Many people refer to all orb weaver spiders as “Cat-faced Spiders” or “Barn Spiders”…but we believe this species is THE actual Cat-faced Spider, also called the Plains Orbweaver or Jewel Spider. Their identifying characteristic is visible in the first photo, a fine white line crossed by two shallow white Vs on the front abdomen. Orb weaver females are massive at this time of year (hard not to notice). We will be able to enjoy them, and their eye-catching webs, until we get our first hard freezes of the season. Then it’s up to the egg sac she left behind to usher in the next generation in the spring.
Size: Females 13 to 25 mm, males 5.4 to 7.9 mm
Photos by: Brandon Wasser on 9/8/21; first and second photo in Clinton, MT; third photo in Missoula, MT