Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Slug and spider?

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Question
Slug
Slug  

Spider
Spider  
Two bugs to identify and I may know one of them. Okay so one is a big slug that is brown-ish grayish in color and stripes and spots all over. I think this is a leopard slug, but I could be very wrong. I've seen this kind of slug many times before. Even bought one to school back in my intermediate school days. And as for the spider this guy is outside every night and all night for the past few weeks. It's Web takes up my entire front porch door. One of the largest webs I've ever seen. Quite a big spider itself with quite some hairy legs aND brown and red in color with an odd shape that looks engraved into its back. What spider is this, and am I right about the slug?

Answer
Dear Doug - Your slug does indeed look like a leopard slug - see http://tinyurl.com/jx82o3j. I believe that your orb-weaving spider is in the genus Neoscona, but your flash washed out its color pattern too much for a positive i.d. - see http://tinyurl.com/lktl6w9 for one possibility. This is an extremely common and widespread species, and they do build some very impressive webs!

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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