What is this spider spinning a bright green web?

Here is the picture of it I took with my phone while I was out working:

Here is a close up:

Location: Texas (winter).

Your image is not the best one, but this is probably the Magnolia green jumper, Lyssomanes viridis.

Here is a better image of it for comparison:

It also matches your location. According to the Wikipedia page linked above,

the species is native to the Southeastern United States plus Texas, and as far north as Maryland.

Check out the Green Lynx Spider (Peucetia viridans) here. The spots on the body look similar. If the legs are similar this is a good candidate. It's hard to tell by the photos if this is it or not, but it may help.


I'll go with the jumping spider, for two reasons - first, the Lynx Spiders make a normal brown egg sac, and second, there is a strikingly similar jumping spider in Australia, called Mopsus mormon, that also makes a green egg sac (although, to be fair, it's the eggs that look green rather than the silk… )

Garden Spiders: Weavers of Delicate Webs

Known for their colorful, intricately patterned abdomens, garden spiders are the common name for the genus Argiope, which means “with a bright face” in Latin. There are dozens of species within this genus, but the most common members found in North America are the yellow and black, banded and silver varieties.

“As their common name suggests, they are found in gardens,” said Jo-Anne Nina Sewlal, an arachnologist at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad. “But they are usually [a] generalist species in terms of the habitats they occupy and are not restricted to gardens.” In North America, they are found in southern Canada, the continental United States, and as far south as Costa Rica. They rarely venture inside human dwellings. These non-aggressive spiders&rsquo bites are not harmful to humans.

Garden spiders typically live for about one year, according to the National Wildlife Federation. After mating in the fall, the females eat the males then die soon after. Spiderlings hatch in the spring.

Garden spiders are a genus in the family Araneidae, known as orb-weaver spiders. According to Sewlal, orb weavers&rsquo “web design is the one we most associate with spiders and are seen in storybooks and at Halloween.” These spiders are the creators of delicate, circular, spoked webs. “The web consists of a series of concentric circles starting from the smallest at the center, referred to as the hub of the web, and radiating outwards where the circles get larger and larger,” said Sewlal. “These circles are divided into sectors by lines of silk so that it resembles slices of a pie.” Sometimes, they cluster heavy streams of silk in a zigzag pattern near the center of the web, which is called a stabilimentum.

According to the University of Michigan&rsquos BioKIDS website, most orb-weaver spiders spin a beautiful new web each night after eating the remnants of the old web.

“There are actually two different types of silk used in web construction,” said Sewlal. “When the web is being constructed, the spider lays out very thin lines of non-sticky silk when it is making the concentric circles, or radii, and uses this to keep the tension of the web. After the sticky lines of silk are placed, this non-sticky silk is cut away.”

Flying insects such as flies, bees, grasshoppers, and others get stuck in the stinky silk. According to the University of Idaho Extension&rsquos Homeowner Guide to Spiders Around the Home and Yard, garden spiders often sit in the center of the web, and when an insect gets stuck, they quickly wrap the prey in silk and bite it, causing the prey to go still.

Garden spiders will spin webs in plants, in porch overhangs, between trees, and in other outdoor spots.

Spider, spider, spinning bright . . .

In my post the other day that drew on Isaac D'Israeli's accounts of how some literary luminaries spent their leisure time, I didn't point out the one that I found the strangest: Spinoza's habit of relaxing by setting spiders to fight each other. An admirer of Spinoza, I tend to glorify him a bit, thinking of him as an essentially gentle, bookish soul much put upon by the world, but learning of this oddly violent pastime has made me wonder whether I might have him all wrong. For a placid soul, what fun could there possibly be in watching spiders fight?

These spideatorial combats also led me to another question: how on earth did Spinoza find spiders whenever he happened to need a break from his labors? Maybe the Lords of the Ma'amad were right about his "monstrous deeds" after all--maybe a man who can conjure spiders at will should be cursed by day and by night, when he rises up and when he lies down, when he comes in and when he goes out.

Fortunately, further reading in D'Israeli restored my faith in Spinoza, at least so far as conjuring fighting spiders was concerned. Apparently spiders were just more readily at hand back in ye olden days, as they make two other appearances in the Curiosities of Literature .

The first example comes from the essay "Medical Music," which features an account of an unnamed officer who, confined to the Bastille, charmed his non-human cellmates with his lute:

Now if you want to talk about someone who deserves to be cursed when he rises up and cursed when he lies down, &tc. . . .

But rather than blacken our souls with curses, let us turn to an act of kindness toward spiders, from D'Israeli's account of Anthony Magliabechi, a reader so voracious as to be nicknamed "the Glutton of Literature." D'Israeli describes him thus:

What is this spider spinning a bright green web? - Biology

With their bright yellow bodies and distinctive multi-layered webs, it’s hard to miss them while walking along trails in Northeast Georgia or even lounging on a back porch.

The invasive species — which are native to China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan — started popping up in Northeast Georgia in 2014, according to Mattias Johansson, assistant professor of biology at the University of North Georgia Gainesville campus.

Like many others in Hall County, Johansson said the Joro spider caught his attention when it began appearing locally. The professor, who specializes in invasive species research, gathered a team of UNG students in August 2019 to begin measuring the arachnids’ potential ecological impact.

Although the pandemic threw a hiccup in the operation, Johansson said they have picked up their work this fall semester, focusing mainly on Joro spiders' prey.

Spider Survey

In order to conduct a large-scale survey of urban spiders, we need the help of the public. We are asking people to collect spiders in their homes and gardens, fill out a simple data sheet about their collection, and send or bring them to the Natural History Museum.

Once the specimens arrive here, our team of experts will identify the specimens, make a collecting record, and place the spiders in the collection. If requested, we will contact the person submitting the spider with information about its identity. Spiders collected in the survey will be used to create a database about the distribution and abundance of the species. We will report our major results on this website.

Want to help? See the 'How to Participate' section below for instructions.
In spite of their importance and abundance, we do not know much about the spiders in Los Angeles. There are no truly large collections of urban spiders from this area, as most collectors concentrate on studying natural areas. As an important international port, new species of spiders from various parts of the world are always being accidentally introduced into the Los Angeles area, and some of these have established breeding populations. We need to know how widespread these introduced species have become, and how they have interacted with the native spiders. Also, we want to know how urbanization and the loss of natural habitat has affected populations and distributions of naturally occurring spiders.

How Will it Work?
Disclaimer: The museum appreciates your assistance in this scientific project. If you have any concerns about participating, we suggest you do NOT participate. The museum cannot be responsible for the treatment of bites or for any injury or illness resulting from the project.

