Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah
image A long-jawed orb weaver elegantly poses on its web near Settlement Canyon Reservoir. This spider was only photographed and left unharmed.

October 30, 2014
Long-jawed orb weaving spider can flatten itself

Their long, thin bodies are for the purpose of camouflaging. They often use this tactic on thin plants, including flower stems, twigs, reeds, and blades of grass.

From the “Tetragnathidae” family and known as “long-jawed” orb weavers, this spider is recognized for its slim abdomen, long legs and, depending on the species, their abnormally large mouthparts. Allowing them to hide from predators, the long-jawed orb weaver aligns and flattens itself against vegetation.

Primarily found in woodlands, marshes and meadows, the long-jawed orb weaver commonly lives nearby water so it can build its webs over streamlets, ponds or calm watered areas.

Sexually matured males tend to loiter and feed from another spider’s web, particularly a female from its own species. Long-jawed orb weavers feed on smaller insects and patiently watch for captured prey from the center of their webs or from a nearby plant. Interestingly, long-jawed orb weaving spiders are known to eat their own webs and move to different destinations if insects become scarce.

Some facts you may not know: Although some species of long-jawed orb weavers possess intimidatingly large fangs, these spiders are hardly known to bite humans and their bites are not dangerous. They are capable of walking across surfaces of water and are just as fast on water as it is on land. Most long-jawed orb weavers live less than a year.

Because of their preference of habitat over water, long-jawed orb weavers usually have to reconstruct their webs on a daily basis.

Both male and female long-jawed orb weavers are polygamous, and both genders will mate with as many spouses as possible during the mating season.

Females do not provide their eggs any protection; they only wrap them in a silk-bound cocoon and place them nearby their webs to hatch during the following spring. Sometimes when humans or other possible hazards approach their webs, the long-jawed orb weaver will unexpectedly drop from its web onto the ground so it may retreat and hide amongst vegetation.


Taylor Lindsay is a writer and photographer of wildlife creatures big and small. She can be reached at

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