The Cat-faced Orbweaver is our #1 submission as of late. The chunky females, combined with their spiral, wheel-shaped webs, are hard to miss this time of year. Melissa’s first photo shows off this species’ identifying characteristic beautifully—a fine white line crossed by two shallow white Vs on the front of the abdomen. According to BugGuide, “How strong these lines are, and, to a certain extent, their shape, is variable from one individual to another.” These orbweavers can also vary in color a lot. The second photo, with Melissa’s son, is great for size reference and makes us smile. We love seeing young bug hunters in action!
This female will be gone by the first hard frost, but hopefully she’s already laid an egg sac (or is about to), which will produce 100+ spiderlings next spring—an amazing sight to see when they emerge. They will hang out in a cluster for a few days before disappearing.
Size: Females 13 to 25 mm, males 5.4 to 7.9 mm
Photos by: Melissa Mathis on 9/24/21 in Greenough, MT