Mangora gibberosa, the lined orbweaver, is a common spider found throughout the eastern part of North America. One of the main characteristics of the lined orbweaver is its special web-style. The webs ob Mangora gibberosa have an inner circle that is spun with thicker silk, forming a white ring around the web’s center.
The overall body color of the spider can range from almost white through light brown and often also a green color. The legs are thin with long spines (hairs) and have an almost translucent-like appearance in the color of the main body. The spider has black lines along the underside of its two front leg pairs.
The spider has a large and round abdomen with some basic white coloration and green or yellow color markings along the sides. The best way to distinguish the lined orbweaver from similar-looking species are the two black or dark brown longitudinal lines on the back of its abdomen and the central black or dark brown/green longitudinal line on its carapace.
Similar species: Depending on the body coloration, the lined orbweaver can be confused with the (also harmless) orchard orb weaver (Leucauge venusta). Leucauge sp. spiders usually have an oblong abdomen while lined orbweavers have an oval abdomen. Their webs are also often confused with the trashline orbweaver (Cyclosa turbinata) who uses debris of prey to decorate its web.
This species of orb-weaving spiders can reach a maximum size of 0.2-0.25 in (5-6 mm). Females are around 30% larger than males.
Like other orb weavers, the lined orbweaver spins large orb-shaped webs. However, a distinctive feature of the Mangora gibberosa spiders is that they spin a circle around the center of their webs with thickened silk. This structure is believed to serve two purposes:
1) The thickened silk stabilizes the web in its center. This way, it is more resistant to rain, wind and insect damage. 2) The increased visibility of the web also prevents birds to fly into the web and damage it. The spiders are often found sitting in the middle of their webs during late summer. Autumn is a great season to admire the work of the lined orb-weaver spiders in forests or gardens. Their webs look highly attractive when covered with dewdrops or shimmer in the sun.
The venom of Mangora gibberosa spiders isn’t harmful to humans, it is just used to subdue potential small prey animals. All orb weaver spiders are non-aggressive and generally hesitant to bite humans. Some smaller individuals wouldn’t even be able to bite through humans skin. Bite can cause some local swelling and pain, comparable to a bee sting.
Distribution of the lined orb weaver in the United States
The lined orbweaver is native to the Eastern part of North America from North Dakota and Texas to the East Coast. It can be found 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 Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Mangora gibberosa Scientific Classification
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Chelicerata
- Class: Arachnida
- Order: Araneae
- Infraorder: Araneomorphae
- Family: Araneidae
- Genus: Mangora
- Species: Mangora gibberosa