Missing-sector Orbweb Spider Zygiella x-notata


Missing-sector Orb Weaver Zygiella x-notata male

A male discovered in garden. 27th August 2017. © Peter Hillman

Double click on imagMissing-sector Orb Weaver Zygiella x-notata malees to enlarge. August 2017, Staffordshire, England.

A male discovered in garden.
27th August 2017. © Peter Hillman

Missing-sector Orbweb Spider Zygiella x-notata

Discovered in garden.
5th April 2020. © Peter Hillman

Missing-sector Orbweb Spider Zygiella x-notata

Discovered in garden.
31st August 2020. © Peter Hillman

Missing-sector Orbweb Spider Zygiella x-notata

Discovered in garden.
5th April 2020. © Peter Hillman

Family Araneidae (Orbweb spiders)

Body length 3.5-7 mm.

This orbweb spider has a slightly elongated, more flattened abdomen compared to other members of the genus. It has a dark, broad median longitudinal band on the prosoma (the fused head and thorax region, also called the cephalothorax), on a lighter yellowish-brown ground colour. The dorsal surface of the abdomen is covered in a broad band with indented edges (the folium), white-edged with a darker interior and a lighter median line. Similar to Zygiella atrica, which is mainly seen in open ground away from human habitation.

Of note, Clerck named the species x-notata due to his observations of the astronomical sign of Pisces seen on the spider’s upper forepart of the abdomen, an ‘X’ shape.

Missing-sector spiders have an unfinished-looking vertical circular web design which makes it appear damaged in someway. There is indeed a missing sector, a ‘large V’ shape opening. The missing sector seems an odd evolutionary design whereby the webs capture area is reduced, but this space accommodates the signal thread which helps to alert the spider which is concealed in a corner when prey are snared.

Seen July to around October, whilst the spiderlings emerge in early spring.

It is commonly found in urban areas, around buildings in gardens, such as garden sheds, outbuildings and garages. It is often seen in webs around outside lights where it snares nocturnal flying insects. A common and widespread species, but scarcer further north, especially in Scotland. A native species.