(11/3/2003)Unidentified spider
I found this spider wandering yesterday in the leaf litter in Great Falls, Maryland, about 10 miles north of Washington, DC.  It’s “dome” was about the diameter of a dime or a penny.  I’ve never seen anything like it before and my Internet search came up empty.  I’d really like to know what it is.  Thanks!
Jerry Singer

Update to orange spider question
Upon further Net research, I found a picture of the spider I sent to you at the bottom of this page. It was identified as Araneus sp.  I also found a very similar spider identified as araneus quadratus at this site. Neither site provides much info, so I would appreciate any more that you could provide.  Thanks!

Marbled Orbweaver

Dear Jerry,
Your photo is beautiful, much nicer than the Araneus sp. image on the website you cited. Here is what I can tell you about the genus. It is a large one with approximately fifty species identified. They are orb web weavers and most species exhibit considerable variability regarding coloration and markings. If I were to venture a guess as to your species, I would say Aranea gigas conspicellata. There is an image on this site: which looks just like yours. It is an extremely variable species in size, color and markings. The full-grown female, which you photographed, measures about 3/4 inch excempting the legs. The web is a complete orb and is often a foot or more in diameter. It is nearly vertical and is usually built in shrubs or among the low branches of trees. The retreat is usually above the orb and is frequently made in a curled leaf or in a bunch of leaves. In the Northern States the spiders reach maturity in August. The egg sacs are made early in the autumn.

Ed. Note: We now believe this to be a Marbled Orb Weaver, Araneus marmoreus. It is a shy spider which hides in a retreat, only emerging when prey has been snagged in its web.

Location: Maryland

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