Araneus Gemmoides – Cat-Faced Spider or Jewel Spider

The Araneus Gemmoides is an orb weaver species that occurs in the Western United States. It is also known under the common names cat-faced spider or jewel spider.

Both common names reflect the special traits of the body of araneus gemmoides. The abdomen is large and if seen from the front, cat-faced. Others consider the shape of the spider’s body diamond- or jewel-shaped. Hence, its other common name. The spider comes in various colors ranging from almost completely white to bright orange and dark brown.

Araneus Gemmoides seen in Montana
This cat-faced spider was photographed by Jaimie in Montana.

Size of the Cat-Faced Spider

The Araneus Gemmoides spider usually grows between 0.2 and 1 inch long (5-25 mm). It has comparably short legs and a large-sized abdomen.

Araneus Gemmoides Bite

The fact Araneus Gemmoides are Orb Weavers means they are not dangerous to humans. They are nearly as harmless as it gets with spiders. They are extremely timid spiders and will always try to get away rather than fight. They are clumsy moving outside of their webs, and even if they do bite, their venom will do nothing more than cause a small blemish that will fade. At their worst, they may cause a slight welt.

White grey Cat-faced spider orb weaver in Vermont
A white/grey cat-faced orb weaver photographed by Matt in Warren, Vermont

Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Arachnida
  • Order: Araneae
  • Infraorder: Araneomorphae
  • Family: Araneidae
  • Genus: Araneus
  • Species: Araneus gemmoides

Distribution of the cat-faced spider in the USA

The cat-faced spider can be found in the following states in the Western USA: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Cat-faced orb weaver spider
Photography by: Patty Weigand – Glorieta, New Mexico
Araneus Gemmoides – Cat-Faced Spider or Jewel Spider

2 thoughts on “Araneus Gemmoides – Cat-Faced Spider or Jewel Spider

  1. This is in Helena Montana. This spider makes its home under the eaves, spinning a flat, radial web. I found her after dark (9pm) sitting on her web washing her face. By the time I got a picture of her, she had retreated under the eave. Her head, legs, and thorax are a translucent brown, and she has a very thin waist, attaching to a bulbous, cream-colored abdomen with no visible markings.The abdomen is almost cube-shaped, with two minute protrusions on either topside resembling horns. She seems very docile.

  2. Hello Heather,
    Thank you for your ID request. The spider you found is most certainly a cat-faced orb weaver (or jewel spider because of the cube-shaped abdomen). It is not a medically significant spider and great to have around for pest control.

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