Try Our Luffa Soaps!

A Black and Yellow Garden Spider Lives on our Front Deck

Me and my ole man, (a term of endearment for a fiance, boyfriend or husband), were sitting on the porch one evening and I noticed a spider in its web.
Shocked and amazed I wanted pictures. I want to know what type of Spider this beautiful creature is.
My ole man thought I wanted to kill it. Now why would he think a thing like that? ūüėą¬†
Nah, I only kill creatures of they are a real threat to me. With that being said, I needed to know who she was.
I posted her in done of my insect identification groups on Facebook and found out a lot!
"It's a GARDEN SPIDER!"¬†Theysay in the group, "and she's a beauty and a gift to have around!" ūüéĀ
Ok! Let's find out more!
The spider species Argiope aurantia is commonly known as the yellow garden spider, black and yellow garden spider, golden garden spider, writing spider, zigzag spider, zipper spider, corn spider, Steeler spider, or McKinley spider.
Talk about a lot of names!
Well, she's been here spinning her web for more than a week now. I need to know more!
Yellow garden spiders often build webs in areas adjacent to open sunny fields where they stay concealed and protected from the wind. The spider can also be found along the eaves of houses and outbuildings or in any tall vegetation where they can securely stretch a web.
She's stretching her web just around the bend of the porch rails.

Female Argiope aurantia spiders tend to be somewhat local, often staying in one place throughout much of their lifetime.

The web of the yellow garden spider is distinctive: a circular shape up to 2 feet (60 cm) in diameter, with a dense zigzag of silk, known as a stabilimentum, in the center.
To ensure that the web is taut, the spider bends the radial lines slightly together while applying the silk spiral. The female builds a substantially larger web than the male's small zigzag web, often found nearby. The spider occupies the center of the web, usually facing straight down, waiting for prey to become ensnared in it. If disturbed by a possible predator, she may drop from the web and hide on the ground nearby. The web normally remains in one location for the entire summer, but spiders can change locations usually early in the season, perhaps to find better protection or better hunting.
I find her web to be a work of art and I can see why they call her a 'writing spider.'
The yellow garden spider can oscillate her web vigorously while she remains firmly attached in the center.
This action might prevent predators like wasps and birds from drawing a good bead, and also to fully entangle an insect before it cuts itself loose.
However, in a case observed in Georgia, Davis witnessed a Vespa crabro fly into the spider's web and get tangled up. Upon looking closer it was found that V. crabro was actually cutting free prey that had been caught in the aurantia web.
In this case, A. aurantia did not interfere or fight with the European hornet, probably because it dropped from the web and hid nearby.

In a nightly ritual, the spider consumes the circular interior part of the web and then rebuilds it each morning with fresh new silk. I find this absolutely amazing. Such a working spider!
The radial framework and anchoring lines are not usually replaced when the spider rebuilds the web. The spider may be recycling the chemicals used in web building. Additionally, the fine threads that she consumes appear to have tiny particles of what may be minuscule insects and organic matter that may contain nutrition.
Argiope spiders are not aggressive. They might bite if grabbed, but other than for defense they do not attack large animals. Their venom often contains a library of polyamine toxins with potential as therapeutic medicinal agents. Notable among these is the argiotoxin 

A bite by Argiope aurantia is comparable to a bee sting with redness and swelling. For a healthy adult, a bite is not considered an issue. Though they are not aggressive spiders, the very young, elderly, and those with compromised immune systems should exercise caution, just as they would around a beehive or a hornet nest.
Yellow garden spiders breed twice a year. The males roam in search of a female, building a small web near or actually in the female's web, then court the females by plucking strands on her web. With that being said, I wonder if we'll see a male coming to cotcourt this female? Stay tuned!
Often, when the male approaches the female, he has a safety drop line ready, in case she attacks him. The male uses the palpal bulbs on his pedipalps to transfer sperm to the female. After inserting the second palpal bulb, the male dies, and is sometimes then eaten by the female.
Poor thing! Just like the male preying mantis, this malegarden spider must die after mating. It's sad, but that's nature! ūüė£ūüĆ≤

The female lays her eggs at night on a sheet of silky material, then covers them with another layer of silk, then a protective brownish silk. She then uses her legs to form the sheet into a ball with an upturned neck. Egg sacs range from 5/8" to 1" in diameter. She often suspends the egg sac right on her web, near the center where she spends most of her time. Each spider produces from one to four sacs with perhaps over a thousand eggs inside each. She guards the eggs against predation as long as she is able. However, as the weather cools, she becomes more frail, and dies around the time of the first hard frost.
I'm pretty sure that a male will come and they will mate! This spring ought to be very interesting!
Stay tuned for updates! Share this blog, favorite it and leave your comments below! 

In the spring, the young spiders exit the sac. They are so tiny that they look like dust gathered inside the silk mesh. Some of the spiderlings remain nearby, but others exude a strand of silk that gets caught by the breeze, carrying the spiderling to a more distant area.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published