Unknown large spider
Sun, Nov 2, 2008 at 5:41 PM
I have used your site for a few years now and love it. A great resource. I found this spider today (Nov. 2, 2008) near the four corners/Monument Valley, close to Mexican Hat, Utah. It was larger than a Black Widow, about the size of a half dollar. And as you can see in the photo it has a large abdomen, maybe the size of a small grape. Very strong web. The closest I found on your site is a banded orb weaver but this is not quite the same and we saw no zig zag in its web.
Mexican Hat, Utah
Sorry about the delay, but between our convention trip with students and the elections, we fell behind in responses. We are finally returning to older letters we never opened. We agree with your first assumption that this is a Banded Orb Weaver, Argiope trifasciata. Often the markings of desert creatures are lighter to better reflect light, preventing overheating. BugGuide indicates that the stabilimentum of the web is less prominent than the Golden Orb Weaver, but some information on BugGuide explaining this is truncated. This truly is a stunning individual.