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Large red/orange spider with black spot

I just walked out my back door tonight and was met with a tall spider web that stretched over six feet tall from ground? to the branch(es) of a silver maple tree. The central part of the web is over a foot in diameter, and in the center is a large orangish red spider, about an inch long, not including the legs, with a black spot on its ?abdomen? the second section where the spinerets are. As I looked at it, it seemed to begin to crouch, almost as if bracing to leap. There is a similar web between two branches of my Dogwood out front, but it did not have a spider in it. And from my pool fence to some branch of a tree above it, over 12 feet up, there is a significantly noticable strand.

I'm new to North Carolina, and am not used to so much insect life (from Chicago).

What kind of spider? Do I need to worry. Where it is located, we may/will run into the web eventually. What preys on spiders?

Cool spiders!
Orb Weavers are so cool! I've had several take up residence on my porch over the years. I have seen them take up that "crouching" pose you mentioned- but I don't believe it has any desire to leap onto you. I think it's a defensive posture. They are actually quite shy. (But don't touch! All spiders can and will bite if they are threatened!)

Mine have always spun their webs in the early evening- around sundown. Take a break from your hectic day and spend a while observing them constructing their web. It is truly amazing. The silk is so strong, and the spiders can easily tackle prey bigger than themselves. Take a moment and appreciate their colors and their incredible skill!

Orb Weaver
Many of them meet your description. They are not dangerous and are very effective for getting rid of small flying insects. See images of orb weavers here.

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