Thursday, July 24, 2008

Black & Yellow Argiope (Argiope aurantia)

Black & Yellow Argiope (Argiope aurantia)

Probably the most common orb-shaped web spider in North America. Other common names include Yellow Garden Spider, Golden Orb-weaver, Yellow Garden Orbweaver and Writing Spider. A. aurantia range throughout most of temperate NA, south through Mexico and into Costa Rica. The black and yellow color pattern can vary considerably between individuals.

Like most orbweavers, these spiders first appear and begin constructing webs in the spring. However, they are often not noticed until fall when they and their webs are much larger and conspicuous. The Argiopes you see are almost always females. They are considerably larger than males. Males spend most of their lives wandering in search of a receptive female and spend little time on the web once she is found. If they are fortunate enough to escape becoming a post-mating protein supplement for the female, they die shortly after breeding anyway.

These orbweavers almost always construct a conspicuous white zigzag pattern (stabilimentum) into their webs. It is a distinctive characteristic of this species. Juveniles often enlarge the zigzag into something of an oval. Some believe this helps camouflage the young spider. You sometimes see the web of Argiopes vibrating rapidly back and forth. It doesn't look as if the spider is causing the vibration, but she is. She uses the vibration to check for prey in her web.

BugGuide links:
Family Araneidae
Genus Argiope
Species Argiope aurantia



laughingwolf said...

i'm a huge spider fan, thx marvin! :)

AphotoAday said...

That zig-zag patterned web is just totally weird...   Wonder how they thought that up...   In a future post, I fully expect you to show us how spiders invented the wheel or something...

Texas Travelers said...

Love the Garden Spider.
Really nice photo and great information.

Thanks for the visit, and you're right about alligators and macros.


Louise said...

These are my very favorite spiders. We don't have them in New Mexico, but I remember summers in Missouri when there would 20-25 webs all around the house, yard and garden. And I will admit to spending afternoons catching grasshoppers to put in their webs. I love to watch them twirl them up! Maybe that was mean, but my brother was incinerating the grasshoppers using his magnifying glass and the sun, so at least it was a little less painful my way!

But I never knew the real name of these beautiful creatures! Thanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

That writing spider sure had a lot to say.

Anonymous said...

OMG - I'm glad to learn I wasn't the only kid that went through the 'magnifying glass' phase. Of course, I also loved throwing bugs into webs, too.

Beautiful photo, Marvin.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

We usually have a couple of these big spiders in our garden every summer. Your spider is quite the seamstress. Ours usually has just one or so zig zag stitches in it.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

We have the Golden Orb spider here Marvin and they are beautiful spiders. Wonderful information with this post. Thank you.

Lana Gramlich said...

In my first encounter with these impressive spiders I almost walked face-first right into a web. Thankfully my husband saw it & grabbed my arm! I don't mind bugs (regardless of my allergies,) so long as they're not on my FACE.

Anonymous said...

Nice photograph. We have these here too. Saw one yesterday around the tomatoes.

Have a nice weekend,

Abraham Lincoln
—Brookville Daily Photo

smilnsigh said...

I don't think I've ever seen a web like this......

It's a marvelous photo in all too. But.. spooky. -brrrrr- ,-)

Miss Mari-Nanci
When Twilight Embraces

smilnsigh said...

Are you sure its web isn't vibrating, because of 'something else'?


Miss Mari-Nanci
When Twilight Embraces

Pat - Arkansas said...

Orb spiders are the only spiders I can/will tolerate -- and I don't really understand why. Maybe I was brainwashed by "Charlotte's Web." I wouldn't like to walk into one of their webs, but will try to protect a web if I find one. Lovely photo, Marvin.

Bevson said...

I haven't seen one of these all year on my patch. bummer. Use to have them. Great shot!

Birdy Official said...

Marvin you have an excellent shot of black & yellow argiope spider. Your way of description is also unique and interesting.