Ben here with today's edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

Ben here with today's edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

Ben here with today's edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

Halloween is fast approaching, so what better time to look at a spooky spider? This is Verrucosa arenata, better known as the arrowhead orbweaver!

This orbweaver is a bit unique as it's one of the very few large orbweavers that faces upwards in its web rather than facing down. Their webs are unique as well as they're made from tougher, stretchier silk than the webs of most other orbweavers. One of the benefits of these tough webs is that when a prey insect lands in the lower portion of the web, the spider can grab the silk strand the prey is stuck to and "reel it in," allowing the spider to catch its meal while expending very little energy. It's an excellent example of working smarter, not harder.

Most of the orbweaver spiders we see are females rather than males, since the females are larger and tend to stay in one spot while the males are always on the move looking for females. One unusual feature of female arrowhead orbweavers is that the arrowhead on the abdomen can either be yellow (like this one) or white. White arrowhead orbweavers are generally more abundant, but yellow arrowhead orbweavers are better at attracting prey to their webs because the yellow color is more visible to insects. Unfortunately, the yellow color is also more visible to predators, so it's definitely a bit of a trade-off!

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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