Tent-Web Spider

The Tent-Web Spider (Cyrtophora moluccensis) is an arachnid in the Araneidae family of Orb-Weavers. It is also called the Dome-Web Spider.

The Tent-Web Spider is varied in size and colour, but is usually yellow to green to brown-black. It has 2 body parts: the cephalothorax (head and chest), and the abdomen. On its head, it has up to 8 eyes, and 2 fangs in its mouth. Next to its mouth are 2 structures, like mini antennae, called pedipalps. Its abdomen has colourful markings. Its abdomen is where it has its spinnerets and silk-producing glands used to make its web. It has 8 legs, and each leg has 6 joints. Its legs are usually striped and contain hair-like spikes. Its leg hairs detect smells and vibrations.

Tent-Web Spider

Tent-Web Spider

It is not an insect, because insects have 6 legs and 3 separate body parts (head, thorax, and abdomen).

It grows up to about 4 centimetres (1.5 inches).

The Tent-Web Spider is native to India, Japan, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, and the Pacific islands, such as Fiji and Tonga. It can be found in open areas, tropical rain forests, eucalypt forests, and mountainous regions.

Its large web is tent-shaped, between tree branches or bushes. Its web is horizontal with a dome-shape, making it look three-dimensional, like a tent. It is strong, lasting several weeks, and does not have a sticky spiral. Females make the webs.

It eats insects, which it captures in its web. Its pedipalps help it to hold its food. It bites its prey and inserts liquid into its prey, which softens it, making it easier to eat.

The Tent-Web Spider lives alone (it is solitary) or in colonies of about 50 individuals. Colonies build their webs together, making the webs look like one huge web. It stays in its web day and night.

Females produce 1-3 cocoons of eggs. The adult male dies soon after mating, and the adult female dies soon after laying the eggs. The cocoons break open and the baby spiders emerge.



Photographer: Martina Nicolls



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