How to Participate

Why Are We Conducting A Survey?

Spiders are extremely important animals. They exist in vast numbers and are the primary predators of the equally common insects. Because they are so common, they often come into contact with people, and we receive many telephone calls requesting information about spiders. Many people needlessly fear spiders, but most are harmless to humans.

Go on a Spider-Collecting Adventure

Help our scientists find out which spiders are in L.A. Without your help, they can't get the full picture. Although the widows are the only spiders in our area which are considered dangerous, all spiders (except one family) have venom and may bite. Use caution collecting and do not put your hands anywhere you cannot see. If looking under rocks or logs, lift from the far side so that the object is between you and any creature living underneath.

Step 1: Gather Tools
Here's what you might use:

  • plastic container(s) with lids
  • plastic spoon
  • gardening trowel
  • old white pillowcase (PDF)
  • small note card
  • yogurt cups

Step 2: Go Outside
Spiders are everywhere. You just have to look—in bushes and flowers, under rocks, bricks and logs, wrapped in retreats tucked into leaves, in leaf litter, under pots, in crevices, in walls and fences, on window sills. The longer you spend quietly looking, the more you will find. Sometimes you will come across a spider wandering. Since many spiders are nocturnal, look at night too.

Step 3: Collect Spiders
To capture a spider, place a plastic container over the spider. Then slide a notecard beneath the spider to trap it. Quickly put the lid on the container.

To collect spiders from leaf litter, search for piles of leaves, like under bushes or in flowerbeds. With a trowel, scoop some dirt and leaves onto a pillowcase. Use a spoon to stir the material around while looking for spiders. Watch out they can move fast!

To collect nocturnal wandering spiders, try a pitfall trap. Bury a container like a yogurt cup flush with the ground. Smooth the ground around the lip. Add 1 inch of water. Check daily for spiders and place any spiders in a small container of rubbing alcohol to preserve it

Step 4: Send Us Your Spiders
Fill out the data sheet. Make sure to note where you found the spider. Bring your spiders to the Museum's front desk. Or put them in a small container, like a plastic pill vial. If alive, include a small piece of paper towel. If dead, include a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol to preserve it.

Mail them to:
Spider Survey
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
900 Exposition Boulevard
Los Angeles CA 90007

What have we collected so far

Community scientists participating in the Los Angeles Spider Survey have collected over 4000 spiders, representing 217 species and 119 genera in 36 families.

Grass Spiders or Funnel Web-Weavers

Grass Spiders or Funnel Web Spiders spin sheet webs with a funnel shaped retreat at the edge where they rest. When an insect walks across the web, they rush out to capture it and drag it back into the retreat. They are medium to large spiders with a characteristic pattern. The carapace is light with dark longitudinal bands. The abdomen is dark gray, often with a broad orange median band. The long spinnerets are easily seen.

When mature, the males go in search of females. Mating takes place within the retreat or on the sheet web. The male may remain with the female until he dies. The egg sac is placed in the retreat where the female guards it until the young hatch and disperse.

Genus: Hololena
Hololena curta
– This native spider is one of the most common spiders in the area and has been found in a wide variety of habitats. Its sheet webs can be found in large numbers in bushes and hedges, often very close to each other. They also spin their webs in the corners of houses and garages and in the corners of windows.

Genus: Agelenopsis
Agelenopsis aperta
– This large spider prefers open dry areas where it spins its sheet web in grass or at the base of bushes. The retreat usually extends down into grass or into a crevice. This spider has been collected in local mountains and adjacent areas.

Genus: Tegenaria
Spiders in this genus spin their webs in houses and under bark and rocks. The abdomen is gray with a pair of light streaks.
Tegenaria domestica – This is an introduced species which is found worldwide. It is usually collected in houses and has been found throughout the area.
Tegenaria pagana – Also an introduced species, one spider has been collected in the San Gabriel River wash.

Genus: Calilena
Spiders in this genus spin their webs under rocks and boards and in leaf litter. Three species have been collected in the area.
Calilena angelena – This spider has been collected in Zuma Canyon,
Calilena californica – This spider has been collected in local mountains.
Calilena stylophora – This spider has been collected along the San Gabriel River wash.

Spiders in this family range from large to very small. They are usually brownish gray in color, sometimes with chevrons on the abdomen and are found in leaf litter and under logs and rocks. The survey has collected three species in the genus Amaurobius.

Amaurobius dorothea – These medium sized spiders have a dark orange carapace and gray abdomen with a chevron pattern.
Amaurobius latescens – These medium sized spiders have a dark orange carapace and gray abdomen with a chevron pattern.
Amaurobius agastus – One specimen has been collected in the Santa Monica Mountains.

One species, Metaltella simoni, has been introduced from South America and has recently spread throughout the Los Angeles area. It spins a tangled web under leaf litter, bark and rocks. It has been found in gardens and houses.

Gertschanapis shantzi – These tiny spiders have been collected in leaf litter in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Spiders in this family are wandering hunters found in leaf litter and under bark and rocks. They are pale yellow or tan, sometimes with dark markings. They rest in silken retreats under leaves and stones. Egg sacs are soft white and round, and may contain from 50 to 150 eggs.

Anyphaena pacifica – These spiders are pale orange with a reddish abdomen. Rapid hunters, they are found under rocks and occasionally wandering in houses. In our area, they are more commonly collected in houses.

Anyphaena californica – This spider has a pale abdomen with dark transverse markings. It is more likely to be found outside in gardens, and has been collected from compost piles.

Genus: Hibana incursa – Similar in appearance to the others, this spider has dark chelicerae.

Most noticeable in the late summer and autumn in their large orb webs, most of these spiders are native to the Los Angeles area.

Members of this family vary greatly in size. Most have an annual life cycle with one generation per year. Spiders mature and mate in early summer and fall. Males die shortly after mating females die after making an egg sac. The spiderlings hatch and remain in the egg sac until spring, typically undergoing their first molt before leaving the egg sac.

The orb shaped webs are usually vertical most spiders have a retreat in which they remain during the day. The spider usually sits in the middle of the web during the night. Some members of the family take the web down at dawn and rebuild it at dusk. Others just repair damage caused by flying insects. Often the spiders will consume the silk and recycle it. Males are less commonly seen than females. They are smaller and once they have undergone their final molt and are mature they no longer spin webs. The remainder of their lives is spent searching for females to mate.

