Mon, Nov 3, 2008 at 12:14 PM
I found this spider in my yard after running into his/her intricately made web that ran across the entry to my front door. What on earth is it? Thanks! Love the site by the way!
Your spider is a harmless Cross Spider, Araneus diadematus, a species introduced from Europe and found in both the eastern and western U.S. You can find many images and more information on BugGuide. A bit of trivia for you concerns Anita and Arabella, the names of the first two spiders sent into space. In 1973, Anita and Arabella, female Cross Spiders, were sent into space aboard Skylab 3 as an experiment to observe how gravity affected web spinning. Both Anita and Arabella died of dehydration during the mission, but their bodies are preserved at the Smithsonian Institution for posterity. You man visit About.com to read more about Spiders in Space.