Monday, April 6, 2009

Garden Spider

These lovely spiders are commonly called Black & Yellow Garden Spiders. They belong to the family of Orb Weavers (Araneidae). This one is in the Genus Argiope, and are sometimes called Argiope Weavers.These are very common in Missouri, hanging out in our gardens. Each year I have several that build their intricate webs in various places in my yard. Their webs are unmistakable, they feature a unique "Zig-Zag" pattern. This zig-zag is called a stadiliamenta, and you will find the female resting upside down on top of the zig-zag. I am always pleased to see them, not only for the insect control they provide, but for their gorgeous coloring. The much smaller and more drably colored male will approach a female with which he is wants to mate. In order to determine if she is receptive of his attentions he will tap out an elaborate little dance on the strings of the web. If she approves of his dance steps she will allow mating to occur, if not he may become dinner. After mating, the female will create an egg sac to house her eggs in. It will contain numerous young spiderlings. This sac will overwinter in a corner of the web near vegetation. In late spring the young will hatch and after their first molt they will diperse to other places. Sometimes the young spiderlings will lose a leg during the molting process. Should this occur they will generate a new leg at the next molt. Even though they are boldly colored they are considered harmless to human. They do have venom just like all spiders, but it is not known to be toxic. If handled inappropriately they would probably bite. Pictured:The 1st picture is of a female using her coloring to her advantage, as you can see even though they are brightly colored it still aids in their ability to camouflage themselves. 2nd picture is the much smaller male. The 3rd picture is a large female wrapping up a small butterfly in a silken cocoon to consume later. The 4th picture is the same large female in the signature pose, hanging out upside down in their web. Look for these wonderful spiders mid-summer in your flower beds and gardens. Be thankful they are there performing a great service.


  1. I love the Argiope orb weavers. I had a Banded Argiope two years in a row. The first year I saw her she had built her web in my tomato plants! Being the kind that doesn't like to disturb nature, I spent the summer/fall harvesting tomatoes awkwardly.

  2. LOL, these beauties are intimidating. I admit to having trepidations when I am near them. I am still fascinated by them though. They are so pretty. I am gradually overcoming my fear of spiders. I even bought a tarantula, but that turned into a disaster. It is loose in the house now after escaping its container! Horror of horrors. I just know that thing is going to get big and hairy and end up in my bed!

  3. Some years we find a female garden spider around our house, some years we don't see any at all. Unless maybe we only have males sometimes and don't recognize them. When we have them they are always in the same area too - in the front of our house, which isn't where most of our garden is. But it does get morning light.

    Any ideas on how to attract more to our house? I love them so much! I miss them in years that we don't have them.


  4. Not sure how you would attract more of them except by maybe planting more plants that attract the insects that the spider feeds on. They seem to prefer areas with some shelter. I have several each year. One builds her web on the backside of the house near the down spout, low to the ground and hidden in some tall grasses. One builds near a huge Mulberry Tree, again somewhat hidden. Each time I've seen them I am so thankful they are there. So pretty and great bug control.

  5. What great spiders! I found your blog when searching for blogs about the Silver Argiope. I will be back to visit often!