Saw this beauty and just had to know what it was. It loves to make a web between our pool equipment and a nearby bush - not the best of locations for a lasting web. Do you know too if they re-use the web or do they make a new one daily? I try not to disturb the web if I don't have to but it gets tricky to maneuver sometimes. I took both overhead and underside photos and had to use a pink background for one. In some photos you can see the legs look particularly "hairy" and jointed. It was probably about the size of my thumb and we live in So. California. Thanks!
This is a female orb-weaving spider (family Araneidae) in the genus Araneus. There are at least 12 species in this genus reported from California; several of these have roughly similar color patterns and a positive i.d. may require dissection and examination under a microscope. See http://www.pbase.com/tmurray74/orb_weavers_genus_araneus for some examples.
Thanks suunto for the orb link. Someone else said it might be a potato spider. Is that an orb spider sub-set or a whole other group? Also, anyone know how long they use their webs? Are they daily weavers?
Some (but not all) orb-weaving spiders will 'recycle' their web; eating the remains of the old web before spinning a new one, often on a daily basis. I have no idea as to the specific identity of the orb weaver called a 'potato spider (see http://www.flowers.vg/flowers/spider-potato.htm); just for the record, the orange morph of Araneus trifolium sometimes is called a pumpkin spider.