Spiny Orb-Weaver is a group of spiders most easily identified by a large abdomen covered in spikes.
The photo above is easily one of my favorites taken with my macro lens. I haven’t been able to identify the exact specimen I have here with a common name, but it is definitely a Micrathena gracilis.
I was walking the confusing trails at Idylwild Wildlife Management Area and I almost walked right into this guy. It was suspended on its own web in the middle of the pathway. It had spun a line that stretched from one bush to another it “trip line” fashion right across the path. Different orb-weavers can spin some incredible designs, but this was more of a trap line that was looking to ensnare traffic that came along the path.
The abdomen is really crazy. I thought this spider was hauling an egg sack around, until I got home and looked up a few orb weavers online and found the spiny species.