A few weeks ago I walked through my friends porch and destroyed this large round spider web. Later that night the creator of the web came out and we found it was a beautiful large orange spider that we have never seen before.
I have since discovered that it’s a Araneus Gemmoides also called a Monkey-face, Cat-face or Jewel Spider. The Royal Albert Museum has the best description of them:
As previously mentioned, this spider has adapted to building its webs on or near houses. It is therefore most often found in urban centres, although farm houses will often have a population. These spiders thrive when the web is built near a light. When the light is turned on at night, it attracts a large number of insects that become potential food for the spider. In this situation the spider may have an abundance of food and may get all it needs in the early part of the night. As a result the web is often in tatters by morning. The spider will rest during the day in a retreat, often under the eaves, and only come out to repair or replace the web in the evening.
This is exactly where this spider sits, under a porch near the porch light. It comes out at night and sits in the middle of it’s web. Some might see this large creature and want to destroy it but we will be very careful not to disturb it.