Green Orb Weaver

This year has apparently been good for the green orbweb spider (Colaranea viriditas); I usually see them only rarely, but I’ve run across quite a few this summer.

These beauties are pale green with a kelly green leaf-shaped mark covering the abdomen.

As the name implies, these spiders make orb webs—the spiral-shaped webs everyone’s familiar with. Though they’re primarily nocturnal, I’ve regularly seen them hanging out in the middle of their webs during the daytime (often snacking on an insect). These sharp-looking spiders apparently like a tidy web; they rebuild their webs nightly, and the webs are always as attractive as their residents.

The green orb weaver’s main predator is the native potter wasp, which paralyses the spiders with a sting and stuffs them into its nest for its larvae to feed on. However, the green orb weaver appears to be better at hiding from potter wasps than the non-native Australian orb weaver (at least on our property). Earlier this summer, the potter wasps decided that the screw holes in the bottom of the dining room table were perfect nest holes—every one of the dozens of orb weavers they crammed into the table was an Australian orb weaver.

I enjoy finding these little green gems in the garden. They’re as beautiful as they are helpful.

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