The arrow-head spider, Verrucosa arenata, is an orb-weaver spider found throughout the United States. Its common name arrowhead spider or triangle orb weaver comes from the triangle-shaped yellow or white coloration on the spiders’ abdomen.
Arrow-Shaped Orbweaver Description
Verrucosa arenata are generally easy to distinguish from similar orb weavers because of their special color pattern and shape of their abdomen. The spider has a large triangle or arrowhead-shape on the back of its abdomen with the tip pointing away from the cephalothorax (head). The abdomen itself also has a triangular shape. While the spider’s body is light brown, orange or reddish, the arrowhead pattern on the abdomen is white, cream-colored or bright yellow. The legs of the spider are also brown, orange or reddish with several darker bands. Often, the spider has additional small bumps on the back of its abdomen in the same color as the triangle-shape.
The male spiders are smaller in size and don’t have the triangle shaped abdomen like the female ones. The male arrowhead spiders are hardly ever seen. Most sightings occur only while mating with female spiders.
Similar spiders: Even though the arrowhead orb weaver is quite unique and rarely confused with other spiders, confusion can arise with the similarly-named Arrow-Shaped Orbweaver (Micrathena Sagittata).
Female spiders are considerably larger than male spiders. Females reach an average body length of 0.3-0.6 in (7-14 mm) while males are only about half that size.
Verrucosa arenata spiders are orb-weaver spiders who build large orb-shaped webs. They are the only known species of orb weavers that sit in their web facing upward. All other species face downward.
Arrowhead orb weavers are diurnal spiders and rebuild their web every day. They start building early in the morning and their web is often already badly damaged by midday – caused by flying insects hitting the web.
The arrowhead spiders are known to be harmless to humans or pets. However, some people may encounter redness, swelling, or allergic reactions after a bite. Generally, like other orb weavers, they are not aggressive and only bite on occasions where they feel cornered and don’t see an option to run away.
Distribution of the arrow-shaped orb weaver in the United States
The spiders belonging to the Verrucosa arenata species are found all across North America. Most sightings occur in late summer and often appear in gardens as well as in forest areas. Arrowhead spiders are found in every U.S. state, including Alaska and Hawaii: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
Verrucosa arenata scientific classification
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Chelicerata
- Class: Arachnida
- Order: Araneae
- Infraorder: Araneomorphae
- Family: Araneidae
- Genus: Verrucosa
- Species: Verrucosa arenata
Other common names
Commonly, Verrucosa arenata are also referred to as Triangle Orb Weaver, Arrowhead spider as well as Arrowhead orb weaver.
- Taxon details: World Spider Catalogue
- Binominal name from: Walckenaer, 1842
- Kaston, B. J. (1978). How to Know the Spiders. WCB/McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-697-04898-5.