Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia)

Likely one of the most recognizable spiders in North America, the Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia) is a familiar inhabitant around houses, buildings and field edges. Its large size and strikingly patterned abdomen is unmistakable. Females, like the one above, can grow to 28mm, more than three times the size of the male. Also, their habit of creating a thick zigzag design of silk in the center of the web is a distinct characteristic of this species. These web decorations are known as stabilimenta. There are several theories of the purpose behind this type of behavior. Some of these include camouflage, prey attraction and predator defense. This spider's venom is not harmful to humans and bites are rare. If the spider is harassed or grabbed it may defend itself by biting intruders. As long as the spider is left alone it poses no threat and can be easily observed from a safe distance. Appreciate the opportunity to study such an interesting creature, in many cases, very close to home.

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