Thursday, October 14, 2010

Marbled Orb Weaver


Marbled Orb Weavers (Araneus marmoreus) are in the family Araneidae and there are 1500 species in this genus. They are a brightly colored orb weaver found hanging in large orb shaped webs from whence they get their common name of orb weaver. These colorful spiders are generally bright yellow with grayish-black markings on their abdomen. The legs are typically reddish with black and gray banding.
Although they can range in color from pale yellow, pale orange, bright orange, beige or even white with black markings. The pattern will usually vary by species as well.


They can be found from Alaska to Newfoundland, then south to Oregon and Utah, then further south to Southern Texas and eastward to South Carolina. They are common in Missouri and this particular specimen was found in St. Joseph and brought into my office for identification. It was one of the prettiest spiders I've ever seen. I captured several images of it before turning her loose, hopefully to find a mate and produce offspring.


They're almost always found in moist deciduous woodland habitats or at the edges of woodlands in August, September and October. These spiders construct a retreat made of silked together leaves in an upper corner of the web. During the day she will hide in this retreat holding onto a signal line that runs to center of the web.


This species feeds on large prey insects such as grasshoppers, cicadas and beetles. Mating takes place in early to late fall. The female will create egg sacs in October and die shortly thereafter. These egg sacs may contain hundreds of eggs and will overwinter. The spiderlings will be born sometime the following spring.

10 comments:

  1. The bright yellow colour is so beautiful! It is very rare to see a spider with such beautiful colours in my region.

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  2. This spider is truly stunning isn't it? I couldn't wait to get it home to photograph it. She is very photogenic. What region are you from?

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  3. Found one in deep woods a week ago, but no camera. We were climbing some bluffs and my daughters friend discovered it.Lots of caves and good habitat for it.

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  4. That spider is extra beautiful......but she's a cicada eater???? That must be one strong web she builds. Hope I never get caught in one!

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  5. I found one on my porch stairs railing, I live in Iowa, and had never seen a spider so pretty, at first I thought it was a butterfly in a cacoon or something, we took a whole bunch of pictures and thats what led me to look up what the heck kind it was. Thanks for the info!

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  6. Emyrsyn I am so glad you stopped by for a visit and found something useful while you were here. These orb weavers are extra special, just because they are exceptionally beautiful. I have had several brought into my office this fall to be identified, so it seems they are showing up in all sorts of places.

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  7. I have held a female that was very gigantic even for its species, it was the marbled orb Weaver and when I held it, it started to stroke the top of my index finger with its fangs and built a web on my hand, at first I thought it was trying to lick the chocolate I had on my hand from eating chocolate chip cookies, but after it made its web, it started to stroke its fangs on me again and was doing it progressively harder, I had to fling it off my hand so it wouldn't bite me, please explain why this happened, I looked up their behavior and everywhere I went is saying they are harmless, I have photos I can get of it stroking my hand as proof it really happened

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  8. I noticed one of these beauties on my front porch yesterday evening. She was pretty much still and moved a little when I blew on her. I have a feeling she has deposited an egg sack somewhere on the siding of my home. She was still there this morning, which makes me think that she is probably dying. I am generally not drawn to spiders, since I have a fear of most all of them, but this spider is quite the beauty! I'm glad I found your site when I went on my search to identify this creature!

    Stephanie Higgins, Buena Vista, VA

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  9. She was living on my entertainment center. A shock and an amazing experience, so beautiful, just hanging out above my TV.

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  10. I am from North Metro Atlanta and found one of these beauties crawling out from under the leaves I was cleaning up. Truly amazing.

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