Gasteracantha cancriformis

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Gasteracantha cancriformis
Crablike Spiny Orb Weaver.jpg
A female Gasteracantha cancriformis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Family: Araneidae
Genus: Gasteracantha
Species: G. cancriformis
Binomial name
Gasteracantha cancriformis
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Gasteracantha cancriformis (the star spider, spiny-backed orbweaver, spiny orbweaver spider, crab-like orbweaver spider, crab-like spiny orbweaver spider, jewel spider, spiny-bellied orbweaver, jewel box spider, smiley face spider or sometimes in the Philippines, the king) is a species of spider.

Females are 5–9 millimetres (0.20–0.35 in) long and 10–13 mm (0.39–0.51 in) wide. The six abdominal spine-like projections on the abdomen are characteristic. The carapace, legs and underside are black with white spots under the abdomen. Variations occur in the colour of the upperside of the abdomen: a white or yellow colour with both featuring black spots. A white upperside can have either red or black spines while a yellow upperside can only have black ones. Like with many other spiders, males are much smaller (2 to 3 mm long) and longer than wide. They are similar to the females in colour but have a gray abdomen with white spots and the spines are reduced to four or five stubby projections.

It is found across the southern part of the United States from California to Florida, including Alabama as well as in Central America, Jamaica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, South America (including south and central Brazil, with several variations according to location) and certain islands in the Bahamas. It has also been sighted in the Whitsunday Islands, Australia, South Africa and Palawan, Philippines, as well as Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands, the Antilles and Koh Chang in Thailand eastern seaboard.

It lives in woodland edges and shrubby gardens. Many of the studies on this spider have taken place in citrus groves in Florida. They frequently live in trees or around trees in shrubs.

This species of spider does not live very long. In fact, the lifespan lasts only until reproduction, which usually takes place in the spring following the winter when they hatched. Females die after producing an egg mass, and males die six days after a complete cycle of sperm induction to the female.

Gasteracantha cancriformis in Miami

The genus name Gasteracantha derives from the Greek words γαστήρ (gaster, "belly") and ἄκανθα (acantha, "thorn"), while the specific epithet cancriformis derives from the Latin words cancer ("crab") and forma ("shape, form, appearance").

Close Up Of Spiny Orb Weaver Spider Eating a Butterfly


Gasteracantha cancriformis mating in the Summer

G. cancriformis has also been described under a number of taxonomic synonyms:

  • Aranea cancriformis
  • Aranea tetracantha
  • Aranea conchata
  • Aranea hexacantha
  • Epeira lata
  • Epeira servillei
  • Acrosoma hexacantha
  • Gasteracantha hexacantha
  • Gasteracantha velaris
  • Plectana cancriformis
  • Plectana hexacantha
  • Plectana elipsoides
  • Plectana quinqueserrata
  • Plectana sexserrata
  • Plectana triserrata
  • Plectana servillei
  • Plectana lata
  • Plectana atlantica
  • Gasteracantha rubiginosa
  • Gasteracantha picea
  • Gasteracantha mammosa
  • Gasteracantha quadridens
  • Gasteracantha pallida
  • Epeira cancer
  • Gasteracantha moesta
  • Gasteracantha insulana
  • Gasteracantha hilaris
  • Gasteracantha columbiae
  • Gasteracantha kochii
  • Dicantha lata
  • Micrathena triserrata
  • Gasteracantha oldendorffii
  • Gasteracantha canestrinii
  • Gasteracantha callida
  • Gasteracantha raimondii
  • Gasteracantha proboscidea
  • Gasteracantha rufospinosa
  • Gasteracantha maura
  • Gasteracantha elliptica
  • Gasteracantha preciosa
  • Gasteracantha biolleyi
  • Gasteracantha mascula
  • Gasteracantha comstocki
  • Vibradellus carolinus
  • Gasteracantha elipsoides

Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Media related to Gasteracantha cancriformis at Wikimedia Commons