Argiope Spider (Argiope doleschalli). This particular species of spider is usually found near streams in deeper parts of forests. This large-sized spider is known to be extremely sensitive, agile in addition to producing very strong webs. It is therefore quite strange that these spiders do not dominate over the other Argiope species.

 

 

Reinwardt's Argiope Spider with butterfly prey- Argiope reinwardti ♀

#38. A female Reinwardt’s Argiope Spider (Argiope reinwardti) with butterfly prey. This particular species of spiders may look thin, fragile and slow, but their webs are large and formidable.

 

Reinwardt's Argiope Spiders- Argiope reinwardti ♂♀

#39. A pair of Reinwardt’s Argiope Spiders (Argiope reinwardti). Two male Argiope spiders (top left) fighting over the female. Unfortunately, in the spider world, the fastest and strongest males do not always get to the female. A hungry female may actually eat up the much smaller male. So the male doesn’t only have to be strong and fast, he has to be smart too to be able to mate successfully. This is an example of evolutionary pressure.

 

A red Spiny Gea- Gea spinipes ♂

#40. A red coloured, male Spiny Gea (Gea spinipes). Notice how the male of this particular genus of spiders are similar to those of Argiope (in Photo #39)? This is because the genera Gea and Argiope are closely related to one another. Two of the main differences between these two genera of spiders (apart from looks) are the structure of webs, and also the position of the posterior eyes. It is interesting to note that the size difference between male and female Gea spiders are much smaller than those of Argiope.

 

For more photos, please proceed to Page 2.

 


** Identification of the subjects in this page are tentative and should be taken with a pinch of salt.

** All photos shown on this page were taken by Tan Ji. Please do not use or copy these photos without permission. However, I welcome interested users to read Images- Terms of Use for more details.