GENUS: Araneus
This genus includes many of the larger orb weavers found in North America, as well as many smaller species. Most are native. They are nocturnal, resting in a silken retreat during the day and hanging in the center of the web during the night. Most have a pair of humps at the anterior margin of the abdomen. The loose fluffy egg sac is left in a sheltered spot.

Araneus gemma – This spider is one of the most commonly seen in gardens in the fall sitting at the center of the web at night. Large (females are 9-19mm.), the abdomen is brownish orange with a median longitudinal white streak. The underside of the abdomen has a black band bracketed by white.

Araneus gemmoides – This spider is very similar to Araneus gemma. The ranges of the two species overlap along the Pacific Coast and it is thought that they are interbreeding. Some spiders in our area appear to be hybrids.

Araneus andrewsi – Also large, this spider is dark with a dorsal folium. They are usually found in trees.

Araneus nordmanni – This large spider varies from light to dark with two white spots on the underside of the abdomen, and is usually found in forested areas.

Smaller Araneus species: Most of these smaller spiders mature earlier than the larger ones, in spring rather than late summer, when their prey is still small enough for them to catch. They have been collected in gardens and local mountains.

Very large and colorful, spiders in this genus can be seen hanging upside down in the center of their large orb webs, typically with legs stretched out in an X. The webs often have a stabilimentum, a zigzag band of silk, down the middle of the web. The purpose of the stabilimentum is unknown, although scientists have suggested several hypotheses: camouflage and protection for the spider, a diversion for birds, an attraction for insects. The males are minute in comparison to the very large females. They can sometimes be found at the edges of the web. Their small size may be protection from becoming dinner for their mate since they are too small for the female to bother eating.

Three species have been collected in the LA area in the survey although they are less common than other large orb weavers.

Argiope aurantia – The Black and Yellow Argiope is found in gardens, hanging upside down at the center of its large orb web. The egg sac is a brown papery sphere and may contain 400-1000 eggs. The eggs and spiderlings spend the winter inside the egg sac before hatching and dispersing.

Argiope trifasciata – The Banded Argiope has a white, yellow and black striped abdomen and is found in gardens and open areas. It prefers drier areas than the Black and Yellow Argiope. The web is usually close to the ground in bushes and grasses. The egg sac is brown and papery, flat on top and rounded underneath, and may contain 100 eggs.

Argiope argentata – The abdomen of the Silver Garden Spider has several lobes along the sides.

Members of this genus are found worldwide two are found in our area. They are found hanging in the web during the day. The web has a vertical line of debris down the middle which gives the spider its common name, the trash line spider. When disturbed in the web, the spider will rapidly shake the web then escape by dropping on a line of silk. The abdomen of the females extends into characteristic posterior humps.

Cyclosa conica – The abdomen of the female of this species has a distinctive posterior hump.

Cyclosa turbinata – The females of this species have a pair of humps on the anterior margin of the abdomen in addition to the posterior hump.

GENUS: Eriophora edax – This large spider has a triangular abdomen with a black trapezoidal mark surrounded by white on the ventral abdomen.

GENUS: Eustala – Three species have been collected in our area.

GENUS: Larinia – One species Larinia directa, has been collected. It has an elongated and stripe abdomen.

One species in this genus is found in the L.A. area. The Bolas spider, Mastophora cornigera, is also called the bird turd spider because it resembles a bird dropping as it sits at rest. In the Orb Weaver family, it is the exception it does not spin a web. The spider emits a pheromone that mimics that of a female moth. When the male moths come looking for the female, the spider catches the moth by swinging a line of silk with a glob of sticky silk at the end.

Although not common, it is widespread in the area.

GENUS: Metazygia – Two introduced species have recently been collected in the Long Beach area.

GENUS: Metepeira – These small spiders prefer the mountains around the L.A. area and are commonly found on native buckwheat and sage. The orb web has an irregular retreat. All species have an oval abdomen with a folium and a longitudinal white stripe on the underside of the abdomen some also have a white stripe on the sternum. The egg sacs are brown flattened ovals, hanging in a line below the retreat.

Species collected in the local mountains include:

Metepeira grandiosa grandiosa

These large spiders are one of the most common and abundant of the orb weavers, frequently seen in their vertical webs in late summer. They spend the day in a retreat at the edge of the web and hang in the web at night. Like the Araneus species, they usually live for one year, spinning a flattened egg sac covered with loose silk in foliage in the fall before dying. The egg sac may contain as many as 300 eggs.

Neoscona crucifera – This is the most commonly collected orb weaver in the L.A. area. It is found around houses, in gardens, and in open woods. The spider sits in the center of its web at night. It has an oval abdomen with an indistinct darkish pattern.

Neoscona arabesca – These spiders have an oval abdomen with paired black dorsal lines, and are found in shrubs and meadows. They prefer sunny moist conditions.

Neoscona oaxacensis – Commonly found near houses in shrubs and tall grass, these spiders have a black and white pattern on the abdomen. They can be found throughout the L.A. Basin.

GENUS: One species, Zygiella x-notata , has been collected in the area. Originally from Europe, it is an introduced species. The small spider has an oval abdomen with a black and white folium. The orb web is incomplete the spider leaves an open sector or wedge.

These small to medium sized spiders are usually pale brown to yellow. They are nocturnal wandering hunters who spend the day in a silk-lined retreat under a rock or in a rolled-up leaf.

One species, Clubiona pomoa, has been collected in the Agoura area.

Most of the spiders in this genus are ant mimics, often found running rapidly over leaf litter. They are small and often brightly colored. Three species have been collected in the survey.

Genus: Falconina gracilis, a species native to south America, has been collected in the south eastern part of Los Angeles County. It is found in damp areas, under rocks, logs and trash cans. The pattern on the abdomen is characteristic of the species.

Spiders in this family are large mygalomorphs who live in silk lined burrows with a trapdoor. The spider waits at the open trapdoor for an insect to pass by, and then rushes out to grab it. The males are more likely to be seen after winter rains when they leave their burrows to go in search of females. The females may spend their entire lives within their burrows.

Bothriocyrtum californicum is the native trapdoor spider in our area. It has been collected in gardens adjacent to local mountains following winter rains. This spider is declining in number due to habitat loss and increased urbanization.

The Gray House Spider, Badumna longiqua, has been introduced from Australia. It is a large dark brown spider covered with lighter hair. It is found around buildings along the coast. The spider spins a characteristic messy web with a retreat at the side where it rests.

