Spiny orb-weaver

I spotted this gorgeous spider on my walk in the Experimental Forest with Charlie on Friday. bugguide tells me it’s a spiny orb-weaver, from the genusĀ Gasteracantha. Orb-weavers are spiders responsible for building large flat webs, usually with radii (the spokes of the web) of unsticky silk and the lines that go around in a spiral in sticky silk. The spider moves around the web on the unsticky silk only so it doesn’t get stuck in it’s own web. I’ve spotted a number of similar looking spiders, a few of them on plants attacking plant-eaters. I especially like this one because it kind of looks like a skull.