Arachnids of North Carolina
Scientific Name: Common Name: Family (Alpha):
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View Araneidae Members: NC Records

Araneus pratensis - an orbweaver

Order: ARANEAEInfraorder: AraneomorphaeFamily: Araneidae                                                                                 
Species Comment: one common name is Openfield Orbweaver
Online Description/Photos: BugGuide Google, iNaturalist, Wikipedia, GBIFTechnical Description: Spiders of North America - Bradley; Spiders of the Carolinas – Gaddy; Bugguide
Comments: Small orbweaver with a long oval abdomen. Most individuals are yellowish, but some are darker with brown longitudinal bands. Extent of color variable, you could say dark brown with yellowish longitudinal bands on sides and a pair down centerline. The lack of black in the head region and brown rather than black banding on the abdomen distinguishes this species from other small orbweavers with oval abdomens.
Total Length: Very small, female 3.8-5 mm, male 3-3.5 mmAdult ID: identifiable by photo
Distribution in North Carolina
Comments: Likely statewide in North Carolina, more common in foothills and Piedmont. Occurs throughout the east from New England to North Carolina, west to Minnesota and Kansas. Males in late spring, female in summer and autumn, though could be found year round.
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Adult phenology:
 High Mountains (HM) ≥ 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Open field habitat, regenerated areas, open areas with goldenrod and broomsedge, even moist meadows.
Observation Methods: Sweep net.
Abundance/Frequency: Uncommon, small and likely overlooked.
Silk / Web: Small orb web, 20cm.
Behavior: This spider occupies a small orb (about 20 cm) even during the day, when disturbed it drops to the ground.
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks:
State Protection:

Photo Gallery for Araneus pratensis - an orbweaver

Recorded by: Brian Bockhahn
Rockingham Co.