Garden Spider
Areneus diadematus
Family Areneidae

* Marked with varying shades of brown, with a white cross pattern on the abdomen. The white marks are the result of guanine crystals excreted by the spider as waste.
* Length: 1-1 3/4".

Natural History:
* Habitat: Gardens, near buildings and houses. Female builds orb webs (See Connections).
* Range: Throughout the United States.
* Behavior: Feeds on flies and other insects. Female sometimes eats male during or after copulation.
* Native.

* Spider webs are truly miracles of engineering, as well as beautifully designed artworks. Areneus diademata and other orb-building spiders begin their webs with a central hub (See diagram at right, from The Biology of Spiders, by Rainer F. Foelix, Harvard University Press, 1982). The hub is surrounded by a 'free zone', in which the spider can move around unhampered by intricate spiralling threads. From the hub come 25 to 30 dry radial threads, which connect to strong frame threads around the outer perimeter of the web. Spiralling threads go from outside of the free zone to the edge of the web, and sticky threads, running from the outside to the free zone, are spun last and coated with sticky droplets. The spider waits in the center of the web until a careless insect becomes caught in the sticky threads, and then she runs to wrap it up and paralyze it, storing it for future use.

* "The evolution of spider silk has been an event comparable in importance to the evolution of flight in insects, or warmbloodedness in the vertebrates."
-M.R. Gray, spider researcher, 1978.

* Spider silk is stronger than steel, incredibly light, and almost impossible to dissolve. No wonder scientists see it as the fiber of the future! It has been spun into fabric, and advances have been made in production of synthetic spider silk, for use in medical sutures and in gunsights of high-powered rifles.


Created by: Niki Zhou and Carla Holleran
Maintained by: Nick Rodenhouse
Created: June 25, 2004
Last Modified: August 7, 2004
Expries: June 1, 2005