Mohammed El Damir, Bugwood.org
The cross orbweaver was probably introduced from Europe, where it has been studied at some length. This is another one of the showy orbweavers and although it may be found in many of the same areas as the other orbweavers, it is commonly encountered next to buildings with exterior lighting--even occurring in lighted stairwells of structures in more rural settings. It is known from Pennsylvania north throughout New England, throughout Canada, and then south into Washington and Oregon.
Adult females range in length from 6.5 to 20 millimeters, and the males are 5.5 to 13 millimeters long. The color varies greatly from specimen to specimen. Generally, the smaller and/or younger individuals are darker while the adult females are lighter. The background color is yellow to brown with two longitudinal, wavy or scalloped lines (folium). There are several white or yellow spots within and around the folium. Four elongated spots appear toward the anterior end of the abdomen, creating what appears to be a cross. As with the previous species, the carapace has three dark, longitudinal lines or bands.
The adults are found from late summer through autumn. In late September, the females leave their webs and seek out protected locations to deposit between 300 to 900 eggs. The eggs are enclosed within a cocoon of yellow, silken threads, shaped in a hemisphere. Typical egg deposition sites include under the bark of dead trees and in cracks and crevices.
A recent report of verified spider bites lists this spider as producing a range of symptoms, including pain, swelling, and redness. Systemic reactions included anxiety, nausea, headache, and muscle cramps, but not all individuals had the same reactions. Duration of symptoms/reactions ranged from 2 days to 3 weeks.
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Authored by: Steve Jacobs, Sr. Extension Associate
March 2002 Revised 2015