Thursday, October 28, 2010

"Halloween" Spider

A colorful female Marbled Orbweaver, Araneus marmoreus, clambers around on a Clearweed nettle. At this time of year, Marbled Orbweavers are one of our most conspicuous spiders. Big and brightly colored, they sport the colors of Halloween, and that color pattern and their conspicuousness in late October causes them to sometimes be called the "Halloween Spider".

For as big and bright as they are, these orbweavers can be quite bashful. We spotted this one on a recent excursion, and of course instantly moved in to make photos. As soon as our party started crowding her, she zipped under a twig and did her best to blend in.

Most spiders are actually pretty mellow, although nearly all do have fangs and can bite if pushed hard enough. This one was remarkably tolerant of our gentle fingertip prods, as we tried to pose her.

As big and plump as this one was, I suspect she is full of eggs. That'd also explain why she was on the prowl during daylight hours - she was probably looking for a good place to deposit her egg case.

Marbled Orbweavers normally are nocturnal, and like most of the rest of their orbweaving ilk, make neat circular webs. This is one the species that often employs a "signal line". You can see a photo of another orbweaver doing just that RIGHT HERE.

Photo by Bobbi Meldahl

Ironically, just today Bobbi Meldahl sent along a great photo of another Marbled Orbweaver that was frisking about the Hocking Hills. Her photo really shows the brightly colored bulbous beauty of these very cool spiders.

Hope one crosses your path soon!

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1 comment:

Danielle said...

In Bobbi's photo it looks like a pumpkin with a kitty face carved into it. :3