Possibly male Marbled Orbweaver (or Cobweb Weaver or Sheetweb Weaver

Spider beauty
Mon, Jun 15, 2009 at 4:46 PM
I found this beautiful spider today (June 15th) walking in my garden, across goldenrod, lily leaves, and onto a dead stump. It moved quickly but gracefully. I have been all through my three field guides and Bug Guide, and I can’t find anything close. I live in Newton, New Jersey, up in the northwest corner of the state. Thank you!
Newton, New Jersey

Male Orbweaver, we believe
Male Orbweaver, we believe

Hi Jeannie,
This is a wonderful image. Based on the presence of the well developed pedipalps, the appendages closest to the mouth, we would say that this is a male spider. Male Orbweavers tend to be very reclusive, and they are not often photographed. The considerably larger females often spin large webs in the same location for long periods of time. The females are more sedentary, preferring to stay home in the web and capture insects while the diminutive male travels in search of a mate. We would venture a guess that this may be a male Marbled Orbweaver, Araneus marmoreus, though we have not seen a photograph of one. We are basing that possible identification on the similarity of the markings on the legs and abdomen of your specimen to the images posted on BugGuide of female Marbled Orbweavers. There is much variability in the markings and coloration of many of the Araneus species, and it is possible that your specimen is another member of the genus or even one of the other genera of Orbweavers. We gladly welcome our readership to assist in this identification.

Thank you so much! Your website is wonderful. Isn’t it funny, the ways we can brighten people’s lives!
Jeannie LeBlanc

Update from Eric Eaton:
Tue, 16 Jun 2009 06:47:16 -0700 (PDT)
I can’t even tell what family that spider belongs in, and not sure if I know anyone else who can, either.  I’d be leaning toward a cobweb weaver (Theridiidae) or sheetweb weaver (Linyphiidae), though….

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