Neoscona species. Probably N. crucifera (old name hentzi). There are seven species of Neoscona in North America and Arkansas has three. This is one of the common fall Orb Weavers in our state. After the Argiope, the dominant summer weavers, have kind of dissipated, this gal appears among the fall foliage. She also likes homes and shrubbery. She is well marked around the spinnerets but above just looks spiny and reddish with some subtle dark markings. She likes to run down or up her safety wires and go into this I'm-all-tucked-up-you-can't-see-me position. I saw her anyway.

The underside with a prey item that has been reduced to an amorphous bag of liquid goody. I hope it wasn't her mate.

She is lovely, no? This is the distinctive Marbled Orb Weaver, Araneus marmoreus. Common in the east and I don't think anything else has markings resembling this marbled pattern on the back. The web has an escape line to the center of the main orb. Males are half the size of the females. Vertical web builder in deciduous woods in August to October, the female builds a retreat of conical rolled leaves in the upper escape corner. This spider is found from Alaska to Texas, virtually everywhere except the SW.

Different girl at Bell. With what looks like a tree hopper. Fall is the time for these high speed spinners.

Hiding in her leaf retreat in late summer. This is a large marmoreus with web strands pulled across the entrance. The yellow markings are supposed to be very variable but these two are close. Thank goodness for a few weaver species that are highly distinctive.

Another big Araneus in her hide. This one was even larger than the above. This is A. bicentarius and is likely the number two spider in size in a web after the biggest Argiope in the state. This species is usually green in color and can vanish in lichen covered woodlands. My daughter spotted this one on our road. Apparently not very common and males are virtually unknown in spider collections. 

A pale Orb as large as the above. Likely another Neoscona. And perhaps the same as the dark red orb above. I believe this one adjusted to the white house. It was living under the eave of my house, it kept trying to make new orbs over my garbage can.

An orb that I could not definitely place to species. It is perhaps another Neoscona species but I am not sure. I believe it is N. domiciliarum, another of the widespread weavers. The shining eyes are interesting. And Judy Semroc noted that in the front of the thorax you can see an almost perfectly formed tiger face. Surely this must be distinctive.

Another specimen of what I think is the same species, N. domiciliarum. Note the same tiger marks up front and the double row of dark markings. No orange tones in this one at all.


And Norm believes this is a pale form or what he actually calls the "bold" form of Neoscona crucifer. If it is it is damn impressive. I like that eye flash shine. And if they are all this variable I may panic.

A specimen in her daytime hide that is likely also Neoscona. Very variable in coloration and size. Makes it tough to call a species on these without killing them and dragging them to a microscope.

The  striking Acanthepeira stellata. This is a large female with more orange in the body than most I have seen. More normal specimens are brownish and gray. This one stood out among the summer greenery. Usually lives in wooded areas but sometimes a field species. Drops quickly from the middle of its web to the vegetation below when disturbed.

The other Micrathena that is common in late summer and often weaves its webs across walking paths in the woods. Usually lower than the slightly bigger M. gracilis (see below) and M. sagittata. These females can be white or yellowish. The pattern has been described as tree-like with the crown of the tree pointing down. Supposedly these spiders are heavy leafhopper feeders.

The late summer hiker's nemesis. Micrathena gracilis. Surely the most common weaver in the south in the July, August, September window with her webs stretched across every wooded pathway. Distinctive and spiniferous. I can't tell you how many shots I have tried of these and they just didn't work. This at least shows the major features.

The males are strikingly different and despite the abundance of the females I have never seen a male. They have an odd black triangular abdomen without the spines. Webs are tight spirals and apparently just right for catching leafhoppers, one of the favored foods.

This is the distinctive Verrucosa arenata. It is possibly the only eastern weaver that waits in her web with her head up. Note the peeking eyes. It is distinctive in several other ways including that bright and glossy central triangle on its abdomen which can be contrasted by dark purples and pinks. It has a netted pattern of lines over the central triangle. Those three white tubercles in the bottom right are also distinct. The male is strikingly different with a pink shield covered with tiny white spots. This is another hardwood forest denizen most abundant in August and September.

This appears to be a weaver in the genus Eustala. This is by no means definite. We have at least three weavers in this genus and I am not sure I have seen any of them otherwise. The color patterns of the one species E. anastera are known to be remarkably variable and this may be a spider or a genus with color matching skills. Comstock described at least four patterns in E. anastera. All of them had the darker central triangle which was much less glossy and prominent than in the above Verrucosa.