Spiders in this family are mostly small with a round to oval abdomen. Some are found in leaf litter. Others spin small irregular webs in the branch tips of trees and bushes and other foliage. Most have an annual life cycle. Several species are found in the area.

One species in this family is found in the area. Dysdera crocata, is a nocturnal wandering hunter, commonly found in gardens under rocks and leaf litter. Its large chelicerae are adapted to capture its preferred prey, which gives it its common name of Sow Bug Eater. These large spiders have a dark red carapace with a pale abdomen. They use silk to spin retreats and egg sacs which the female guards. They may live two to three years.

These are medium to large wandering hunters. Primarily nocturnal, they are found under rocks and leaf litter, spending the day in a retreat under a rock or wrapped in a leaf. Cheiracanthium mildei, the Yellow Sac Spider, is one of the most common spiders found throughout Los Angeles County. It was introduced from Europe. This spider is often found wandering on the walls of houses at night and has a reputation for biting.

Genus: One species, Filistatinella crassipalpis, was collected in the Santa Monica Mountains. This small spider spins a web in a crevice where it sits and waits for prey.

Spiders in this family are mostly nocturnal hunters, commonly found in leaf litter, in crevices of trees and under rocks and logs and sometimes found wandering in houses. They spend the day in silken retreats. Most are mature in late spring and early summer, although some species can be found year-round as adults. Females tend to live a month longer than males in the fall. Egg sacs are attached under stones or wrapped in a leaf. Many are in the shape of a fried egg and may contain as many as 250 eggs. These spiders are small to medium, with oval elongate abdomens, and most are drab colored. Their anterior spinnerets are large and cylindrical. Most of the 15 genera and 25 species of Gnaphosidae in our area are native species, however one of the most common spiders in LA is an introduced species, Scotophaeus blackwalli.

Genus: Cesonia
Members of this genus have been collected in urban areas. These fast running hunters are usually found under leaf litter and in sandy soil. They have white bands against dark on the carapace and abdomen.

Genus: Drassyllus
Members of this genus are small nocturnal hunters. Two species have been collected, Drassyllus insularis and Drassyllus proclesis.

Genus : Gnaphosa
One species, Gnaphosa californica, has been collected. It is usually found under rocks.

Genus: Herpyllus
There are several species in this genus. Two have been collected in the area. They range from small to large and are brownish gray.
Herpyllus propinquus is one of the most common spiders in the area, often found wandering on walls in houses at night.
Herpyllus scholasticus , though less common, is also found in houses and under rocks and bark.

Genus: Nodocion
Two species have been collected in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Nodocion electicus and Nodocion voluntarius

Genus: Scotophaeus
Scotophaeus blackwalli – An introduced species, this is one of the most common spiders in LA, found throughout the area and commonly collected wandering on walls inside houses at night. In appearance, this spider is very similar to Herpyllus propinquus.

Genus: Sergiolus
Members of this genus are black with white transverse bands on the abdomen and carapace. They are commonly found in leaf litter in open areas. Two species have been collected: Sergiolus angustus and Sergiolus montanus.

Genus: Trachyzelotes
One species, Trachyzelotes lyonneti , has been introduced from Europe. It has a cluster of stiff whiskers on the front of the chelicerae. This spider has been collected in gardens and local mountains.

Genus: Urozelotes
One species, Urozelotes rusticus, has been collected. Although widespread, most have been collected in Pasadena and Mount Washington. It is an introduced species found worldwide, usually associated with buildings. It has an elongate and pale abdomen.

Genus: Zelotes
These shiny dark black spiders are found in leaf litter and under rocks. They are usually found in open areas. Three species have been collected: Zelotes gynethus, Zelotes icenoglei and Zelotes pinos.
Heser nilicola, formerly Zelotes nilicola, is an introduced species from the Mediterranean and has been collected in houses and gardens.

Calmmaria monicae is a small spider which spins a sheet-like web with a cone shaped retreat in cavities or under rocks.

The dwarf spiders and sheet web weavers are small to very small spiders which spin horizontal sheet webs in vegetation and leaf litter near the ground and under rocks. The larger spiders in this genus, often both male and female together, sit under the web waiting for an insect to land and then bite it from below and pull it through to wrap and eat. The very smallest spiders are more likely to be found under rocks and in leaf litter where they spin small webs. Larger species often have a pattern on the abdomen the smallest species are usually gray or black. Males often have weirdly shaped carapaces with eyes grouped on turrets. These spiders are frequently collected in pit fall traps.

Tenuiphantes tenuis is a new record for Los Angeles County.

The arrangement of the eyes is characteristic of the family. Four small eyes form the anterior row two pair of larger eyes can be seen on the top of the cephalothorax. They hunt by sight, some by day and others at night, and are extremely fast runners. Their eyesight is second only to the Jumping spiders. At night, the eyes of the Wolf Spiders will appear green in the beam of a flashlight. They are somber colored gray or brown, often with whitish stripes on the carapace. Most run along the ground and rest under stones. The female carries her egg sac attached to the spinnerets until the eggs hatch. The spiderlings then ride on their mother’s back for a week or so before dispersing.

When mating, the male approaches the female waving his pedipalps and front legs in a species-specific courtship display.

Genus: Alopecosa kochii has been collected mostly in the local mountains and adjacent areas.

Genus: Arctosa littoralis prefers areas adjacent to streams.

Genus: Pardosa
Five species of this thin-legged wolf spider have been collected. The most common is Pardosa californica.
Pardosa bellona
Pardosa californica
Pardosa ramulosa
Pardosa sternalis
Pardosa steva

Genus: Pirata
One species, Pirata sedentarius, has been collected.

Genus: Geolycosa
Geolycosa gosoga – One spider has been collected in the Thousand Oaks area.

Genus: Schizocosa
Schizocosa mccooki, a large spider, has been collected along the coast from Redondo Beach to Malibu.

These mygalomorphs are among the smaller spiders in the group. They have long flexible spinnerets which they use to spin large horizontal sheet webs over holes and crevices in the banks of ravines. One species, Megahexhura fulva, occurs in the Santa Monica Mountains.

The Pirate Spiders prey on other spiders. They have quick acting venom which is specialized to kill spiders. Web dwelling spiders are their primary prey. They approach the web and bite the resident spider on a leg before enjoying their meal. The first and second legs are armed with a row of short curved spines.

Two species, Reo eutypus and Mimetus eutypus, have been collected on plants and in houses.

One species, Oecobius navus, has been collected in the area. An introduced species, this spider is very small, oval shaped and pale gray. Often found in large numbers on the sides of buildings and along window sills. The spider spins a double sheet web and rests in between the layers. Their main prey are ants. The spider runs around the ant while surrounding it with silk. A large fringe around the anal tubercle is used to comb out the silk.

