Orb Weaver Spider on a Mountain Bike Trail

While hiking a mountain bike trail at Ben Geren Park near Fort Smith, Arkansas this week, I came across a couple of large, intricate webs with sizable spiders right in the middle. At first glance, I knew they must be orb weavers based on the beautiful, symmetrical orb-shaped webs. Upon closer inspection, the spiders had distinctive spots and markings identifying them as Spotted Orb-weaver Spiders (Neoscona crucifera). I quickly grabbed my camera and was able to get a couple of nice shots, including a side view and a back view of these docile creatures.

Spotted Orb Weaver Spider In Her Web - Side View
Spotted Orb Weaver Spider In Her Web – Side View

The Spotted Orb-weaver is a common spider found throughout most of North America. They are known for spinning large, intricate webs that can reach up to 2 feet in diameter. The Orb-weaver’s web is oval in shape and features a distinctive spiral pattern, typical of orb-weaving spiders. These nocturnal spiders rebuild their web every day, consuming the old web for its protein. Although orbweavers tend to be active at night, I came across these two females during the day, which is common in the fall when they switch to diurnal behavior.

Spotted Orb Weaver Spider In Her Web
Spotted Orb Weaver Spider In Her Web

While the Spotted Orbweaver appears large and intimidating in its web, it is a harmless species. They are not venomous to humans and rarely bite unless threatened. If they do bite, it generally only causes mild pain and swelling. The female’s body can grow up to 3⁄4 inch long, with a leg span around 1 1⁄2 inches.

In addition to the Spotted Orb-weaver, this species is also known as the Hentz Orb-weaver, the Barn Spider, and the Marbled Orb-weaver. Whatever you call it, coming across the Spotted Orb-weaver’s intricate web on a fall day is a special wildlife encounter. Have you crossed paths with this gentle spider on your own outdoor adventures?

Image Information (First Image):

  • Date: 10/10/23
  • Time: 8:47 AM
  • Camera: Canon EOS R5
  • Lens: Canon RF 100-500 mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM
  • ISO: 6400
  • Aperture: 7.1
  • Shutter: 1/500
  • Exp. Comp.: 0
  • Lens (mm): 500
  • Program: Manual