Today at Kingsford

Orb weaver, possibly Neoscona sp.

Something I’ve noticed since moving here is just how different the household fauna is from what my parents get in their house. This guy has spent the entire day on the wall of the entry hallway. Or actually, it might be a she, given the lack of noticeable pedipalps (modified mouthparts that resemble boxing gloves and are used by the male in transferring sperm to the female). She hasn’t moved much all day, perhaps about eight inches from the wall to the nearby door trim. A bright orange spider with a tan-coloured abdomen, I’m sure finding this in my parents’ place would have stuck in my mind.

This is an orb weaver spider, the sort that make those stereotypical spiderwebs that get drawn on Hallowe’en decorations. Orb weavers generally have large, rotund abdomens, and third legs that are shortened and modified for building and walking on their special webs. There are some 180 species of orb weaver north of Mexico, but few are readily identifiable to species without examination of the genitalia under a microscope. Most can be assigned to genus, though, and I think this may be a member of Neoscona, the Spotted Orbweavers. The genus Araneus is very similar, though, separated by the groove in the abdomen running lengthwise in the former, and crosswise across the abdomen in the latter, though it can sometimes be tricky to see without magnification. I’ve submitted it to BugGuide.net for ID, hopefully someone there will be able to ID it.

Orb weaver, possibly Neoscona sp.