As is true in many spider species, females of this species grow to much larger size than males. Adult female body length ranges from 19 to 28 mm (3/4 to 1 1/8 in.), while males reach only 5 to 9 mm (1/4 - 3/8 in.). In both sexes, the shiny, egg-shaped abdomen has striking yellow or orange markings on a black background. The forward part of the body, the cephalothorax, is covered with short, silvery hairs. Legs are mostly black, with red or yellow portions near the body. (Dewey, 1993; Milne and Milne, 1980)
Like other orb-weavers (family Araneidae), this species has three claws per foot, one more than most spiders. Orb-weavers use this third claw to help handle the threads while spinning. Also in common with other orb-weaving spiders (and most, but not all spiders generally), A. aurantia has a venomous bite that immobilizes prey that is caught in its web. (Dewey, 1993; Milne and Milne, 1980)
- Milne, L., M. Milne. 1980. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
- Dewey, J. 1993. Spiders near and far. New York: Penguin Books.