Marbled Beauty: Photographing the Marbled Orb Weaver Spider

On November 24, 2018, I was hiking through the lush forests of the Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas when a flash of color caught my eye. There, on a leaf resting on the forest floor, was a striking Marbled Orb Weaver Spider. I quickly grabbed my camera and snapped a photo of this colorful spider in its natural habitat.

Marbled Orb Weaver Spider On Leaf
Marbled Orb Weaver Spider On Leaf Here In Arkansas

The Marbled Orb Weaver Spider (Neoscona punctigera) is a fairly common spider with an extensive range across the eastern United States. But despite its wide distribution, there is still much to appreciate about this beautiful arachnid.

The most noticeable feature of the Marbled Orb Weaver is its vivid, mottled abdomen. Females have large, oval-shaped abdomens decorated with eye-catching patterns of white, yellow, orange, brown, and purple. The marble-like markings that give this spider its common name are unique to each individual. Male spiders are much smaller and less vibrantly colored.

These spiders thrive in a variety of habitats, including forests, fields, bushes, and suburban areas. As ambush predators, Marbled Orb Weavers build new circular webs each day and wait patiently for flying or jumping insects to become ensnared. Then they consume their prey whole right there on the web.

Some of the Marbled Orb Weaver’s most interesting traits are:

  • They prey on small insects 0-4 mm long, especially orthopterans, flies, and wasps.
  • Their webs have sticky spiral threads and non-adhesive spokes, with a signal line extending to the spider’s retreat.
  • They hatch in spring, reach maturity in summer, and live for approximately one year.
  • Some people keep them as pets!

I feel fortunate to have crossed paths with this particular Marbled Orb Weaver back in 2018. Capturing its vibrant colors and intricate web was a treat. Although they are widespread, these spiders’ striking patterns and crafty hunting techniques make them special finds out in nature.

Image Information:

  • Date: 11/24/18
  • Time: 1:55 PM
  • Camera: Fuji XT-3
  • Lens: Fuji 18-55
  • ISO: 320
  • Aperture: 7.1
  • Shutter: 1/80
  • Exp. Comp.: 0
  • Lens (mm): 55
  • Program Mode: Aperture Priority