|Male Marbled Orb Weaver Spider - Araneus marmoreus|
Orb Weaver Spiders - Family Araneidae
Live male and female spiders photographed at northern Illinois. Size = Female 15mm. Male = 8mm
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The lattice orbweaver looks much the same as the marbled orb weaver. Its common name comes from the unique structure of its retreat web, spun separately from the normal orb capture web. The species' author, Nicholas Marcellus Hentz (1797-1856), wrote "Its dwelling place is really beautiful, placed above its web, and made of the finest white silk.. its shape is that of an inverted thimble and is usually placed under a leaf bent together for the purpose of shelter and security." 
Hentz named the species in honor of his close friend, Dr. Thaddeus William Harris, a noted American naturalist and entomologist.
Harris practiced as a physician at Milton Hill, Massachusetts until the 1830's, when he followed his father's footsteps and became the Librarian at Harvard. In 1831, he was appointed a commissioner for a botanical and zoological survey of Massachusetts, and he would produce a catalog of the insects in that state, listing an astonishing 2,350 different species [3,4].
Dr. Harris once said, "There is as much to be discovered and to astonish in magnifying an insect as a star."
Class Arachnida / Order Araneae: Spiders are the largest group of arachnids. They are easily recognized by their eight legs, and there are few creatures great or small that elicit such irrational fear in mankind. The vast majority of spiders are completely harmless and offer beneficial services, chief of which is keeping the burgeoning insect population in check. I am continually amazed at the resourcefulness of these supremely successful predators.
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