Escaphiella hespera is a very small spider usually found in leaf litter.

Lynx spiders are diurnal hunters commonly found in tall grasses and herbaceous vegetation. The elongated abdomen tapers to a point. The legs are long and covered with many erect spines, giving the spider a spiky appearance. They are sit-and-wait predators and often jump on their prey, much like the Jumping spiders. They may also stalk prey like a cat. Females lay egg sacs in the fall and remain close by until they hatch.

Genus: Peucetia
Peucetia viridans
is a large green spider collected in gardens and natural areas.

Genus: Oxyopes
Two species, Oxyopes salticus and Oxyopes scalaris, are smaller and less brightly colored spiders also found in gardens and natural areas.

Genus: Hamataliwa grisea is a cryptically colored, small spider, usually found on woody twigs and branches.

These active hunters are found along plant stems and branches. The second leg is the longest. Several species are found in the area. They are more common in natural areas around the Los Angeles basin.

Philodromus rufus pacificus

Spiders in this family include the common and ubiquitous cellar spiders which are often called daddy long legs spiders. They can be confused with Harvestmen, in the Order Opiliones, which are also called daddy long legs. The Harvestmen have one body part the Pholcids have the two body parts typical of the spiders. Pholcids have very long, slender and flexible legs attached to a light tan body, often with darker markings. The two most common species are introduced and are found in tangled webs in the corners of houses and garages. Native species are smaller and are found under rocks and in leaf litter and debris on the ground. Females carry their egg sacs with their chelicerae until the spiderlings hatch.

Holocnemus pluchei and Pholcus phangioides are very common around houses. Both have been introduced from Europe.
Psilochorus utahensis are small spiders which make their webs under rocks and debris. They have been collected in natural areas.

One specimen, Prodidomus rufus, has been collected. This small spider is a nocturnal wandering hunter.

This is the largest spider family and one of the most diverse. Spiders range from very small to large. They have the most acute eyesight of all the spider species with characteristic a pair of large anterior median eyes. They have stocky bodies with comparatively short legs. In many species the male is brightly colored while the female is more cryptically colored.

Active during the day, they stalk their prey, much like a cat. Slowly creeping up on a fly resting on a wall, the spider will approach then jump, leaving a drag line of silk to catch itself.

Many Jumping Spiders in the area are native, but two species collected in the survey are new records: Plexippus paykulli and Mexigonus minutus.

Genus: Phidippus
Members of this genus are the largest of the Jumping Spiders.
Phidippus audax is frequently found in gardens. This large jumper is black with three white spots on the abdomen. The chelicerae are iridescent green.
Phidippus johnsoni has a red abdomen, sometimes with a median black stripe. The abdomen of Phidippus adumbratus is reddish with lighter markings.

Genus: Habronattus
Several species of this small gray/brown spider have been collected. Males tend to be more brightly colored than females.
Habronattus californicus
Habronattus conjunctus
Habronattus icenoglei
Habronattus schlingeri

Genus: The male Plexippus paykullli is a medium sized spider with white stripes on a black carapace and abdomen. Females are brownish.

Genus: Colonus
Colonus hesperus is a medium sized light colored spider with large black spots on the carapace.

Genus: Neon
Two species, Neon avalonus and Neon ellamae, have been collected. These tiny spiders are found in leaf litter.
Several other species have been collected in the survey.
Eris militaris
Evarcha hoyi

Marpissa robustus
Menemerus bivittatus
Metacyrba taeniolar
Metaphidippus manni
Mexigonus minutus
Mexigonus morosus
Platycryptus californicus
Pseudicius siticulosis
Sassacus vitis
Sitticus dorsatus
Terralonus californicus

This family includes the infamous Brown Recluse, which is a Midwest species not found in the Los Angeles area. A native species, Loxoceles deserta, is found in our local deserts. Four specimens have been submitted to the survey, all from Hesperia.

A species introduced from South America, Loxosceles laeta, has established small and localized populations in basements in downtown Los Angeles and Sierra Madre. One specimen has been collected for the survey.

Giant Crab spiders or Huntsman spiders are large brown or tan colored spiders. They are nocturnal hunters who rest in crevices and under bark during the day. They ambush and chase their prey. The front legs are held in a crab-like position, giving the spider its common name.

Genus: Heteropoda
One introduced species is occasionally found in the area. Heteropoda venatoria, the Huntsman spider, is a large, dark spider native to the tropics. It may travel with imported fruits, especially bananas. This spider is much appreciated in the tropics where it lives in homes and preys on cockroaches at night. The female carries her egg sac in her chelicerae until the spiderlings hatch and emerge.

Olios giganticus is a native species. It is large and pale brown.

Genus: Tetragnatha
Spiders in this genus have elongate abdomens and enlarged chelicerae. Male chelicerae are greatly enlarged and armed with several large teeth. They also have a spur to hold the fangs of the female while mating. Most are found near water where they construct large orb webs at dusk each night. The orb web can be vertical to horizontal and often has an open hub. The spider can be found hanging in the middle of the web with legs outstretched. They may also rest on nearby plants with legs extended front and back in a straight line. The webs catch many flying insects, especially mosquitoes.

Three species have been collected, mostly from gardens.
Tetragnatha guatemalensis
Tetragnatha nitens
Tetragnatha versicolor

Although no tarantulas have been collected in the survey, there are several species commonly seen in the natural areas around Los Angeles. They are our largest spiders and are dark and hairy appearing. They are also among the longest lived spiders. Female can live for many years, possibly to 30 years. Males mature at about two years of age and usually die shortly after mating.

These spiders are nocturnal sit and wait predators. They sit at the opening of the burrow and pounce at passing prey. Females may spend their entire life within the burrow. Most tarantulas seen wandering are males searching for females to mate.

Cobweb weaver is the common name for this family. They spin a sticky tangled web often found in corners of porches and under eaves. They are also called Comb-footed spiders. The last segment of the fourth leg has a comb of serrated spines which the spider uses to comb out silk into sheets to wrap around prey captured in the web. Since these spiders have weak jaws, they use their very sticky web to capture prey and then rapidly wrap the insect in sheets of silk to secure it. Only then does the spider inject its venom. Insect exoskeletons are often found intact in the web after the spider has sucked the liquefied insides. Many of the cobweb weavers have a globular shaped abdomen and are usually found hanging upside down in their webs. The Black and Brown Widows are members of this family.

