Missing sector orb weaver

False widow lookalike - missing sector orb weaver (Zygiella x-notata)

The Missing Sector Orb Weaver spider, scientifically known as Zygiella x-notata, is a remarkable arachnid species commonly found in various parts of Europe, including the United Kingdom and Ireland. This spider is known for its distinctive web-building behavior and its intriguing appearance, which sets it apart from many other orb-weaving spiders.

One of the most striking features of the Missing Sector Orb Weaver is its web. Unlike the typical circular orb webs woven by many other orb-weavers, this species constructs a unique, irregular-shaped web with a noticeable “missing sector,” which gives it its common name. This missing section appears as a gap or hole in the otherwise intricate and spiral-shaped web. The purpose of this unusual design is not entirely understood, but it may serve to reduce the chances of birds flying into and destroying the web.

In terms of physical appearance, Missing Sector Orb Weaver’s are relatively small and have a somewhat flattened abdomen. They are typically brown or grayish in color, with a pattern of dark markings on their abdomen that can vary among individuals. Their legs are often long and slender, which is a common characteristic among orb-weaving spiders.

These spiders are primarily nocturnal, and they spend their nights sitting at the center of their unique webs, waiting for prey to become ensnared. Their diet mainly consists of flying insects that inadvertently get caught in their webs. While the Missing Sector Orb Weaver spider may resemble other orb-weavers, its web design and the presence of the missing sector make it easily distinguishable.

These arachnids are generally harmless to humans, and their presence can be beneficial in controlling local insect populations. Observing the intriguing web-building behavior and distinct appearance of the Missing Sector Orb Weaver spider can be a fascinating experience for nature enthusiasts and arachnid aficionados alike.

Other false widow spider lookalikes in Ireland include the Lace-Weaver spider and the Black Lace-Weaver.

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