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Reddish Vale Country Park

Walnut Orb Spider

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Reddish Vale Country Park

The walnut orb weaver spider is very wide and flattened, with a leathery skin.

 

Its color ranges from red brown and grey brown to black with a dark, yellowish to yellow-greenish leaf-like fleckled marking on its abdomen, where small dents are visible, these are the onsets of muscles that flatten the abdomen.

 

At rest it has a habit of tucking its legs tightly up against it's body and that coupled with its dark colour means that it is easily overlooked.

 

The wallnut orb spider was first recorded in the UK in 1678.

 

Females can reach up to 15 mm in size, the males grow only up to 8 mm.

 

The spider hides during the day outside of buildings in wall crevices, or under loose bark. They are very common in Central Europe; females occur all year long, while males appear mostly during summer.

 

In the evening the spider constructs an orb-web that can be up to 70 cm in diameter. A signaling thread leads from the web to her hiding place. After dusk she sits in the web's center.

 

The female lays her eggs in a flattened ball surrounded by loose, wooly silk.

 

This spider (usually the male) is capable of inflicting a nasty bite on humans, causing itchiness and a burning sensation followed by a red patch with white lumps.

 

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Wallnut Orb Spider