Subject: Spider subduing a Butterfly
Geographic location of the bug: Great Falls National Park, Great Falls, Virginia
Time: 02:54 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: I witnessed this butterfly being subdued by the spider, having being caught in it’s web, and I am having trouble identifying either the butterfly or the spider. I hope you can help me. In any case, certainly it was fascinating to watch. The butterfly ceased it’s struggles in about a minute.
How you want your letter signed: Seth
Based on this BugGuide image, we feel confident this butterfly is a Hackberry Emperor, Asterocampa celtis, though we acknowledge it might be a similar looking relative from the genus. Because of the orb web, we are confident the Spider is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae, but we cannot provide a species. It looks immature, and it is often difficult to conclusively identify immature individuals. In fact, it is also difficult to provide conclusive species identifications from adult Orbweavers. Orbweavers pose no danger to humans. They are docile spiders that spin webs, often very strong webs, and they wait patiently in the web to snare prey. They rarely leave their webs.