Greetings, and thank you for a truly wonderful site. I have attached photos of a gorgeous orbweaver who has graced my garden all season. She is BIG (the size of a sweet cherry), has an orange abdomen with white spots, a scarlet stripe up the underside, legs of alternating transparent and brown, and fine hairs all over. She takes down substantial prey – junebugs, large grasshoppers and moths, etc. Her web is small – about the size of a salad plate. She is unusual in that she only sits in the middle of her web after dark. She built a hut out of curled peony leaves, and she shelters there throughout the daylight hours and during rainstorms (doesn’t even drop into her web if she snags an insect – she waits until dusk to emerge). The hut-building behavior has me stumped, as well as her rather spectacular coloring. Can you help? Thanks!
This is one of the Araneus Orb Weavers. The species in this genus have variable coloration and we often have problems with exact species identification. The shelter building behavior and coloration tend to indicate either the Marbled Araneus, Araneus marmoreus, or the Shamrock Spider, Araneus trifolium. Petoskey, Michigan