Long Jawed Orb Weaver Spider

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Spiders, Pacific Northwest

Long Jawed Orb Weaver Spider
Long Jawed Orb Weaver Spider, Photo By Robert Logan

The long-jawed orb weaver has translucent areas on its legs, allowing the color of the background area to show through, providing it with some camouflage. Members of this genus have very long chelicerae, and in some species they are so big, that they’re reminiscent of a praying mantis’ over-sized forelegs.

The fangs take on the form of a very long hypodermic-like needle, folded back in a jack knife-manner against the heavier mandible. This combination offers much strength and a long reach – very useful for catching prey. The prominent chelicerae, combined with the equally noticeable palps, makes it appear as if the spider has 4 jaws – hence the scientific name.

Many species of long-jawed orb weavers will rest at the side of their web, keeping their legs on a web spoke, in order to detect vibrations that signal the arrival of prey. They are very adept at disappearing at the slightest disturbance, carefully camouflaging themselves, by lining up with the long axis of a twig or a blade of grass.

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