Hentz Orb-Weaver

This immense nope of a spider, about two inches in diameter and very peeved to be disturbed, was encountered strung, at face-height, across a walking path at the Oakland Nature Preserve in Florida.

I originally abandoned Neoscona crucifera (the Hentz orb-weaver) as a possible identification, since Wikipedia says they only get to be an inch long, but the UFL web site points out that “Florida specimens are in the upper part of the size range, making them one of the largest orb-weaving spiders in the state.” (This is the photo I’m referencing for ID. If someone has a different identification, please let me know.)

This is a male. Females are bigger.

This species is theoretically harmless to humans, as are most spiders, but I wasn’t about to argue the point with him. (Honestly, he’s gorgeous, and I did not bother or move him. Face-height, however, was a very notable place to find such a large spider, and for this reason he is large in my memory.)

For comparison, here’s a younger, smaller female, but seen much closer up:

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