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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Cladus: Ecdysozoa
Cladus: Panarthropoda
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Classis: Arachnida
Ordo: Araneae
Subordo: Opisthothelae
Infraordo: Araneomorphae
Taxon: Neocribellatae
Series: Entelegynae
Superfamilia: Araneoidea

Familia: Araneidae
Subfamilia: Gasteracanthinae
Tribus: Gasteracanthini
Genus: Gasteracantha
Species: G. aciculata – G. acutispina – G. audouini – G. aureola – G. beccarii – G. biloba – G. cancriformis – G. clarki – G. clavatrix – G. clavigera – G. crucigera – G. curvispina – G. curvistyla – G. cuspidata – G. dalyi – G. diadesmia – G. diardi – G. doriae – G. falcicornis – G. fasciata – G. flava – G. fornicata – G. frontata – G. gambeyi – G. geminata – G. hasselti – G. hecata – G. interrupta – G. irradiata – G. janopol – G. kuhli – G. lepelletieri – G. lunata – G. martensi – G. mediofusca – G. mengei – G. metallica – G. milvoides – G. notata – G. panisicca – G. parangdiadesmia – G. pentagona – G. picta – G. quadrispinosa – G. recurva – G. regalis – G. remifera – G. rhomboidea – G. rubrospinis – G. rufithorax – G. sacerdotalis – G. sanguinea – G. sanguinolenta – G. sapperi – G. sauteri – G. scintillans – G. signifera – G. simoni – G. sororna – G. sturi – G. subaequispina – G. taeniata – G. theisi – G. thomasinsulae – G. thorelli – G. tondanae – G. transversa – G. unguifera – G. versicolor – G. westringi

Nomina dubia

Gasteracantha sanguinolenta rueppelli Strand, 1916: 64 (j, Egypt, originally as Gasteracantha lepida rüppelli) [1] -- Nentwig et al., 2019: 36.
Gasteracantha trigona Giebel, 1863: 311 (Java) -- Roewer, 1955c: 1514.


Gasteracantha Sundevall, 1833

Etymology: Greek - γαστήρ ἃκανθα (gastêr àcantha), English - Thorned stomach.

Type species: Aranea cancriformis Linnaeus, 1758

gender: feminine

Bunocrania Thorell, 1878 (Synonymized by Levi, 1996: 140)
Paurotylus Tullgren, 1910 (Synonymized by Emerit, 1982: 458)


Macharoenboon, K., Siriwut, W. & Jeratthitikul, E. 2021. A review of the taxonomy of spiny-backed orb-weaving spiders of the subfamily Gasteracanthinae (Araneae, Araneidae) in Thailand. ZooKeys 1032: 17–62. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.1032.62001 Open access Reference page. [as Gasteracantha p. 28–30]
Platnick, N. I. 2008. The World Spider Catalog, version 9.0. American Museum of Natural History. [2]
Sankaran, P.M., Jobi, M.J. & Sebastian, P.A. 2015: Redescription of the orb-weaving spider Gasteracantha geminata (Fabricius, 1798) (Araneae, Araneidae). Zootaxa 3915(1): 147–150. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3915.1.10. Reference page.

Vernacular names
English: Spiny orb-weaver
한국어: 가시거미속

Gasteracantha is a genus of orb-weaver spiders first named by Carl Jakob Sundevall in 1833.[2] Species of the genus are known as spiny-backed orb-weavers, spiny orb-weavers, or spiny spiders. The females of most species are brightly colored with six prominent spines on their broad, hardened, shell-like abdomens. The name Gasteracantha is derived from the Greek gaster (γαστήρ), meaning "belly, abdomen", and akantha (άκανθα), meaning "thorn, spine".[3] Spiny-backed orb-weavers are sometimes colloquially called "crab spiders" because of their shape, but they are not closely related to the true crab spiders.[4] Other colloquial names for certain species include thorn spider,[5] star spider,[6] kite spider, or jewel spider.

Members of the genus exhibit strong sexual dimorphism. Females are several times larger than males, which lack prominent spines or bright colors.[4][5][7] Other genera in the same family are also known as spiny orb-weavers.[8]

Gasteracantha species are distributed worldwide in tropical and subtropical climates. The genus is most diverse in tropical Asia, from India through Indonesia.[1] One species, G. cancriformis, occurs in the Americas.[4]
Predators and defense mechanisms

Some species of orb-weavers use stridulation as an antipredator defense mechanism. [9] Orb-weavers' bites are generally harmless to humans.[10]
Taxonomy and systematics

Gasteracantha has a complex taxonomic history, and many questions of species limits and distribution and generic interrelationships remain unanswered. Furthermore, challenges include the variability within individual Gasteracantha species (e.g., color polymorphism and variable length and shape of spines), a lack of male specimens and descriptions for many species, missing or damaged type specimens, and ambiguous initial descriptions in 18th- and 19th-century scientific literature.[11] The 69 species currently recognized by World Spider Catalog include dozens of synonyms and subspecies, many based on literature well over 100 years old.[1]

