A common orbweaving spider found throughout most of North America. This individual is a female. Males are about a quarter the size of females.
From Ohio State University:
Polymorphic - This spider has many color varieties. The most common form has an orange front part of the body (cephalothorax) with orange/white/black banded legs. The abdomen on this form is either orange or yellow with a pattern that resembles a face to some observers. Other color varieties include one that is very pale tan or yellow, sometimes with a black spot in the middle of the abdomen. (Photos of different color variations are available on BugGuide.)
Harmless - This species, as is common to members of the orbweaver family, is not known to bite humans. It preys on a variety of flying insects.
Nocturnal - The spiders build their web at dusk and either wait in the web or in a retreat near the web at night for prey to strike the web. Then the spider runs out and wraps the prey in silk. After the prey is immobilized, the prey is bitten and eventually eaten. Some individuals stay in their webs during the day, but this is not common. They typically rebuild their web each day, or at least the sticky spiral orb part.
Jo and I found this spider while on our afternoon walk. It was in the middle of the road dangling from a single web strand and swinging back and forth. Photographing was difficult. Many thanks to my
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