Hanging out with orchard orbweavers


Featured above is the Leucauge venusta, commonly known as an Orchard Orbweaver. I first noticed this spider hanging out on a web amongst the forest underbrush. I stared at the spider hesitantly and froze at the thought of getting close. Michael Schrimpf, our guide, encouraged me to get it on camera, and as though the spider heard, it made a run for it. Thanks to the picture above and the iNaturalist app I was able to identify the spider. While researching the spider I found that the IUCN Red List has the taxon for the orbweaver as “not yet been assessed for the IUCN Red List, but is in the Catalogue of Life: Leucauge“. Further research through the IUCN provided me with the info that this spider is in the Family of “Tetragnathidae” and Genus of “Leucauge”. On our walk through the park I noticed many bugs and while researching the orbweaver I found out that it is one of the most common spiders in North America, and I also learned how to identify its web which is usually horizontal with a whole in the middle that the spider usually drops down from. An interesting fact to also note about the spider is that although it is common in North America there is contention about all of these spiders being lumped into the same species “analyses clearly separate USA samples into two deeply divergent and geographically structured groups (north–south) which we interpret as two different species.”

Steven Torres



Species delimitation of the North American orchard-spider Leucauge venusta (Walckenaer, 1841) (Araneae, Tetragnathidae)


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