Name That Spider (and Don’t Get Caught in Its Web)!

OK, all you arachnologists out there, I’m sure one of you can identify this beauty that’s been taking over Bernalwood with a vengeance this Halloween season.

We’ve taken to calling ours Shelob because of her large girth, curtain-like webs that stretch across whole sidewalks, and uncanny resemblance to the famous arachnid from Lord of the Rings:

I’m thinking cross spider… only I can’t find the cross. In any case, here’s hoping she didn’t ensnare too many trick-or-treaters!

EDITOR’S NOTE: I’ve been besieged by spiders too, only my backyard companions clearly wear a cross:

PHOTOS: Top, Bronwyn Ximm. Bottom, Telstar Logistics

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26 Responses to Name That Spider (and Don’t Get Caught in Its Web)!

  1. Robert W says:

    SF Gate had an article about Pumpkin Spiders. We’ve got a huge crop in our yard.

  2. They’re some kind of orb weavers, and my back yard is crawling with them!

  3. Jay says:

    I was wondering this myself, since I have literally over a dozen of these in my backyard (I’m in Glen Park). I believe this species is a Cross Orbweaver –, but I would love a true expert to identify it.

  4. Nina says:

    I read somewhere that an orbweaver is given its name based on the shape of its web, but I would argue that it has something to do with the way it eats. I got to watch a wrestling (should that be in quotes?) match between two of them, just outside my window, and then all of a sudden one spider started wrapping the other spider up in a lot of web and created a little ball, and then, I presume, it liquified the insides and ate them. Let’s see if I can find the video I took of this happening. I didn’t get the whole event, it took a while, but I think I got part of it.

  5. KSega says:

    I was just going to say – Glen Park around Randall is infiltrated as well. They are all over my windows.

  6. Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

    Ahh! I’ve been wondering what these guys were! Thanks!

  7. Rachel F says:

    La Lengua is infested as well!

  8. Rebecca says:

    Here’s a decent source for identifying neighborhood spiders: . Top photo looks to be a Western Spotted Orbweaver, bottom photo is clearly a Cross Orbweaver. Orbweavers make up about 99% of the spiders we see in our yard, so it’s generally a good guess in Bernalwood!

  9. Nina says:

    Found the footage I took. My first time using iMovie to put a bunch of shorter videos together into one long one, so apologies for lack of more editing, image quality, and my commentary (dunno how to take that out or change it, oh well). This was from Oct 15, 2009

  10. Art Siegel says:

    Here’s one that lived on the Eugenia Steps 6 years ago:

    I was told it was Araneus diadematus, which is the Cross Orbweaver.

  11. Art Siegel says:

    Hmm.. that didn’t display.. try this:

    and one in the acto of spinning on my kitchen window on Winfield:

    fixing his web

    Since we put in a screen, no more spider webs :~(

  12. patty royall says:

    We consider the one on our back steps a pet and I actually duck to go under her web. The other 200 or so in my yard I do not consider pets.

  13. BH lovr says:

    They are all over the place! Gorgeous and incredible and scary from time to time…

  14. Molli Amara Simon says:

    Here’s a nice blog post about this Araneus diadematus from my pal JD:

    Very informative and well-written.
    “Here in the Bay Area, we have very few really large insects. Aside from Jerusalem crickets, most insects and spiders here are small and scarce. But in September and October, the weather heats up, and beautiful huge orb weavers appear out of nowhere, and get big. They are the heralds of Autumn known as Araneus diadematus….”

  15. Adam says:

    I’ve had a number of these taking over my somewhat neglected yard the last month or two. I’ve mostly been letting them be as long as they spread their webs in areas I won’t run into them, as theoretically they should cut down a bit on the populations of some other pests (my biggest annoyance is the light-brown apple moth).

  16. I just wish they ate Oxalis. Or the mosquitos that pop out of nowhere when it gets above 80.

  17. Amy Beinart says:

    There was an item in the Chron recently. It’s a pumpkin spider.

  18. Rusty says:

    They’re also known as French (or Eurpoean) Garden Spiders (common name for Araneus diadematus as Molli stated).

  19. NH says:

    I read this article about Orb Spiders back in September AKA “Charlotte’s Web” spider. We used to get them down in Venice Beach as well. Our Bernal yard has been boobie-trapped with these suckers for the last couple of months. My neighbors must think i’m crazy – I scream every time I walk through a web!.

    Apparently, they’ll die off around November, …after they’ve laid the eggs for the next generation of spiders. Then they’ll be back next September.

    From the Article:
    “Vetter said the venom of the orb weaver isn’t toxic for humans, so they pose no real danger, even though they might be a nuisance.

    “It’s annoying to run in to the webs,” said Vetter. The spiders are “big enough that if they bit you, it’d be painful from the mechanical piercing of the skin.”

    Here’s the LA TImes Article:

  20. Pingback: Meanwhile, the Arachnid Invasion of Bernal Heights Continues… | Bernalwood

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  22. techashley says:

    I walk my dog at the Kingston mini park and those guys are all over. Gives me the creeps!

  23. Pingback: Rise of the Arachnids: Hatchlings Foreshadow Spider Invasion | Bernalwood

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