While the giant lichen orb weaver may not be the largest orb weaver in terms of diameter, thanks to its massive abdomen, it is one of the heaviest orb weaver spiders. Like most other orb weavers, Araneus bicentenarius is a nocturnal spider and spins large webs.
Quick Overview: Araneus bicentenarius – Giant Lichen Orb Weaver
Medically significant: No
Maximum body size: 1 inch (2.4 cm)
Main colors: gray, orange, black, greenish, white
Range: Eastern and Central United States and Canada
Web: Large orb-shaped web – up to 8 feet (2.5 meters) in diameter
Giant lichen orb weaver description
Most commonly, the legs of the giant lichen orb weaver are orange colored with black rings. The body is usually a grayish green with dark and white markings on it. Sometimes, the colors may also be close to yellow or a very gray green.
Thanks to its intricate markings on the back of the abdomen, the giant lichen orb weaver is often confused with the European garden spider (Araneus diadematus) which also occurs in the U.S. If you can get a close look, you can distinguish the two because the giant lichen orb weaver doesn’t have cross-shaped markings on its back.
Giant lichen orb weavers reach a size of around one inch (2.4 cm).
The giant orb weaver spins huge webs of a size up to 8 feet in diameter. Unlike most other orb weavers, Araneus bicentenarius usually spends most of its time on the edges of the web, not in the center. To stay safe from bird predators, orb weaver are mostly active at night and hide throughout the day.
For humans, the bite of a giant lichen orb weaver is generally not dangerous. At worst, you may experience symptoms comparable to a bee sting. Since the species is active at night, bites rarely occur.
Araneus bicentenarius scientific classification
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Chelicerata
- Class: Arachnida
- Order: Araneae
- Infraorder: Araneomorphae
- Family: Aranidae
- Genus: Araneus
- Species: Araneus bicentenarius
Distribution of the giant lichen orb weaver in the USA
The giant lichen orb weaver is most commonly found in the Eastern States and in the Mid-Western States of the U.S. Hence, Araneus bicentenarius occurs in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.