Please identify this spider.
Thank you for your question. It is often difficult to identify a spider based solely on a photograph, because a positive identification usually depends on noting features, like number and placement of eyes for example, that have to be observed under a dissecting or higher power microscope.
I believe the spider in your photograph is Neoscona domiciliorum. It is commonly referred to as the spotted forest orbweaver or the redfemured spotted orbweaver. I'm basing my identification on the your spiders red femurs followed by the light and dark banding on the lower legs and the pattern I can make out on the abdomen. I also forwarded your photographs to Dr. Richard Bradley, the author of Common Spiders of North America to get his opinion. He stated the same caveat at the beginning of this paragraph, but agreed with my identification.
This species is found in the eastern United States and is most abundant in the southeast. In the Carolinas, it is most often seen in the coastal plain, but it is common in the piedmont and mountain regions as well. It is usually found in open woods and in areas populated with a variety of shrubs. It also often constructs its web on structures, such as fences, in the yards of homes.
This species is primarily nocturnal and constructs a place to hide during the day by folding over a leaf and concealing itself inside. The hiding place is usually in close proximity to its web.
Here are a couple of excellent guides to spiders, if you're interested in learning more about the species in North Carolina:
Gaddy, L.L. (2009). Spiders of the Carolinas. Duluth: Kollath+Stensaas Publishing.
Bradley, Richard A. (2013). Common Spiders of North America. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Hope this information answers your question, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.