Today at Kingsford – Marbled Orbweaver

Marbled Orbweaver

I took Raven out for her regular walk this afternoon. I took my camera with me even though it was overcast and threatening to rain, since you never know what you might come across. Thank goodness I did, or I would’ve missed documenting this wild spider. It was walking across the road, and both its size and colour made it exceptionally eye-catching on the bare surface. It was huge. Its abdomen was about the size of my thumbnail. I have no idea why it was crawling across the road, but I couldn’t resist pausing to run off a series of photos.

Marbled Orbweaver

Such a distinctive spider was pretty easy to ID. I already knew it was an orb weaver because of the giant abdomen, and shortened third legs. A search for “orange orb weaver” on turned up a bunch of photos, including several of my critter. It’s a Marbled Orbweaver, Araneus marmoreus, a fairly common spider of woodland clearings and long-grassed meadows. It’s been recorded in all of the Canadian provinces, with the majority in the more open southern Ontario and prairie provinces. There aren’t many records from the US on that page (it is, after all), but shows records for most of the eastern states. Worldwide, it’s a holarctic species, found in Eurasia as well.

Marbled Orbweaver

Its abdomen is intricately patterned, almost looking like bubbles, but the thing that I thought was particularly neat is that the pattern is asymmetrical, especially right at the front. There’s actually two morphs of this species, this one (which can also come in yellowish versions with dark markings), and one whose abdomen is mostly pale with a large dark blotch at the back. The latter form is only found in Eurasia, and rarely overlaps in range with the orange version. How they know they’re the same species is a mystery of science. The large size makes this a female. Females can reach 14mm (body size minus the legs) while males are much smaller, reaching just 9mm. Being a member of the Araneus it ought to show a longitudinal crease down the abdomen (as opposed to Neoscona, which has horizontal creases), but if there were any creases at all, they weren’t visibly obvious to me.


Author: Seabrooke

Author of Peterson Field Guide to Moths. #WriteOnCon Mastermind. Writer of action/thriller SF/F YA. Story junkie. Nature nut. Tea addict. Mother. Finding happiness in the little things. Twitter: @SeabrookeN / @SeabrookeLeckie

42 thoughts on “Today at Kingsford – Marbled Orbweaver”

  1. What a beautiful spider! Great color and patterns. We had a few orb weavers around the house as late as last week. They were yellow and black striped and quite large having feasted all summer on the abundant grasshoppers that lived in the high grasses. It’s turning winter cold now, here in Wisconsin. I imagine the spiders that over winter have found shelter to see them through till spring.

  2. We just found one outside. We are in SW Missouri. I thought he had got into paint. The kids think he is so cool. Has he been found in this part before? I have never seen one before and I have lived here my entire 42 years.

  3. Just found my first orange orb-weaver the other day on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Given it’s strikingly bright colors, I first thought it was nature’s way of saying it was venemous. Put it in a can and ‘Google’d’ it. I put it right back outside to continue it’s journey shortly thereafter. Beautiful pics!

  4. I really like how you go through your reasoning as you find the species of the spider. I am trying to find the species of a similar spider that is white with red stripes and your description makes me think that it is an orb weaver…now I just have to find a picture of the same one somewhere!

    Thank you,

  5. I found one of the orange orb weaver spiders crawling down the outside of my Wausau, WI. house and had no clue what it was and i am freaked out really bad by spiders but i just had to look at it! it was increadable!!

  6. I found one on my door frame in Portland Oregon this evening. To my suprise it doesn’t move very fast. It’s abdomen is the size of a small grape. YIKES!

    1. I’m glad to hear someone else from the Pacific Northwest has found one of these too, since I wasn’t sure if I was correctly identifying it. I came home today to find one on the ceiling about the door to my apartment complex. I’ve never seen a spider with an abdomen that big! Scary!

  7. I was reroofing a house and My wife found one on a piece of plywood next to my saw horses . so we captured it and it was taken to iowa state university to be researched because it not common in central iowa. weird

  8. Thank you for showing me the marbled orb weaver. I was cleaning my window ledges ouside and came across one. I had no idea what kind it was till I found your site. I carefully released him into the woods behind my home. I live in eastern ontario.

