San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionSDNHM Field Guide
Araneus gemma adult female, copyright Jim Berrian
Adult female

Araneus gemma
Orb Weaving Spiders



The female Araneus gemma measures 0.39 to 0.47 inches (10 to 12mm). Its carapace and abdomen are variable in color from gray to brownish purple. The abdomen has anterior paired humps and may have a medial light stripe that varies in length. The male is smaller than the female, measuring 0.24 to 0.31 inches (6 to 8 mm). It is similar in color and pattern to the female.

Araneus gemma adult female orange, copyright Jim Berrian
Adult female orange
Range and Habitat

Araneus gemma ranges along the West coast of North America from southern Alaska to southern California and inland to western Montana. It can be found in coastal San Diego County. Webs are built in open areas of trees, large shrubs and around dwellings.

Natural History

This species matures and is most often seen in the fall. It is not dangerous to humans.

Related and Similar Species

Araneus andrewsi has a mottled brown abdomen and usually does not have the medial brown stripe on the abdomen. Neoscona crucifera is more orange-brown, has no abdominal medial stripe and no paired humps.

Araneus gemma adult female brown, copyright Jim Berrian
Adult female brown

Levi, H.W. 1971. The diadematus group of the orb-weaver genus Araneus north of Mexico (Araneae: Araneidae). Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 141(4):131-179.

Dondale, C.D., J.H. Redner, P. Paquin, and H.W. Levi. 2003. The Insects and Arachnids of Canada, Part 23. The orb-weaving spiders of Canada and Alaska (Araneae: Uloboridae, Tetragnathidae, Araneidae, Theridiosomatidae). NRC Research Press, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. 371pp.

Text by Jim Berrian. Photos © Jim Berrian.

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