Barn Spiders (Araneus cavaticus) are large, grayish, heavy-bodied spiders. This is one of the Araneus species known as "angulate", a reference to the well-developed "shoulder humps". On the underside of the abdomen it has a broad black band running down the center, the forward half bordered by two curving yellow lines, with a pair of yellow spots near the center of this band. Barn Spiders found in the eastern United States from New England and adjacent Canada southwest through West Virginia to Alabama and Texas, but is generally more common in the northern part of its range. It often builds its webs around structures such as barns, bridges, arbors, fences, and porches, but has also been found beneath overhanging cliffs.
Adults of both sexes are densely covered with spines and hair-like bristles. The legs of the male are very long and thin and densely covered with long, thin spines. Body length is around 13 to 22 mm for females and 10 to 19 mm for males.
Orb webs are taken down (consumed) at the end of each night and rebult the next night. Most of the web is effectively solubilized and recycled by the spider (Townley and Tillinghast 1988).
(Comstock and Gertsch 1948; Kaston 1978; Howell and Jenkins 2004)
- Comstock, J.H. (revised and edited by W.J. Gertsch). 1948. The Spider Book, Comstock Publishing Company, Ithaca, New York.
- Howell, W.M. and R.L. Jenkins. 2004. Spiders of the Eastern United States: a Photographic Guide. Pearson Education, Boston.
- Kaston, B.J. 1978. How to Know the Spiders, 3rd edition. Wm. C. Brown Company, Dubuque, Iowa.
- Townley, M.A. and E.K. Tillinghast. 1988. Orb Web Recycling in Araneus cavaticus (Araneae, Araneidae) with an Emphasis on the Adhesive Spiral Component, Gabamide. Journal of Arachnology 16(3): 303-319.