Genus: Latrodectus
The spiders in this genus are the venomous widows. They are the only dangerous spiders most people will encounter in the Los Angeles area. The largest of the Theridiids, they have the characteristic globular abdomen. They spin tangled webs in which they hang upside down. Several egg sacs may be suspended within the web.

Latrodectus hesperus - The Black Widow is the best known of all the Comb-footed Spiders. Large with a shiny black spherical abdomen and a red hourglass on the underside of the abdomen, the female cannot be confused with any other spider. As juveniles, the spiders are light colored, with white, yellow and black stripes. As the females mature, they gradually lose the coloration and become black. The males retain the juvenile coloration. Much smaller than the female, they are considered harmless. Once mature, they cease to spin a web. The rest of their life is spent searching for females to mate. Although the female Black Widow has a reputation for eating the male following mating, most males manage to escape unharmed. The widows are commonly found in undisturbed areas like garages, attics, and woodpiles. They are also found in local mountains where they commonly spin their webs in holes in trees and under rocky overhangs. The egg sac is a roundish brown papery case which can be seen hanging in the web often there are several egg sacs in the web. Usually not visible during the day, this nocturnal spider moves out into the center of its web at night. The western Black Widow is a native species.

Latrodectus geometricus – The Brown Widow has been intermittently reported in Southern California since the early 1900s, however, since 2002, it has established a breeding population and has spread throughout the Los Angeles basin. Often found on fences and under patio furniture, it seems to do well in more exposed locations than the Black Widow. The spider’s abdomen has a mottled geometric pattern which ranges from light to dark. The hourglass is more orange than red. The characteristic egg sac is round and cream colored and covered with spikes.

Genus: Steatoda
Spiders in this genus are very similar in appearance to the Black Widow. They are dark brown, often with a white band around the front of the abdomen. The abdomen is globular.

Steatoda grossa - The common name for this large spider is False Black Widow. It is similar to the Black Widows in shape, size and color, and is frequently mistaken for its dangerous relatives. The False Widow is dark purple brown rather than shiny black and usually has a white band around the front of the abdomen. It is considered harmless to people. An introduced species found worldwide, it is one of the most common spiders in the LA area and is usually found around houses. There are reports that the False Widow preys on the Black Widow.

Steatoda nobilis – Native to the Canary Islands, this spider was recently collected in Ventura County and is spreading throughout the Los Angeles area. It is found living in webs in the same habitats as the Brown Widow and False Black Widow. It can inflict a painful bite.

Parasteatoda tepidariorum – The Common House Spider is an introduced species found worldwide and is one of most common and numerous spiders in the area. It can be found under the eaves and window sills of most houses. Several egg sacs are usually suspended in the web with the female hanging upside down near them. The abdomen is variable, but usually light with chevron markings.

Genus: Tidarren
Spiders in this genus are very small, especially the male. The abdomen is higher than long, sometimes with a tubercle above the spinnerets. Females rest inside a curled leaf in their webs. Males amputate one of their palps before their final moult. Two species, Tidarren sisyphoides and Tidarren haemorrhoidale, have been collected in the LA basin.

Genus: Theridion
There are many species of similar appearance in this genus. These small spiders are found hanging upside down in their tangled webs. The webs are frequently found in cracks in walls and rock cliffs. Theridion melanurum, Theridion dilutum, and Theridion submissum have been collected throughout the Los Angeles area and in the local mountains. Theridion californicum, Theridion lawrencei, and Theridion punctipes/leechi have been collected only in local mountains.

There are numerous smaller species found in the area:
Asagena fulva
Cryptachaea blattea
Cryptachaea porter
Euryopis californica
Euryopis formosa


Generally, spider mites prefer the undersides of leaves, but in severe infestation will occur on both leaf surfaces as well as on the stems and fruits. They suck the sap of plant tissues. Infestations are most serious in hot and dry conditions. Because they multiply very fast they are able to destroy plants within a short period of time. Spider mites spin silk threads that anchor them and their eggs to the plant. The fine web produced by spider mites protects them from some of their enemies and even from pesticide applications.

The most destructive spider mite species in East Africa is the tobacco or tomato red spider mite ( Tetranychus evansi ). This mite is a very serious pest in tomato crops and other members of the Solanaceae family (tomato, potato, eggplant, tobacco and wild plants and weeds like black nightshade, bitter apple and wild gooseberry). This species originates from Brazil, South America and was accidentally introduced into Southern Africa during the 80's.

Since then this spider mite has slowly been moving northwards. Nowadays it is one of the major constraints into tomato production in Kenya, Mozambique, Malawi, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia. When left uncontrolled the farmer can loose his or her production within a week time.

The two spotted spider mite ( Tetranychus urticae ) and the carmine spider mite ( Tetranychus cinnabarinus ) cause yield loss on tomatoes only in exceptional cases such as: very hot and dry conditions, destruction of natural enemies, the presence of other highly infested crops in the near vicinity and insufficient water supply to the crop. For more information on this species refer to datasheet on tomato (click here).

Damage by spider mites on beans is most severe when mite feeding occurs early in the vegetative period. For more information refer to section on spider mites on datasheet of beans (click here).

Another important species is the cassava green mite ( Mononychellus tanajoa ), an important pest of cassava. This mite is green in colour at a young age turning yellowish as adult. It was accidentally introduced from South America and its rapid spread becoming one of the most important pests of cassava in Africa. For more information refer to datasheet on cassava (click here)

The cotton red mite ( Oligonychus gossypii ) is a widely distributed mite in Africa. It is commonly found on cassava, mainly during the dry season, but it is much less economically important than the cassava green mite. It also attacks cotton, citrus, peach, papaya, beans, okra, peanut, and ornamentals.

The coffee red mite ( Oligonychus coffeae ) may be a pest of unshaded coffee and tea in localised attacks during the dry season. They attack the upper surface of mature leaves. As a result the upper surface of fully hardened leaves turn rusty, purple or yellow brown colour . Under drought stress young leaves may also be attacked.

Host range

Spider mites have been recorded from a wide range of wild and cultivated plants - including beans, cassava, cotton, citrus, okra, tomato, papaya, potato, tobacco, strawberry various cucurbits and legumes.


First symptoms are usually clusters of yellow spots on the upper surface of leaves, which may also appear chlorotic . This gives the leaf a speckled or mottled appearance. Feeding by spider mites may lead to a change of leaf colour in some plants such as okra, cotton, coffee, tea and some ornamentals. Attacked leaves turn bronze, or rusty, purple or yellow brown colour . Spider mites and webbing are present on the lower leaf surface, which may appear tan or yellow and have a crusty texture.

