About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wild "Spiders" Unlimited?

I am trying to figure out what kind of spider this is can you help?

Spider watching isn't as popular as birdwatching yet, even though they come in all shapes and sizes with lots of unique behaviors. And I can appreciate their invaluable role as predator, feeding on hundreds of insects in its lifetime.

However at this time I'm not a spider expert, but I did find a good site online to help us learn: http://www.insectidentification.org/.

This site describes your spider as a Marbled Orb Weaver.
Category: Spider
Common Name: Marbled Orb Weaver

Scientific Name: (Araneus marmoreus)
Characteristics: The unique 'marbling' pattern of colors on the abdomen, the orange head and black and white legs make this spider visually stunning. Like other orb weavers, this spider creates circular webs daily. This species prefers moist locations near water sources.

Females are twice the size of males and generally stay hidden at the web's perimeter in a mess of leaves. Adults are very active during the summer and autumn months.

General Adult Size (Length):0.24in to 0.71in. About the size of a nickel.
Identifying Colors: orange; yellow; black; brown; white

Information from: http://www.insectidentification.org/insect-description.asp?identification=Marbled-Orb-Weaver

So why are we seeing more spiders right now? Actually scientists estimate we're never more than three feet from a spider. However fall is a time when spiders ingest as much food as possible, making them more active and noticeable. They’ve also been growing all summer.

Arachnids have external skeletons. To grow they must grow a new soft skeleton underneath their existing one and then molt. When a spider molts it splits open and wriggles out of its old skeleton. The new skeleton that was growing underneath is soft and pliable, and once it’s stretched out to the larger size it hardens.

Also they usually lay their eggs during the fall so during late summer you will see more webs as the female spiders need more food to generate the eggs before it gets too cold.

The more you know, the less you fear, the more fascinated you become.

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