The Find-a-Spider Guide

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Cyrtophora exanthematica

Fact Box
Species:
Cyrtophora exanthematica (RM)
Family:
Araneidae
formerly Argiopidae
Body length:
female: about 11 mm
(but one female shown on this page was 15 mm long)
male: 3.5 mm
Habitat:
In a complex web strung between the branches of shrubs; the upper part of the web is a loose tangled ball and the base is an inverted tent; during the day the female rests face down within the web or on the surface of its flattened egg sac once formed
Toxicity:
Unknown; a bite may cause mild illness but this spider is unlikely to bite unless severely provoked
Cyrtophora exanthematica
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In its web
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Brighter colours
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Other views
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Front view
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Female from above
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Web from above
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Tent from side
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The male

The abdominal markings of this spider make it reasonably easy to recognize though its colour can vary considerably. The female's habit of guarding her egg sac by lying on its surface is also distinctive.

The comparatively large volume occupied by the web allows many smaller spiders to occupy its periphery, including the male of this species and at least one scavenging Argyrodes species.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: Cyrtophora hirta.


Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 20 January 2009