Feeding by the cassava green mite leads to stunted and deformed cassava leaves. Severe attacks cause the terminal leaves to die and drop, and the shoot tip looks like a "candle stick".

Altering silkworm genes to cause addition of useful protein into silk production

Credit: ACS

A team of researchers with the RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies and the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, both in Japan, has found a way to alter silkworm genes to create silk with useful proteins. In their paper published in ACS Synthetic Biology, the group describes their technique and suggest possible uses for it.

For many years scientists have strived to improve on the already impressive attributes of silk—some would like to make it stronger, others to produce silk naturally in different colors, while others yet would like to include features such as antibiotic properties. Such efforts have not always been as fruitful as desired, however thus, research continues. In this new effort, the researchers sought to change the makeup of silk by causing the silkworm to produce and use unnatural proteins.

The researchers sought to induce silkworms to produce an amino acid called 4-azido-L-phenylalanine, which the worms would add to the silk they made. The researchers used tRNA synthetase to get their silk-producing organs to create azidophenylalanine and then to accept it as an added ingredient in silk production. They then used a bacterial screening system to weed out the cells that were not receptive to adding the protein as silk was spun. This was followed by the creation of four altered silkworm strains and adding the genes responsible for causing the creation of azidophenylalanine in only the parts of the worm involved in creating the materials for use in spinning silk—allowing it to make its way to other body parts could have led to undesired side-effects.

At this point, the team was ready to test their work by allowing the genetically modified worms to spin some silk. Testing of the silk showed that for two of the strains, more than 6 percent of the natural enzyme had been replaced by azidophenylalanine—proof that their technique had worked. The team then demonstrated that adding a protein such as azidophenylalanine could provide a positive function by conjugating the silk produced by the modified silkworms to fluorescent molecules through the use of click chemistry, which caused the cocoons to glow—one bright red, the other green.

The genetic code in bacteria and animal cells has been expanded to incorporate novel amino acids into proteins. Recent efforts have enabled genetic code expansion in nematodes, flies, and mice, whereas such engineering is rare with industrially useful animals. In the present study, we engineered the silkworm Bombyx mori to synthesize silk fiber functionalized with azidophenylalanine. For this purpose, we developed a bacterial system to screen for B. mori phenylalanyl-tRNA synthetases with altered amino-acid specificity. We created four transgenic B. mori lines expressing the selected synthetase variants in silk glands, and found that two of them supported the efficient in vivo incorporation of azidophenylalanine into silk fiber. The obtained silk was bio-orthogonally reactive with fluorescent molecules. The results showed that genetic code expansion in an industrial animal can be facilitated by prior bacterial selection, to accelerate the development of silk fiber with novel properties.

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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

How does the spider spin its self-assembled silk?

The addition of potassium phosphate causes the artificial MaSp2 proteins to condense into large high density droplets. Credit: Kyoto University/Numata Lab

Of all the exciting topics in the field of material and biochemical research, one of the hottest by far is unraveling the mysteries of spider silk.

Often claimed to be 'stronger than steel', the protein-based fibers have the potential to change the material world as we know it. However, despite decades of research, nobody has been able to mass produce spider silk, primarily because the exact method of how it's made is still shrouded in mystery.

In a step toward understanding its inner workings, researchers at Kyoto University's Graduate School of Engineering report on a new model for spider silk assembly, reporting that the key to spider silk 'spinning' is a combination of acidification and a process known as liquid-liquid phase separation, or LLPS.

"Spider silk is made of proteins called spidroin. The spider has a gland that is densely filled with spidroins in its liquid state called dope," explains Ali D Malay first author of the study, published in Science Advances.

"This liquid is rapidly converted into the tough and structurally complex silk. To investigate how exactly this is done we decided to go back to the drawing board and look at spidroins itself. So we developed artificial spidroins that closely mimic the ones found in nature."

Developing the protein was no easy task, but they landed on using a specific spidroin called MaSp2, one of the more common spider silk proteins, and that are water soluble.

Acidification triggers rapid self-assembly of MaSp2 nanofibrils Credit: Kyoto University/Numata Lab

After isolating their artificial spider silk protein, the team began observing its activity under different chemical conditions, intending to understand what key chemical changes are needed for the liquid phase to turn solid.

"We first saw the the protein gathering into small clusters. But when we added potassium phosphate it instantly began to condense into big high-density droplets," explains Malay. "This is a phenomenon known as liquid-liquid phase separation—it happens quite often in cells—and it's when liquid droplets change their size and density according to the surrounding environment."

But this was only one part of the puzzle. What does it take to make this liquid phase into the silk fibers we know so well? The key was pH. As the team lowered the pH of the solution, the globs began to fuse together, forming a fine network of fibers.

Both LLPS and fiber network formation happened so spontaneously that it was visible in real time. Moreover, when the fiber network was placed under mechanical stress it began to organize itself into a hierarchical structure just like spider silk.

"Spider silk often surpasses the most advanced manmade materials today, and making these synthetic fibers often rely on harmful organic solvents and high temperatures. What's incredible here is that we were able to form spider silk using water as solvent, and at ambient temperatures," concludes Keiji Numata who led the study.

"If we can learn to emulate the mechanisms of spider silk spinning, it could have a profound impact on the future of manufacturing."

Color shifts

Some of our most common spiders are extremely variable in color. A few spiders can actually change color to match the background. The “flower spider” group of crab spiders are the most famous of these here in Ohio. They get this name from their behavior of waiting in flowers, where they ambush visiting pollinators. For example, the whitebanded crab spiders (Misumenoides formosipes) in flowers sometimes match the color of their ambush site.

white banded crab spider (Misumenoides formosipes) waiting in ambush

white banded crab spider (Misumenoides formosipes) waiting in ambush

white banded crab spider (Misumenoides formosipes) with a bee fly prey

In a study of the influence of color on movement between flowers, and success at capturing prey, Alissa Anderson and Gary Dodson demonstrated that crab spiders which matched their background did capture more prey.

