Unusual Creature~Spiny Orb Spider

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Spiny backed orbweaver spider.jpg


Hasselt's spiny spider, gasteracantha hasselti - Kaeng Krachan National Park.jpg

Gasteracantha (known as spiny-backed orb-weavers, spiny orb-weavers, or spiny spiders) is a genus of orb-weaver spiders first named by Carl Jakob Sundevall in 1833.[2] The females of most species are brightly colored with six prominent spines on their broad, hardened, shell-like abdomens. The name Gasteracantha is derived from the Greek gaster (γαστήρ), meaning “belly, abdomen”, and akantha (άκανθα), meaning “thorn, spine”.[3] Spiny-backed orb-weavers are sometimes colloquially called “crab spiders” because of their shape, but they are not closely related to the true crab spiders.[4] Other colloquial names for certain species include thorn spider,[5] star spider,[6] kite spider, or jewel spider.

Members of the genus exhibit strong sexual dimorphism. Males are several times smaller than females, and they lack prominent spines or bright colors.[4][5][7]

Gasteracantha is distributed worldwide in tropical and subtropical climates. The genus is most diverse in tropical Asia, from India through Indonesia.[1] One species, G. cancriformis, occurs in the Americas.[4] Gasteracantha species are related to spine-bearing orb-weavers in several other genera (see Taxonomy and Systematics).[8]

Orb-weavers’ bites are generally harmless to humans.[9]

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