Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Identify this spider?


Big hairy spider with banded legs
Big hairy spider with  
In the attached image is a spider that was found just outside my home in middle Tennessee.  When first spotted this morning, it was moving rather quickly along a single string of silk.  I was able to see the underside and do not recall any distinctive markings.  For reference, the brick it is clinging to in the picture is 2 inches tall.  Now it is sitting quietly over my back door, as though waiting to drop down on the next unsuspecting human.  (Just my imagination, I hope!)  I have not noticed any new webs.

What is this spider called?  Is it a danger to humans?  My children would be interested to know what it feeds upon, and any other interesting information that you could share with us.

Thank you!

Dear Kendra - This is an orb weaving spider in the family Araneidae. Although I cannot make out its abdominal markings, its overall appearance and the leg coloration is consistent with it being Neoscona crucifer, a very common and widespread species - see http://tinyurl.com/ln8sl6d for images and additional information. Like all other orb weavers, this spider is harmless to humans.

Hope this helps,

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad


Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.


21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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