Ben here with the Friday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

Ben here with the Friday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

Ben here with the Friday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

Halloween is nearly upon us, and I figured we needed to celebrate with a Halloween-y nature post! With that in mind, please enjoy this marbled orb weaver (Araneus marmoreus), also known as the pumpkin spider or Halloween spider!

Marbled orb weavers like this one are fairly common, but they're not always easy to identify because the coloration of their abdomens can vary wildly. Their abdomens are most often orange, but they can also be yellow (like this one), pale orange, beige, white, red, or dark brown! Their patterns can also vary a great deal also, with one variety having a white abdomen with a large black splotch near the rear.

It always struck me as odd that I only see large orb weaver spiders in the fall. As it turns out, they're here in the spring too, they're just small enough that we don't usually notice them! These spiders tend to construct their egg cases in October and the eggs overwinter and hatch in the spring. The adults first start appearing in mid-summer, but you won't find the biggest orb weavers until the fall. They will hang around until the first hard freeze of the season.

Happy Halloween!

ABOUT #BenInNature
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (

If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!

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