Wild Guide: Longjawed Orbweaver

By MDC | October 1, 2022
From Missouri Conservationist: October 2022

Longjawed orbweavers are often called “stretch spiders” because they often rest with their two front pairs of legs stretched straight out in front of them, and the last pair outstretched behind. Combined with their slender bodies and variably marked coloration, they can hide easily while clinging to a blade of grass or other plant with their rather short third pair of legs. Even when resting in their webs, they often look like an ordinary small twig. As the name implies, the chelicerae (“jaws” or “fangs”) of this group are extra long, compared to those of other orbweavers. The chelicerae of males are especially long and the enlarged tips of his palps (fingerlike structures near the mouth) look a little like tiny boxing gloves.

Did You Know?

Some of the most “buggy” places in Missouri are in lowlands near water. This is where hosts of flying insects, many obnoxious to people, congregate. Longjawed orbweavers, building their webs right over the water, help to keep the numbers of these insects in check.

Photo of a longjawed orbweaver walking on a plant stalk

This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Associate Editor - Larry Archer
Photography Editor - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Staff Writer – Dianne Van Dien
Designer - Shawn Carey
Designer - Marci Porter
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Circulation Manager - Laura Scheuler