A 2019 study examining three mitochondrial and two nuclear genes found that Gasteracantha is paraphyletic with respect to Macracantha, Actinacantha, and Thelacantha. M. arcuata is allied with G. hasselti and A. globulata, while T. brevispina is closer to G. kuhli and G. diardi. The authors, however, did not propose generic reassignments based on their findings.[11]

Micrathena orb-weavers in North and South America also have hardened abdomens with variously shaped spines, but they are not closely related to Gasteracantha within the orb-weaver family.[8]

As of November 2021, the genus Gasteracantha contains 69 species and 18 subspecies:[1]

G. aciculata (Pocock, 1899) – Papua New Guinea (New Britain)
G. acutispina Dahl, 1914 – Indonesia (Sulawesi)
G. audouini Guérin, 1838 – Indonesia (Sumatra, Timor, Ambon), Philippines
G. aureola Mi & Peng, 2013 – China
G. beccarii Thorell, 1877 – Indonesia (Sulawesi)
G. biloba (Thorell, 1878) – Indonesia (Moluccas, Ambon)
G. cancriformis (Linnaeus, 1758) – North America, Central America, Caribbean, South America. Introduced to Hawaii
Gasteracantha c. gertschi Archer, 1941 – USA
G. clarki Emerit, 1974 – Seychelles
G. clavatrix (Walckenaer, 1841) – Indonesia (Lombok, Sulawesi, Mentawai Is.)
G. clavigera Giebel, 1863 – Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia (Sulawesi)
G. crucigera Bradley, 1877 – Malaysia, Indonesia (Java, Borneo), New Guinea
G. curvispina (Guérin, 1837) – West, Central Africa
G. curvistyla Dahl, 1914 – Indonesia (Togian Is.)
G. cuspidata C. L. Koch, 1837 – Malaysia, India (Nicobar Is.), Indonesia (Java)
G. dalyi Pocock, 1900 – India, Pakistan
G. diadesmia Thorell, 1887 – India to Philippines
G. diardi (Lucas, 1835) – China, Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo, Indonesia (Sunda Is.)
G. doriae Simon, 1877 – Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia (Sumatra, Borneo)
G. falcicornis Butler, 1873 – Africa
G. fasciata Guérin, 1838 – New Guinea, Guam
G. flava Nicolet, 1849 – Chile
G. fornicata (Fabricius, 1775) – Australia (Queensland)
G. frontata Blackwall, 1864 – India, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia (Flores, Borneo)
G. gambeyi Simon, 1877 – New Caledonia
G. geminata (Fabricius, 1798) – India, Sri Lanka
G. hecata (Walckenaer, 1841) – Philippines
G. interrupta Dahl, 1914 – Indonesia (Lombok, Sulawesi)
G. irradiata (Walckenaer, 1841) – Thailand to Philippines, Indonesia (Sulawesi)
G. janopol Barrion & Litsinger, 1995 – Philippines
G. kuhli C. L. Koch, 1837 – India to Japan, Philippines, Indonesia
G. lepelletieri (Guérin, 1825) – Indonesia (Sumatra) to Philippines, New Guinea
G. lunata Guérin, 1838 – Timor, Indonesia (Moluccas), New Caledonia
G. martensi Dahl, 1914 – Indonesia (Sumatra)
G. mediofusca (Doleschall, 1859) – Indonesia (Java), New Guinea
G. mengei Keyserling, 1864 – Malaysia, Indonesia (Sumatra, Borneo)
G. metallica (Pocock, 1898) – Solomon Is.
G. milvoides Butler, 1873 – Central, East, Southern Africa
G. notata Kulczyński, 1910 – Papua New Guinea (New Britain)
G. panisicca Butler, 1873 – Myanmar to Philippines, Indonesia (Java)
G. parangdiadesmia Barrion & Litsinger, 1995 – Philippines
G. pentagona (Walckenaer, 1841) – Papua New Guinea (New Ireland, New Britain, Bismarck Arch.)
G. picta (Thorell, 1892) – Singapore
G. quadrispinosa O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1879 – New Guinea, Australia (Queensland)
G. recurva Simon, 1877 – Philippines
G. regalis Butler, 1873 – Vanuatu
G. remifera Butler, 1873 – India, Sri Lanka
G. rhomboidea Guérin, 1838 – Mauritius
Gasteracantha r. comorensis Strand, 1916 – Comoros, Mayotte
Gasteracantha r. madagascariensis Vinson, 1863 – Madagascar
G. rubrospinis Guérin, 1838 – Indonesia (Lombok, Sulawesi, Moluccas), New Caledonia, Guam
G. rufithorax Simon, 1881 – Madagascar
G. sacerdotalis L. Koch, 1872 – New Guinea, Australia (Queensland), New Caledonia
G. sanguinea Dahl, 1914 – Philippines
G. sanguinolenta C. L. Koch, 1844 – Africa, Yemen (mainland, Socotra), Seychelles
Gasteracantha s. andrefanae Emerit, 1974 – Madagascar
Gasteracantha s. bigoti Emerit, 1974 – Madagascar
Gasteracantha s. emeriti Roberts, 1983 – Seychelles (Aldabra)
Gasteracantha s. insulicola Emerit, 1974 – Seychelles
Gasteracantha s. legendrei Emerit, 1974 – Europa Is.
Gasteracantha s. mangrovae Emerit, 1974 – Madagascar
G. sapperi Dahl, 1914 – New Guinea
G. sauteri Dahl, 1914 – China, Taiwan, Vietnam
G. scintillans Butler, 1873 – Solomon Is.
G. signifera Pocock, 1898 – Solomon Is.
Gasteracantha s. bistrigella Strand, 1911 – Papua New Guinea (Bismarck Arch.)
Gasteracantha s. heterospina Strand, 1915 – Papua New Guinea (Bismarck Arch.)
Gasteracantha s. pustulinota Strand, 1911 – Papua New Guinea (Bismarck Arch.)
G. simoni O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1879 – Central Africa
G. sororna Butler, 1873 – India
G. sturi (Doleschall, 1857) – Laos, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Moluccas
G. subaequispina Dahl, 1914 – Borneo, New Guinea
G. taeniata (Walckenaer, 1841) – India to Polynesia
Gasteracantha t. analispina Strand, 1911 – New Guinea
Gasteracantha t. anirensis Strand, 1911 – Papua New Guinea (New Ireland)
Gasteracantha t. lugubris Simon, 1898 – Solomon Is.
Gasteracantha t. novahannoveriana Dahl, 1914 – Papua New Guinea (Bismarck Arch.)
G. theisi Guérin, 1838 – Indonesia, New Guinea
G. thomasinsulae Archer, 1951 – São Tomé and Príncipe
G. thorelli Keyserling, 1864 – Madagascar
G. tondanae Pocock, 1897 – Indonesia (Sulawesi)
G. transversa C. L. Koch, 1837 – Indonesia (Sumatra, Java)
G. unguifera Simon, 1889 – China, India
G. versicolor (Walckenaer, 1841) – Central, East, Southern Africa
Gasteracantha v. avaratrae Emerit, 1974 – Madagascar
Gasteracantha v. formosa Vinson, 1863 – Madagascar
G. westringi Keyserling, 1864 – Australia, Admiralty Is., New Caledonia


