Spiny Orbweaver Spider (Gasteracantha cancriformis)

Origin: Subtropic and tropic Americas and Asia
Sighted at: Key West, FL

Fate has brought me back to Key West for a short time here in January. Finding one of these spiders in my parents’ backyard is nothing special – they’re everywhere – but this one had taken care to build its web out of the wind, which meant I could finally snap a decent picture of one for the blog.

I have always heard these called “crab spiders,” growing up, but Wikipedia, WhatsThatBug, and other insect sources on the ‘net report that the spider is more correctly called the Spiny Orbweaver. Wikipedia, in fact, claims that this spider is also known as: the star spider, spiny-backed orbweaver, crab-like orbweaver spider, crab-like spiny orbweaver spider, jewel spider, spiny-bellied orbweaver, jewel box spider, smiley face spider (look at the specks on its shell! how about that!) or even as “the king” in the Philippines, presumably for the crown-like array of spikes on its shell.