Subject: Orb weaver?
Geographic location of the bug: Kansas City, Ks
Time: 09:26 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Dear Mr. Bugman,
I was told that this is a golden orb weaver. I’ve seen them for the last two years, but this one is by far the largest one. I believe she’s doubled in size since last year. There are smaller males’ webs in close proximity to hers. This web pattern in front of her is new, however. What is she, and what is that pattern? What does she eat? They’re usually ok if I leave them alone, but are they dangerous to humans and dogs?
How you want your letter signed: Sincerely, Dorothy from Kansas
Dear Dorothy from Kansas,
This is indeed a Golden Orbweaver. This Orbweaver is not the same as the one you observed last year. Orbweavers survive a single season, and the individual in your image was hatched earlier this year. The pattern in the web is known as a stabilimentum and Orbweavers that incorporate a stabilimentum in the web are sometimes called Writing Spiders. Orbweavers are not hunters. They will eat anything that they trap in the web that they are able to subdue. There are even images of large Orbweavers feeding on Hummingbirds, but this is not a common occurrence.