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Spider found in Louisiana, worried its brown widow?? - Neoscona crucifera

Spider found in Louisiana, worried its brown widow?? - Neoscona crucifera
Fort Polk, Louisiana Parish, Louisiana, USA
November 1, 2009
I found this spider in a web on our back porch around dusk today. It seemed to be very teritorail of its web. I knocked it down with a broom, and if fell to the ground of the first floor, about an hour later it was back at its web. Starting closest to the body and then going out was red, then light yellow, then back. Im just curious to know what kind of spider it is because I have seen more then one on my back porch, and I know that down here in Louisiana, you have to watch out for black and brown widow spiders.

Moved tentatively
Moved from Spotted Orbweavers. This is our best guess based on dorsal pattern. However, keep in mind that these can cross breed and your spider has some of the features of N. domiciliorum.

Moved from ID Request.

Don't worry
This is an Orb Weaver from the family Araneidae. It looks like a species of Neoscona. It is completely harmless. The worst thing it could do would be to build a huge web and have a human accidentally walk through it. :)

Here is a comparison:
Left: Neoscona sp., right: Latrodectus geometricus

You can click these photos to enlarge.

If you don't read any further info about the widow spider, just remember that they aren't noticeably hairy, whereas the orb weavers are. (That's of course only one of their differences.)

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