Orbwevers are common in the U.S. and prefer woodlands and gardens. Females build circular orb webs and can be found either sitting at the center of the web or hanging from a ‘motion detector signal line’ a short distance from the web itself. When triggered, the prey is then quickly captured and wrapped in silk before being eaten. When they are threatened, they rapidly shake themselves and the web up and down and may drop to the ground via a silk thread. Orb Spiders are said to eat their webs each night along with many of the small insects stuck to it. They have been observed doing this within a couple of minutes. A new web is then spun in the morning.
The young spiders emerge from the cocoon in spring where they gather into dense groups until after their first molt, they scatter by ‘ballooning’, a form of dispersal in which the spiderlings are carried on the wind by a thread of silk. I always thought this would be a wonderful way to travel!!
© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl