Genus: Gasteracanthus (kite spiders)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Ecdysozoa > Panarthropoda > Tritocerebra > Arthropoda > Arachnomorpha > Cheliceriformes > Chelicerata > Euchelicerata > Arachnida > Araneae > Araneomorpha > Family: Araneidae

Kite spiders are diurnal orb-web spiders. Species occur mainly in the tropics and sub-tropics, with four species in South Africa. The spider is small, 8-10 mm, brightly coloured in shades of cream, yellow, red and black. The adbomen is sclerotised (porcelain-like) with four lateral and two posterior spines, the second pair longest and the first shortest.

Species indigenous to southern Africa

Gasteracantha falcicornis

Distributed from east Africa to northern Kwazulu/Natal. The hind pair of lateral spines are long and strongly curved posteriorly.

 

Gasteracantha milvoides

Distributed from central and east Africa to northern Kwazulu/Natal. The hind pair of lateral spines are long and straight.

 

Gasteracantha sanguinolenta

Gasteracanthus sanguinolenta, is a diurnal species that occupies the higher zones amongst trees, a metre, and higher, above the ground. The abdomen is wider than long, coloured red, yellow and black and porcelain-like with six projections on the abdomen - two laterally and two posteriorly. Ventrally Gasteracanthus sanguinolenta is black with red spots. The legs are short and black. This is typically a tropical and sub-tropical species but its range extends along the south coast as far as Cape Town.

Gasteracantha versicolor

Distributed from central and east Africa to Kwazulu/Natal. Very similar to Gasteracanthus sanguinolenta.

 

Text and images by Norman Larsen .


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