As the name indicates, Orb-web
Spiders weave orb-webs to trap flying insects. After having trapped
an insect in their web, many members of this family proceed to wrap
their prey in a white shroud of silk to be eaten later.
Some members of this family
decorate their webs with extra layers of silk, called stabilimentum.
The Argiope spiders are attractive because of the colours and
patterns on their body. They also have quite distinctive webs.
In Sabah the most striking
spiny spiders is the Gasteracantha arcuata. The two long, curved
spines rising from the sides of its abdomen give it the appearance
of a pair of horns.
Orb-weaving spiders produce the
familiar flat, ornate, circular webs usually associated with
spiders. Orb weavers come in many shapes and sizes, but the brightly
collared garden orb weavers, Argiope, are the largest and
best-known. The yellow garden spider, Argiope aurantia, is marked
with yellow, black, orange or silver. The female body is more than 1
inch long with much longer legs. It is also known as the black and
yellow garden spider and sometimes the writing spider because of a
thickened interwoven section in the web’s centre.
Male Argiope, often less than
1/4 the size of females, can sometimes be found in the same web with
the female. Garden orb weavers are so named because their webs can
be found in fields, on fences, around homes and in other locations.
The spiny backed orb weaver,
Gasteracantha cancriformis, is another distinctive orb weaver common
in wooded areas. The unusual flattened, spiny body shape makes it
look like a crab. Abdomen colours include white, yellow, orange or
Orb weavers are generally harmless but can be a nuisance when they
build large webs in places inconvenient for humans.