Orb-weavers have eight similar eyes, hairy or spiny legs and no stridulating organs. The araneidae family is cosmopolitan and consists of 3,006 species. Orb webs are produced by other families. Orb-weaving spiders build a web by first floating a line on the wind to another surface. The spider secures the line and then drops another from the centre, forming a ‘Y’ shape. This is followed by several radii of non-sticky silk before a final layer of sticky silk. The third claw is used to work on the non-sticky part of the web. Any prey that enters the sticky part of the web is stunned by a quick bite and is then wrapped in silk.
Many orb-weavers build a new web each day. Towards evening the spider will consume the old web, rest for an hour and then spin a web in pretty much the same location. Some orb-weavers do not build webs at all. Orb-weavers can vary in colour, size and shape. Orb-weavers feed primarily on insects but larger species can consume larger prey such as hummingbirds and frogs if they are successfully ensnared. Male orb-weavers spend most of their time trying to find a mate. Most males are smaller than females, and may even be eaten by the female after mating.
The female lays eggs in clutches of hundreds which are encased in a sac. In cold areas, females lay a clutch and wrap it in silk. The female will die during the first frost leaving their eggs to hatch in summer. Orb weavers live one to two years on average.