Can Anyone Identify this Spider?

It has taken up residence next to my office, in a large web stretched between the office and a nearby tree. I rather like it, and will allow it residence as long as it wishes.

In my younger days I collected spiders and was fairly good at identifying them, but my younger days are long past and I don’t have any of my books. I tried some online options but wasn’t able to come up with anything.

So if I have any readers who do that sort of thing, I’d really like some help. The picture below is about half size. Click on it to see the full size spider. The web is not portrayed well due to bad lighting, but it is circular and symmetrical.

Unidentified Spider, near Pensacola, FL
Unidentified Spider, near Pensacola, FL

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  1. This is one of the Orb Weavers. That’s as far as I can go right now.

  2. Well, maybe one step closer. It could be this or a close relative in this genus:

  3. terri says:

    That’s a golden orb spider. They are huge and widely proliferated throughout Florida. They especially like to build webs overhead in tree canopies. I have had the extreme displeasure of hiking in Florida trails with hundreds of these things overhead…just levitating in the middle of their transparent webs waiting to pounce on my unsuspecting head.

    OK….maybe they wouldn’t pounce on me……but for someone like me who would rather not even know that spiders as large as my hand exist and are nearby… sure seems like they’re ready to pounce.

  4. John says:

    That is, indeed, a golden orb weaver (a female, I believe). I found one near me that I have photos of, and I have a friend who has a nest of three of them in her backyard. They are truly beautiful creatures, and quite large, as spiders go. It may be little comfort to an arachnophobe, but golden orb weavers are largely non-aggressive, and their bite is no more painful or dangerous than a bee sting.

    1. Not being an arachnophobe, I’m quite happy to have her living next to my office. She’s still there, in fact. (I’m assuming we’re right that this is a female.) But it appears to me that there are a number of species that are called golden orb weavers … or am I missing something?

  5. Since you now know the answer I’ll just say “beautiful.”

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