Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Spider identification

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Question
Unknown spider
Unknown spider  
Could someone please satisfy our curiosity and identify this spider, we could find no information. Thank you.

Answer
Dear Robert - This a fine, fat (gravid), female orb weaving spider in the genus Araneus, most likely Araneus marmoreus, known as the marbled orb weaver - see http://tinyurl.com/ntqm5lr for an image. These spiders usually become noticed in late autumn when they are full grown and about to lay their eggs. The spider will die with the onset of cold weather and only the eggs will overwinter. All orb weavers are harmless to humans.
Hope this helps,
Saugy

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

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

Publications
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.

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

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