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Family Tetragnathidae - Long-jawed Orb Weavers

Adult Female - Pachygnatha - female strange long-bodied spider found in a rosemary bush - Tetragnatha Basilica Orbweaver ?  - Leucauge venusta Tetragnathidae? - Tetragnatha Unknown tiny spider - Tetragnatha Tetragnatha male - Tetragnatha - male Odd Spider - long legs - Tetragnatha Tetragnatha extensa - Tetragnatha
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Chelicerata (Chelicerates)
Class Arachnida (Arachnids)
Order Araneae (Spiders)
Infraorder Araneomorphae (True Spiders)
No Taxon (Entelegynae)
Family Tetragnathidae (Long-jawed Orb Weavers)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
First described in 1866 by Franz Anton Menge
Explanation of Names
The scientific name is from the genus Tetragnatha
The common name is due to the extended length of the chelicerae (jaws) compared to those of other orb weavers (Araneidae).

Compare a long-jawed orb weaver:

to a normal orb weaver (NOTE: the black portion in front of the face is the jaws. The small leg-like appendages in front of the face are not jaws, but rather pedipalps):
Numbers
Exact distribution within these countries will be added when time permits.

9 genera (ranges given are only for the area covered by BugGuide):
Azilia - 1 species in the USA
affinis - USA
Dolichognatha - 1 species in the USA/Canada.
pentagona - USA
Glenognatha - 4 species in the USA/Canada.
emertoni - USA
foxi - Canada, USA
heleios - USA
iviei - USA
Leucauge - 2 species in the USA/Canada.
argyra - USA
venusta - USA
Meta - 2 species in the USA/Canada. (Cave Orb Weavers)
dolloff - USA
ovalis - USA, Canada
Metellina - 3 species in the USA/Canada.
curtisi - USA, Canada
segmentata - Canada (Introduced- may include USA as well)
Metleucauge - 1 species in the USA.
eldorado - USA
Pachygnatha - 8 species in the USA/Canada.
autumnalis - USA, Canada
brevis - USA, Canada
calusa - USA
clercki - Holarctic
dorothea - USA, Canada
furcillata - USA
tristriata - USA, Canada
xanthostoma - USA, Canada
Tetragnatha 14 species, 3 subspecies in the USA/Canada.
branda - USA
caudata - USA, Canada
dearmata - Holarctic
elongata - USA, Canada
   elongata debilis - USA
   elongata principalis - USA
   elongata undulata - USA
extensa - Holarctic
gracilis - USA
guatemalensis - USA, Canada
laboriosa - USA, Canada
nitens - USA
pallescens - USA, Canada
shoshone - USA, Canada
straminea - USA, Canada
vermiformis - USA, Canada
versicolor - USA, Canada
viridis - USA, Canada
Size
1.2-25.0 mm(1)
Identification
Not diagnostic, but some helpful features:(1)
Legs often long, with leg I the longest.
Chelicerae (jaws) often enlarged in males.
3 claws
8 eyes in 2 rows
Ecribellate


The Web:
The long-jawed orb-weaver webs are orb-shaped (concentric circles, with 12-20 spokes(2) radiating from the center to anchor points (such as tree branches)). The angle of the web is typically somewhere between vertical and horizontal.

The Spiders:
They vary in appearance, but those most commonly found are long-legged, thin-bodied spiders. When at rest, they may cling lengthwise along a twig or blade of grass, holding on with the short third pair of legs. The long pairs of legs are extended.

Then there is the Orchard Spider (Leucauge Venusta):
Range
Throughout the United States and Southern Canada.
Habitat
Members of the genus Tetragnatha typically live in meadows near water, and around the banks of waterways (rivers, lakes, swamps), usually on low-hanging branches and reeds.
The orchard spider (Leucauge venusta) is found throughout the woods of the Eastern US.
Food
Primarily insects.
Remarks
Bites:
These spiders will bite if threatened, but the bite is not harmful to people. It is recommended that they not be picked up, but rather observed in their natural environment (e.g. - on their web).
See Also
Araneidae - Orb Weavers
Linyphiidae - Sheetweb and Dwarf Spiders
Theridiidae - Cobweb Spiders
Print References
Schriften der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft in Danzig, v.1,nos. 3-4,Preussichen Spinnen, p.90 (Original Description) Menge's original description of the family (in German)
Works Cited
1.Spiders of North America: An Identification Manual
D. Ubick, P. Paquin, P.E. Cushing and V. Roth (eds). 2005. American Arachnological Society.
2.Spiders and Their Kin: A Golden Guide from St. Martin's Press
Herbert W. Levi, Lorna R. Levi, Nicholas Strekalovsky. 2001. St. Martin's Press.