By the way, just in case you were wondering, the white band in the name “whitebanded crab spider” refers to the light-colored ridge (carina) that runs across the face below the eyes. The carina is the best way to tell this spider from our other common color-shifter, the goldenrod crab spider (Misumena vatia). The goldenrod crab spider shown below has adopted white coloration to blend in (quite well) well with the queen Anne’s lace in this view.

goldenrod crab spider (Misumena vatia) waiting in ambush on flowerhead of Queen Anne’s Lace

Other spiders have discrete “color forms” where there is discontinuous variation in color from one form to another. One example of this type of color variation is the triangulate orbweaver (Verrucosa arenata). In this species the cephalothorax, legs, and most of the abdomen are either red, or black. On the abdomen there is a bright triangle-shaped mark that is either white or yellow. Individuals of this spider come in many combinations of these colors.

triangulate orbweaver (Verrucosa arenata) black&white color form

triangulate orbweaver (Verrucosa arenata) black&yellow color form

triangulate orbweaver (Verrucosa arenata) red&white color form

triangulate orbweaver (Verrucosa arenata) red&yellow color form

Other spiders seem to have more continuous variation in color. One candidate for the most common spider in the world is the aptly named “common house spider” (Parasteatoda tepidariorum). This cosmopolitan spider can be found around buildings nearly everywhere. It was just as common outside my office at the University of Sydney in Australia during the 1980’s as it is around the Ohio State University. Here in Ohio, the cephalothorax and legs are usually a deep brown, sometimes reddish brown. The abdomen has a variegated pattern with a base-color that may be pale tan or yellow, or very dark, nearly black.

common house spider (Parasteatoda tepidariorum) dark female

common house spider (Parasteatoda tepidariorum) pale female

Some individuals have a more red-orange tinge to their dark markings. The brown teardrop-shaped egg cases of these spiders are often found in the webs of adult females.

common house spider (Parasteatoda tepidariorum) with her egg case

We have many of these spiders on the walls of our house in central Ohio. They capture a wide variety of prey. On July 27 th 2014 I photographed this female who had just captured a harvestman (aka daddy-long-legs). Note that she has only one egg case in this photo (one with a distinct pointed end).

common house spider with harvestman prey

Evidently it was a good meal, because by the next day she had two egg cases, having constructed a second one overnight. Amy noticed that she had captured one of the bright green stink bugs that are common in our yard. Here are two of Amy’s photos of her with this prey item.

common house spider capturing green stink bug

common house spider with green stink bug prey

After eating this green bug, she made a remarkable color change. She had evidently absorbed enough of the green pigment from her prey to tint her abdomen green. These photos were taken the very next day.

common house spider with remains of green stink bug prey

Notice that that green stink bug is only a pale lime shadow of its former self… but ms spider has definitely gained some color! (below)

common house spider with green abdomen after eating green stink bug

common house spider with green abdomen after eating green stink bug

This diet-related color change has been noticed by many spider workers. Back in 1989 Rosemary Gillespie also demonstrated that diet had a profound effect on the color of the famous “Happy Face” spider of Hawaii. She published a study of this phenomenon in the Journal of Arachnology. You can read this paper here.

In 1998 Theodore Evans and Patrick Gleeson published a paper on a method of exploiting this by feeding dyed termites to captive spiders. The termites were fed paper stained with non-toxic stains. The color was transferred to the spiders when they ate the termites. They used this technique to “mark” the long-bodied cellar spiders (Pholcus phalangioides) with distinctive colors.

Rick Vetter has pointed out in his recent book The Brown Recluse Spider that the abdominal coloration of brown recluse (Loxosceles reclusa) can change dramatically after meals of heavily pigmented prey. In the pictures below, the left photo is what the spider looked like after eating crickets. The photo on the right shows how the same spider appeared after eating two house flies.

Reprinted from The Brown Recluse Spider, by Richard S. Vetter. Copyright © 2015 by Cornell University. Used by permission of the author, Richard S. Vetter. All rights reserved.

Rick’s book describes the biology of the brown recluse and its relatives. He carefully separates myth from reality, and provides useful information about this most notorious American spider. It can be purchased here.

These examples of diet-influenced color change are most obvious in spiders with pale or generally lightly-pigmented abdomens. Often the cephalothorax and legs remain the same because they have a thicker, opaque exoskeleton.

So the moral of this little story is that sometimes “you are what you eat”, or at least you might look like it.

Evans, T.A. and P.V. Gleeson. 1998. A new method of marking spiders. The Journal of Arachnology, 26: 382-384.

Vetter, R. 2015. The Brown Recluse Spider. Cornell Univ. Press, Ithaca. 186p.


Color shifts — 9 Comments

Nice post, Rich! I’ll add that sclerotized parts tend to continually darken with age as the tanning process continues, so older individuals are often darker than younger ones. This can change the appearance of epigyna drastically. One more challenge to identifying spiders!

My daughter was in the tub & picked up a spider. [email protected] abdomen was translucent. I got it out of he tub & put it in the toilet. It’s abdomen went from water color to brown as i watched. It was like a quick flick & it was brown to match it’s upper body. It was a skinny spider. What might it be?

A very interesting story, but I have no clue what species might have been involved.

I love in northeastern Oklahoma. My garage and house on the lake were full of what I called spindly-legged spiders. Healthy ones were completely black in color, with the largest having a body of about 1/2″. Sickly (starving?) spiders or dead ones are a pale straw color. They do not spin webs, though egg sacs are attached to objects in such a way that they look more like bird droppings than egg sacs. The sacs are not round. Example: after moving, I unboxed a doll that had a white patch on its cheek. The “white patch” was a sac that had been deposited in dolly’s cheek dimple and then webbed over.

I”m so sorry that this reply to your comment is extremely late. I’ve been sidetracked for the past few months (as many of us have). Your description of the “spindly-legged spiders” is interesting. Any chance you are referring to harvestman, also known as daddy-long-legs? They don’t spin silk for hunting and often cluster in large groups in structures near bodies of water. They are actually relatives of spiders, but not actually spiders. They are akin to spiders in the same way as scorpions, being a different type of arachnid.

Greeting from Hampshire County, West Virginia. This past week, 19 October 2020, my wife asked me to remove a spider from her washing line. On touching the spider the top side changed dramatically from a dark black and yellow, to a white silver. I have since seen and photographed two of these next to the pool, but they don’t appear to demonstrate the same color-change phenomena. They are clearly orb weaver spiders.

Rapid color change is not very common in orb weaving spiders, but it has been noted. I’ve seen it in a species called Gea heptagon. I’ve never noticed such a rapid change in Araneus marmoreus. Your description sounds like it might not be the marbled orbweaver, but rather one of the Argiope aurantia (black-and-yellow garden spider) or Argiope trifasciata (banded garden spider). The lighting and angle-of-view can make them look dramatically different in color. Yours is a very interesting observation.