"Gen. Gasteracantha Sundevall, 1833". World Spider Catalog. Natural History Museum Bern. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
Sundevall, C. J. (1833). Conspectus Arachnidum. Lund, Sweden. p. 14.
"Genus Gasteracantha". BugGuide. Retrieved 2019-05-13.
"Species Gasteracantha cancriformis - Spinybacked Orbweaver". Retrieved 4 August 2019.
Williams, Steven. "Spiky Spiders". More than a Dodo. Oxford Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
Horwell, David; Oxford, Pete (August 2005). Galápagos Wildlife (2 ed.). Chalfont St Peter, Bucks SL9 9QE, England: Bradt Travel Guides Ltd. p. 26. ISBN 9781841621005.
Sankaran, Pradeep M.; Jobi, Malamel J.; Sebastian, Pothalil A. (February 2015). "Redescription of the orb-weaving spider Gasteracantha geminata (Fabricius, 1798) (Araneae, Araneidae)". Zootaxa. 3915 (1): 147–150. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3915.1.10. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
Scharff, Nikolaj; Coddington, Jonathan A.; Blackledge, Todd A.; Agnarsson, Ingi; Framenau, Volker W.; Szűts, Tamás; Hayashi, Cheryl Y.; Dimitrov, Dimitar (23 April 2019). "Phylogeny of the orb‐weaving spider family Araneidae (Araneae: Araneoidea)". Cladistics. doi:10.1111/cla.12382. hdl:1956/22200.
Corey, T. B., & Hebets, E. A. (2020). Testing the hypothesized antipredator defence function of stridulation in the spiny orb-weaving spider, Micrathena gracilis. Animal Behaviour, 169, 103–117.
"Urban Spider Chart".
Tan, Ji; Chan, Zi Yang; Ong, Ching Ang; Yong, Hoi Sen (14 February 2019). "Phylogenetic relationships of Actinacantha Simon, Gasteracantha Sundevall, Macracantha Hasselt and Thelacantha Simon spiny orb-weavers (Araneae: Araneidae) in Peninsular Malaysia" (PDF). Raffles Bulletin of Zoology. 67: 32–55. doi:10.26107/RBZ-2019-0003. Retrieved 3 August 2019.


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