Orb Weaver Spider - Mangora placida
Live adult spiders photographed in the wild at Warrenville, Illinois. Size - 7mm.   Family Araneidae
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Orb Weaver Spider - Mangora placida
These small orb weavers seem to spend much of their time hunting in flowers. I've actually never seen one associated with an orb, but I must be missing something. Their small size makes them easy to overlook, and presents a challenge to the macro photographer. I'm not entirely happy with these shots and need a return engagement.

Orb Weaver Spider - Mangora placida lateral view

Orb weavers (Family Araneidae) comprise a huge family of spiders, of which there are several hundred species in North America. These spiders vary greatly in color, shape and size, measuring between 2 - 30mm (1/16 -- 1 1/4") long. They have eight eyes arranged in two horizontal rows of four eyes each. The males are generally much smaller than the females and commonly lack the showy coloring of their fairer sex. They often spin their own smaller orb web near an outlying portion of the female's, and I've noticed most males give the females wide berth. Indeed, I rarely see male orb weavers, they are so reclusive.

Most orb weavers spin spiraling webs on support lines that radiate outward from the center; the plane of the web may be vertical or horizontal or somewhere in between. Many of this family replace the entire web daily, spinning a new web in the early evening (this usually takes about an hour) and deconstructing the web each morning in a ritual almost as complex as the spinning process: they gather the silk into a ball and eat it for reprocessing. Our page on the Neoscona orb weaver has a series of pictures showing this process.

Orb Weaver Spider - Mangora placida

Wondering how to get that bug identified? Please see the kind folks at Bugguide.net. (North America)
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