Araneas cavaticus

Description

The Barn Spider is an orb weaver, a spider that spins its web in a circle-type shape. This orb weaver is about 3/4 inch long with a large round abdomen.

It spins a large orb web, hangs its head down in the middle at night and retreats to a nearby crevice during the day.

This spider is a dark brown color, with darker markings on the back of the abdomen. Its legs are slightly covered with whitish hairs.

Habitat

Barn Spiders are found all over the eastern part United States. They can be found on porches near lights, in the corners of doorways, in window frames -- anywhere conducive for constructing the large orb web. You can even find them on the sides of cliffs, in caves, and in barns!

In late afternoon and at night, the barn spider can be seen hanging in the center of its web. During the day, the barn spider will retreat to a nearby crevice only to return to the web the next night.

Food

The Barn Spider preys on flying and crawling insects that become entangled in her orb web. The spider will vibrate or sway the web if she senses that prey may be caught in it.

The web itself is used to wrap the prey and soon becomes full of holes and ragged. After several days, the spider will eat the web, recycle the silk, and construct a new web.

Defense

The Barn Spider's shadowy brown coloration helps to camouflage it. During the day it retreats into a crevice near the web. If disturbed while on the web, a barn spider will run to one side, drop off or hide in a crevice.