Black and Yellow Garden Spider, Aurantia argiope

Black and Yellow Garden Spider, Aurantia Argiope

  • B.A., Political Science, Rutgers University

Black and yellow garden spiders go largely unnoticed for much of the year, as they gradually molt and grow to maturity. But in the fall, these spiders are big, bold, and build enormous webs that tend to attract people’s attention. There’s no need to fear the black and yellow garden spider, scary as it may seem. These beneficial arachnids will only bite under extreme duress, and provide valuable pest control services that warrant leaving them be.


The black and yellow garden spider, Aurantia Argiope, is a common resident of gardens and parks in North America. It belongs to the orbweaver family of spiders and builds huge webs that span several feet in width. The black and yellow garden spider is sometimes called the writing spider, due to the elaborate web decorations it weaves with silk. Mature females usually weave a zigzag pattern in the center of their webs, while immature yellow garden spiders tend to fill the centers of their webs with heavy silk patterns to camouflage themselves from predators.

Female black and yellow garden spiders can reach an impressive 1-1/8″ (28 mm) in length, not including their long legs. Males are considerably smaller at only ¼» (8 mm) long. Aurantia Argiope spiders bear distinctive black and yellow markings on the abdomen, although individuals can vary in color and shading. The yellow garden spider’s carapace is lined with silvery hairs, and the legs are black with varied bands of red, orange, or even yellow.


Kingdom — Animalia
Phylum — Arthropoda
Class — Arachnida
Order – Araneae
Family – Araneidae
Genus — Aurantia
Species — Argiope

Spiders are carnivorous creatures, and the black and yellow garden spider is no exception. Aurantia Argiope usually rests on her web, facing head down, waiting for a flying insect to become ensnared in the sticky silk threads. She then rushes forward to secure the meal. A black and yellow garden spider will eat anything that has the misfortune to land in her web, from flies to honey bees.

Life Cycle:

Male spiders wander in search of mates. When a male black and yellow garden spider finds a female, he builds his own web near (or sometimes in) the female’s web. The Aurantia Argiope male courts a mate by vibrating threads of silk to attract the female’s attention.

After mating, the female produces 1-3 brown, papery egg sacs, each filled with up to 1,400 eggs, and secures them to her web. In cold climates, the spiderlings hatch from the eggs before winter but remain dormant within the egg sac until spring. The spiderlings look like tiny versions of their parents.

Special Behaviors and Defenses:

Although the black and yellow garden spider may seem large and menacing to us, this spider is actually quite vulnerable to predators. Aurantia Argiope ​doesn’t have strong eyesight, so she relies on her ability to sense vibrations and changes in air currents to detect possible threats. When she senses a potential predator, she may vibrate her web vigorously in an attempt to appear larger. If that doesn’t repel the intruder, she may drop from her web to the ground below and hide.


Aurantia Argiope resides in gardens, meadows, and fields, anywhere it can find vegetation or structures on which to build its web. The yellow and black garden spider prefers sunny locations.


Black and yellow garden spiders live in temperate regions of North America, from southern Canada to Mexico and even Costa Rica.

Other Common Names:

Black and yellow Argiope, yellow garden spider, yellow garden orbweaver, golden orbweaver, golden garden spider, writing spider, zipper spider.

Yellow Garden Spider

Yellow Garden Spider

Status: Not Listed

Yellow garden spiders are large, orb-weaving arachnids, meaning they spin a circular web. Most spiders have two claws on each foot, but orb weavers have an additional claw to help them spin their complex webs. In females, the top side of the abdomen is black with symmetrical patches of bright yellow. The legs are reddish brown at the base and black toward the tips. Males are less striking in appearance—they are smaller with brownish legs and less yellow coloration on their abdomens. Females average 0.75 to 1.1 inches (19 to 28 millimeters) in body length, which is up to three times larger than the males.

Yellow garden spiders can be found throughout the continental United States and Canada, Mexico, and Central America. They spin webs in sunny areas with plants on which they can anchor the webs. They may also be seen in backyard gardens.

These spiders produce venom that is harmless to humans, but helps to immobilize prey like flies, bees, and other flying insects that are caught in the web. The web of the garden spider contains a highly visible zigzagging X-shaped pattern called a stabilimentum. The exact function of the stabilimentum is unknown, but its purpose may be to alert birds to the presence of the web so that they don’t fly through and destroy it by mistake. The spider may eat and respin its web each night.

A male seeks out a female and courts her by plucking at her web. After mating, the female deposits one or multiple egg sacs on her web. Offspring hatch in late summer or autumn. If they’re in an area with a cold winter, the young spiders may remain in the egg sac in a dormant state and emerge in the spring. Egg cases are heavily parasitized by wasps and flies. On average, the garden spider lives for about one year. Females usually die in the first hard frost after mating. If temperatures prevent this, females may live several years, but males usually die after mating.

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Garden spider populations are stable. They are common and widespread.

Sometimes the garden spider connects itself to a web by a thread of silk and hides in the underbrush. When an insect gets caught, the spider can feel the vibrations of the web.

