The Hawaiian Biological Surveys section of the Bishop Museum Website calls Crab Spiders (Gasteracantha mammosa) the Asian Spinyback Spider, and and tells us that it is native to India and Sri Lanka, and that it was introduced to Hawaii in 1985. The museum gives it a “bad guy” frown face because of its non-native status, and gives this description: “This spider is more harmless than it looks. It builds a typical spider web but can cause some annoyance to those who accidentally walk into their webs that are strung up across trails and in between trees. It is distributed across All the main islands Hawaiian except Kaho`olawe.” The webs are nearly vertical orb-web decorated with white tufts of fine silk with female at centre; males have smaller webs nearby.
Occasionally people have been bitten when the spiders have dropped onto them or if the spiders have gotten into their clothing. If the reaction is severe, seek medical help immediately.
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