Explanation of Names
Author of name: Sundevall, 1833
From the Greek adjective for "small" and the name of the goddess Athena, patroness of domestic arts and handicrafts, especially spinning and weaving.(1)
4 species in BugGuide's range (North America north of Mexico)
Body length: 3.0-5.9 mm (males) & 4.7-10.8 mm (females)(2)
- southern Arizona and southern California south all the way to Costa Rica.(3)
- (eastern U.S.) central Wisconsin to southern New Hampshire and south all the way to Panama.(2)
- (eastern U.S.) Wisconsin to Maine and south all the way to Panama.(2)
- (eastern U.S.) central Minnesota to New Hampshire and south all the way to Costa Rica.(2)
The only Micrathena recorded from Canada, as of 2010, is M. sagittata in Ontario, according to the monograph by Paquin et al. 2010 (Checklist of the spiders (Araneae) of Canada and Alaska. Zootaxa 2461: 1–170).
Females place eggs in a fluffy egg sac on vegetation near the web. Young Micrathena look much different than the adults.
These are diurnal (daytime active) spiders that build vertical, orb-shaped webs.
Micrathena are different from most araneids in that they first bite their prey, then wrap it. Most other orbweavers wrap it first, then bite.
Males are not very commonly collected with the females; they are easier to find by sweep-netting at night.
Dondale, C.D., J.H. Redner, P, Paquin and H.W. Levi, 2003. The Insects and Arachnids of Canada Part 23: The Orb-weaving Spiders of Canada and Alaska, NRC Research Press 141-150. [BugGuide entry here
and google preview available here
Levi, H.W., 1985. The spiny orb-weaver genera Micrathena
(Araneae: Araneidae). Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harv. 150(8): 429-618. [available online from here
Bukowski, T. & T. Christenson, 1997. Natural history and copulatory behavior of the spiny orbweaving spider Micrathena gracilis
(Araneae, Araneidae). Journal of Arachnology 25(3):307–320. [available online here