  9. My husband and I found one of these amazing spiders in some leeks that were delivered to our shop this week. This is in leicestershire, England, and the leeks were from a local supplier so imagine the spider is from the uk, so quite interested to see that there were no other messages from the uk. It was a fascinating spider though, never seen anything like it before.

  10. Thank you! I found the same Spider in my back yard in Waterville, Ohio,(near toledo) and was wondering what kind of spider it was as i have lived here all 32 years of my life. I have a great picture of it and would like to share only don’t know how. I also didn’t know if this spider was poison species or not. now that i have the name i’m able to look it up thanks alot for your help!

  11. Thank you for the insight and the anatomy of the third leg. My students and I found orange and brown one. It looks like it has flourescent orange spray paint on its abdomen. : ) We found it at our school forest in Mosinee, WI. It keeps playing dead.

  12. Im soo glad you skashed it after you finished the photos and stuff, thanks! You did your country a favor!!!

  13. i have one on my sliding glass door in westchester county Ny. It is awesome looking. it hasn’t moved in two days

  14. i found one walking on the driveway at a home in middlebury vt on 10-19-2012. It was bigger then my thumbnail. It was kind of different not used to seeing something like this. Karen VT

  15. I saw this walking across my driveway in central North Carolina this morning! At first I thought it was a piece of Hallowe’en candy from last night, but then I saw it walking! I looked closely and could not believe this spider! I thought it would be venomous given its color. I am scared of spiders but this one really caught my eye!

  16. This morning a coyote attacked our Jack Russel Terrier and literally shredded his rear left foot. (We live in South Carolina) The vet wanted to amputate his entire leg or put him down. He insisted there were no other options. We made a decision to attempt to save his foot, using our best natural herbal methods. After a thorough cleaning, we literally reassembled what was left of his foot, and bandaged it up nicely. We made him as comfortable as possible and placed him under a heat lamp. It was an intense morning, to say the least.

    As we were cleaning up our emergency supplies a large Marbled Orbweaver fell from a tree and landed in my wife’s hair. She’s terrified of spiders. It was the first one we had ever seen. It was beautiful. We moved it to a safer location away from our animals and just watched it for a while. After such an intense morning working to save one of our injured furry children, it was a blessed relief to see such a beautiful creature for the first time.

    Thanks for the great information and photos. I found your site while trying to identify our visitor who fell from the sky. By the way, you never know what kind of moves a person is capable of until a giant orange spider unexpectedly drops in their hair. lol

  17. Found one this morning in Seattle, WA. walking across my living room. I am terrified of spiders. Does this one have a bad sting?

  18. Thanks for the info! Had one of these crawling across our driveway this afternoon in Manassas, VA. Caught it and put it in a jar until I could google it. My 3yo and 5yo thought it was cool and helped release it in the yard.

  19. I just found this bright colored beauty on my back porch yesterday! It was curled up in a crease of my house. Because of it’s bright color I actually thought it was some kind of fungus! I went to knock it off the house and got a surprise when legs came out! I’ve never seen a spider like this down here in South Georgia!

  20. M Frog Sept. 21, 2014
    Found this bright orange orb. just outside our guest room window IN SW Washington today. HUGE. After meeting several Wolf Spiders last year (in house! & FAST & UGLY) and several Hobos (also fast & ugly) hoping this guest will have the courtesy to STAY outside. Beautiful web – watched it all day in sunny location swinging back & forth INVITING & GREETING GUESTS VERY QUICKLY. First time observers of mentioned species!

  21. We found one on the gutter in woodland in N. Georgia at Thanksgiving. Thought it must be diseased or an invasive, but left it alone. Good to know it is “normal”.

  22. Just found this spider (eastern Nebraska)when my garage door went up. Beautiful! Moved him (her, I think) to a group of old fashion lilac shrubs.

  23. I have a home day care we were out side playing and one of my children spotted this beautiful spider hanging from the tree branch in my yard. I then put it in a jar to find out more about it. The children was so excited. We are now studying more about this spider.

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