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Spiny-Backed Orb-Weaver

Gasteracantha (known as spiny-backed orb-weavers, spiny orb-weavers, or spiny spiders) is a genus of orb-weaver spiders first named by Carl Jakob Sundevall in 1833. 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". Spiny-backed orb-weavers are sometimes colloquially called "crab spiders" because of their shape.

Rudy Mancke served as naturalist and co-host of South Carolina ETV's NatureScene, which began its long run in 1978. His field trips, broadcast nationwide, have earned him a legion of dedicated viewers. Rudy's knowledge of the complex inner-workings of different ecosystems and his great admiration for the natural world make him the perfect guide. In fact, the National Wildlife Federation and the Garden Club of America honored his commitment to resource conservation with special awards. Since retiring from SCETV, Rudy has gone on to teach at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.