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Australian Garden Orb Weaver Fact File

Eriophora transmarina

Credit: Public Domain

Weight

Insufficient

Data

Length

25-50mm

(1-2in)

Lifespan

Wild 1 year

Captive 1 year

Diet

Carnivore

Flying Insects

Conservation Status

IUCN

Least Concern

The Australian garden orb weaver is a small spider found along the east coast of Australia. They can be found in webs which they build at night before taking them down each morning.

These spiders are carnivores which will feed on flying insects which become caught in their web.

They emerge at night which helps to keep them safe from many predators. During the day they hide in a tree.

Populations of the garden orb weaver are threatened through an increase of fire activity and habitat destruction.

Read on to learn more about these incredible invertebrates.

Appearance

What does the Australian Garden Orb Weaver look like?

They are colored brown with some patterns on their abdomen. The head is a dark, reddish-brown color. They are covered by some small hairs. In males the legs feature more spines.

As an arachnid this species has eight legs.

Male garden orb weaver spiders are significantly smaller in comparison to the females. It is thought this may be an adaptation which assists them with reaching her during mating.

Females average a length of 50mm (2in) compared to 25mm (1in) for the males.

Diet

What does the Australian Garden Orb Weaver eat?


Australian garden orb weaver spiders are carnivores. They will feed on flying insects which fly in to their web and become caught within the sticky strands.

Once prey becomes entangled in the web they will quickly move towards it. If left too long it may be able to free itself from the web. The prey is wrapped with web and they then take it to the center of the web to eat.

Australian Garden Orb Weaver (Eriophora transmarina)

Credit: fir0002  flagstaffotos [at] gmail.com, Canon 20D + Sigma 150mm f/2.8 + Canon MT 24-EX, GFDL 1.2 <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html>, via Wikimedia Commons

Range

Where can you find the Australian Garden Orb Weaver?

Australia is the native home of the Australian garden orb weaver. Here they are found along the east coast.

Habitat

What kind of environment does the Australian Garden Orb Weaver live in?

These animals build a nest between two trees. Often these are taken down in the morning. They will eat the web which allows them to recycle it the next day.

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Reproduction

How does the Australian Garden Orb Weaver produce its young?

Breeding takes place during summer. The male will seek out a female. He must be careful as if he approaches her straight away she may feed on him.


To avoid this they will carefully pluck threads of silk to identify that he is a potential mate. As he does this he gradually moves towards the center of the web.


The eggs are deposited as a silken cocoon which is placed on vegetation.


Most eggs hatch within a month of being laid. Some overwinter and emerge in summer though.

Behavior

What does the Australian Garden Orb Weaver do with its day?

These spiders build a web between two trees. To build their nest they will allow the breeze to carry them between the two branches.

During the day they will rest on a tree branch out of view. At night they will enter the web to find food. This habit of hiding during the day is a way to avoid predators such as birds.

Australian Garden Orb Weaver (Eriophora transmarina)

Credit: fir0002  flagstaffotos [at] gmail.com, Canon 20D + Sigma 150mm f/2.8 + Canon MT 24-EX, GFDL 1.2 <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html>, via Wikimedia Commons

Predators and Threats

What is impacting the survival of the Australian Garden Orb Weaver?

Natural predators of this species include the golden-tipped bat which has worked out how to avoid the sticky web of the spider. As such this may make up as much as 95% of the diet of the bats. They are also taken by birds.

This species is also affected by an increase in bushfire activity which is reducing their available habitat.

Quick facts

They may also be known as the garden orb-weaver or the wheelweaving spider.

Australian Garden Orb Weaver (Eriophora transmarina)

Credit: Thennicke, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

References

Minibeast Wildlife. 2021. Garden orb-weavers – Minibeast Wildlife. [online] Available at: <https://www.minibeastwildlife.com.au/resources/garden-orb-weavers/> [Accessed 5 December 2021].

Chew, P., 2010. Garden Orb Web Spider – Eriophora transmarina (Araneus transmarina ). [online] Brisbaneinsects.com. Available at: <https://www.brisbaneinsects.com/brisbane_orbweavers/Garden_sp.htm> [Accessed 5 December 2021].

The Australian Museum. 2021. Garden Orb Weaving Spiders. [online] Available at: <https://australian.museum/learn/animals/spiders/garden-orb-weaving-spiders/> [Accessed 5 December 2021].

Qm.qld.gov.au. 2021. Garden Orb Web Spiders – Queensland Museum. [online] Available at: <https://www.qm.qld.gov.au/Explore/Find+out+about/Animals+of+Queensland/Spiders/Modern+Spiders+Infraorder+Araneomorphae/Orb-weaving+spiders/Garden+Orb+Web+Spiders> [Accessed 5 December 2021].

Ark.net.au. 2021. Garden Orb-Weaving Spider – Ark.net.au. [online] Available at: <https://www.ark.net.au/garden-orb-weaving-spider.html> [Accessed 5 December 2021].

Biodiversity of the Western Volcanic Plains. 2021. Garden Orb-weaver. [online] Available at: <https://bwvp.ecolinc.vic.edu.au/fieldguide/fauna/garden-orb-weaver#location> [Accessed 5 December 2021].

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