The spider species Micrathena mitrata, commonly called white micrathena, is an orb weaving spider. They have a large bulbous white abdomen with spines and black markings and are found throughout the Eastern United States as well as Central and South America.
The white micrathena has a brown and small cephalothorax (head) and legs and a large black and white abomen. The underside of these spiders is mostly black with some brighter markings.
Their large white abdomen has several black markings. These can either be small black (or sometimes also brown or reddish) dots or also cover larger areas in the center of the abdomen. You can see some variations on the images on this page. On the back of their abdomen, white micrathenas have four black spines. Two on top and to on the bottom.
Similar spiders: The spined micrathena (Micrathena gracilis) can have a similar appearance and body coloration. While the white micrathena only has four small spines on the end of its abdomen, spined micrathenas have many spines.
Micrathena mitrata are small spiders. Male individuals only grow to a body size of around 0.1 in (3 mm) while females reach an average body size of 0.2 in (6 mm).
Micrathena mitrata web
These orb-weaving spiders produce flat, ornate, and circular webs. Hence, they are one of the few orb weaver species that don’t spin vertical webs aimed but horizontal ones. With this special construction, they target very small flying insects, mostly small mosquitoes.
The Micrathena mitrata spiders are generally harmless. However, humans often feel disturbed when these spiders build large webs in their garden or near forests. But please don’t forget that the spider is providing a great service for you in catching annoying mosquitoes.
Distribution of the white micrathena in the United States
White micrathena spiders are found throughout the Eastern United States. More specifically, they are found in the following U.S. 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.
Micrathena mitrata Scientific Classification
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Chelicerata
- Class: Arachnida
- Order: Araneae
- Infraorder: Araneomorphae
- Family: Araneidae
- Genus: Micrathena
- Species: Micrathena mitrata
- Taxon details: World Spider Catalogue
- Binominal name from: Hentz, 1850