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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 are found in the eastern United States from New England and adjacent Canada southwest through West Virginia to Alabama and Texas, but are generally more common in the northern part of the range. They often often build their webs around structures such as barns, bridges, arbors, fences, and porches, but have 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).
This species is famous in literature as the model for Charlotte in Charlotte's Web by the 20th century American author E.B. White.
(Comstock and Gertsch 1948; Kaston 1978; Howell and Jenkins 2004)