Spinyback Orb Weaver Spider (Gasteracantha cancriformis)

Order: Araneae (ah-RAY-nee-ee) (Info)
Family: Araneidae (ar-ray-NEE-ih-dee) (Info)
Genus: Gasteracantha
Species: cancriformis


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Coker, Alabama
Ethelsville, Alabama
Vincent, Alabama
Arcadia, Florida
Atlantic Beach, Florida
Big Pine Key, Florida
Cape Coral, Florida
Crystal River, Florida
Daytona Beach, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Myers, Florida
Kissimmee, Florida
Lutz, Florida
Melbourne, Florida
New Port Richey, Florida
Nokomis, Florida
Orange Park, Florida
Rockledge, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Brunswick, Georgia
Macon, Georgia
Metairie, Louisiana
New Iberia, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Thibodaux, Louisiana
Ocean Springs, Mississippi
Waynesboro, Mississippi
Beulaville, North Carolina
Rockingham, North Carolina
Washington, North Carolina
West End, North Carolina
Willow Spring, North Carolina
Summerville, South Carolina (2 reports)
Austin, Texas (3 reports)
Friendswood, Texas
Houston, Texas
La Marque, Texas
Lufkin, Texas
Mc Kinney, Texas
Richmond, Texas
Round Rock, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Santa Fe, Texas
Spring, Texas
Suffolk, Virginia
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Members' Notes:


On Sep 16, 2013, fury88 from WILLOW SPRING, NC wrote:

I'm kind of an Arachnophobe but since I've spent more and more years in NC I've seen all kinds of spiders I've never seen before. I'm trying to make a point to remember they are there for a reason and a majority of them are harmless. I just uploaded a photo of one. Fascinating some of these!


On Oct 27, 2010, TxPhoto from Round Rock, TX wrote:

Spiny Back Orb Weavers started showing up in my yard 4 or 5 years ago (North Austin, TX). First I thought they are just another spider, but when I observed further, they have become more fascinating to me, and I have become to love those guys. Last year or so, I think birds got them all and I did not see any after that until this year. There is only one that I can find so far. The other day, a medium size butterfly was caught in the web and the spider was working on it. I took a couple of photos (which I posted). Next morning, the butterfly was gone, and only the wings were found on the ground below the web.


On Feb 3, 2010, lvsdale from Richmond, TX wrote:

I love finding these spiders. Around here - near Houston-we have so many colors--orange, yellow, white, white red points


On Oct 15, 2008, HutchinsonJC from Ethelsville, AL wrote:

On Sept 28th, 2008 I took a picture of the little guy on the front porch, though, he had been there a day or two prior. To this date (10-15-2008) he is still there and in the same spot.


On Sep 30, 2008, MeredithNC from Washington, NC wrote:

We are in eastern NC, near both water and trees, and found one spinning a web, using my car antennae as one anchor and an outbuilding 7 feet away as the other. We watched it spin several circles - very fast and very precise! Then it sat down to wait...mmm lunch!

I've only moved to NC in the last year and I had never seen such a thing before!


On Sep 28, 2008, midbig from Houston, TX wrote:

I watched her reconstruct her web.
Absolutely amazing.
I couldn't capture all of the details in the photo, but she would pause about 2 inches apart and produce this little cloud of web, resulting in a beautiful "star-like" web, greatly highlighted by these puffs of web, every 2 inches.


On May 4, 2008, Judy85 from Metairie, LA wrote:

I found this spider in its web in my satsuma tree in Metairie, Louisiana. It didn't enclose or eat the bugs that landed on the web, but seemed to inject, maybe, and then left. The bugs eventually worked their way free. Pretty bright yellow back on spider.


On Oct 2, 2007, Beyonxx from Austin, TX wrote:

We have a massive amount of these spiders in Austin, Texas. I was excited to finally find out what kind of spider they were because I've never see this kind of spider in Texas


On Jul 14, 2007, DebinSC from Georgetown, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

Aka the Crab Spider. We have many of these in our woodland garden every summer. They make webs that stretch across wide areas between shrubs and trees, and frequently right at eye level, though I've seen them 15-20 feet up.


On May 23, 2007, GSkinner from Lucedale, MS (Zone 8b) wrote:

I love these spiders. When I find one it always reminds me of my childhood. They were all around our house. I'm still fascinated by these little hard shelled spiders. From all my experience they are harmless, nothing to be scared of. A great addition to the garden.


On Jul 30, 2006, justmeLisa from Brewers, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

The Spinyback is an Orb weaver, it is also called a kite spider. It is a helpful spider to have in the garden. Typically it is found in tropical and sub tropical areas. The male is smaller than the female. He measures 1/16" - 1/8" (2-3mm) The female is 3/8" (8-10 mm).

The spines on this spider can also be red.