There are 980 species of the Tetragnatha family worldwide. Long-jawed orb weavers are fairly easy to identify by their huge, powerful jaws, or chelicerae, and long, slender abdomen. Like the other family of orb weavers, the Araneidae, these spiders have eight eyes and these eyes are in 2 rows. They have 3 claws on each tarsus. There are about 25 species in North America.
The Venusta Orchard spider (Leucage venusta), a very common woodland arachnid, is a member of this family but its abdomen is not nearly as slender. The Festive Silver Marsh (Leucage festiva) spider found in Africa, is also a member of this species. Some species of long-jaws stand at the side of their web, keeping their legs on a radial spoke in order to detect vibrations that signal the arrival of prey. They are very adept at dropping out of sight at the slightest disturbance, or carefully camouflaging themselves as thorns or simply hiding lined up with the long axis of a twig or grass blade. They live in meadows and marshes, woodland edges. Food: insects. Most members of this family do not build vertical webs, they are usually tilted and sometimes close to horizontal. In some species, only the spiderlings produce webs. The orchard spiders build their webs in shrubs or trees.
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