Animal Diversity Web, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology

Argiope spider. Description, features, species, lifestyle and habitat of argiopes

Tell me, did you have the temptation to have at home not a cat or a dog, but something more exotic, for example, a beautiful spider? Imagine these creatures can also be beautiful. For example, argiope. Its brightness pleases the eye, it does not require special attention, is not aggressive and is not heard.

There are people who enthusiastically study the life of these creatures, as you know, spiders are some of the oldest creatures on earth. To maintain it, you need an aquarium, which is desirable to slightly refit, it is better to tighten one wall and lid with a very fine mesh.

Put some branch or twig inside and you’re done. You can populate a pet, then he will do everything himself. But before you dwell on such a neighbor, let’s get to know this interesting creature a bit.

Description and Features

To describe the appearance of argiope, we need a number of special «spider» terms.

1. First, introduce you to the concept of chelicerae. If translated from the ancient Greek language, you get two words — a claw and a horn. This is the first pair of limbs, or jaws of arachnids and other arthropods. They are located in front of and above the mouth.

Standardly have the appearance of claws and consist of several segments. At the tip of such claws are ducts of poisonous glands. Now you can explain who they are araneomorphic spiders — their chelicera are located towards each other, and add up, sometimes going one on top of the other. Such chelicerales are designed to attack a large victim, sometimes larger than the hunter himself.

2. The second important term in the description of spiders — pedipalps. Translated from ancient Greek, two words are again obtained — a foot and a touch. This is the second pair of limbs, the tentacle, located on the cephalothorax (called millet in chelicerae). They are located on the side of the chelicera, and behind them is the second pair of walking legs.

«Divided» into several segments, like phalanxes. Adult spiders males use each last pedipalp segment at the moment of copulation with the female. They are transformed into a certain genital organ called cymbium. It is used as a reservoir for sperm, as well as for direct introduction into the female’s genital openings.

3. And the last difficult concept — stabilization (or stabilization). This is a prominent thickening on the web. Usually made in the form of a zigzag weaving of numerous threads at the center. Such pronounced thickenings may be one, two, three or more, depending on the type of spider.

It can be vertical in the form of a line, it can go in a circle, and it happens in the form of a cross. Moreover, the cross is made in the form of the letter X. It is a very important thing for spiders, as you can see, since they constantly do it on their web. Its exact purpose by people has not yet been studied, despite numerous attempts.

Argiope weaves very strong webs that can hold medium-sized grasshoppers

Perhaps he attracts the attention of the victim, or vice versa, scares off enemies, or disguises a spider against his background. Yes, you never know the versions! Closest to the truth is the version about attracting victims, especially since the appointment of the web itself is a trap. By the way, it is stabilization that is best seen in the ultraviolet rays that many insects «see».

Some spiders initially had a linear form of stabilization, but eventually became cruciform, which also speaks in favor of the version of luring prey. As they say, they do any “tuning” in order to achieve the desired goal.

Externally, the spiders look as follows:

The abdomen is entirely covered with transverse stripes of lemon and black, between them there are light gray stripes. Closer to the cephalothorax, the color completely becomes pearl gray or brown. The millet itself is covered with a velvet-silver undercoat.

The head is black and there are four pairs of eyes on it, different in size: 2 pairs of small eyes at the bottom, 1 — the middle pair of large eyes looks straight and 1 pair of eyes, medium in size, on the sides of the head. He also has eight paws, arranged in pairs, the first and second are the longest. The third is the shortest, and the fourth is the middle.

Due to its bright color, an argiope is called a wasp spider or a tiger spider.

The sizes of argiopes are not the largest among spiders, however noticeable. Females are large, body length up to 3 cm. And with a leg length of 5-6 cm. Chelicerae are small. In shape, the body is closer to the oval, twice as long as wide. On the abdomen are spider web warts. These are the organs that form the spider web. It has been described by female argiopes.

«Men» are several times smaller than «ladies», they grow up to 0.5 cm. They look plain and, in the literal sense, gray — they are most often mouse-colored or black, without any stripes. The cephalothorax is usually hairless, chelicera are even smaller than in females.

The family of orbiting spiders (Araneidae), to which argiopes belong, is characterized by the manufacture of a large circular network — a spider web. The main radial threads are thicker; a spiral thread is attached to them.

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The space between us is filled with rosettes of a zigzag pattern. Web of Argiopes vertical or at a slight angle to the vertical axis. This arrangement is not accidental, spiders are excellent catchers, and they know how difficult it is to get out of a vertical trap.


Spider argiope — gender araneomorphic spiders from the family Araneidae. The genus has about 85 species and 3 subspecies. More than half of the varieties (44) are observed in the south and east of Asia, as well as on the adjacent islands of Oceania. 15 species live in Australia, 8 in America, 11 in Africa and the islands adjacent to it. Europe boasts only three species: Argiope trifasciata, Argiope bruennichi, Argiope lobata.

  • Argiopetrifasciata (Argiope trifaskiata) — perhaps the most common species on the planet. It was first described by Per Forskol in 1775. In Europe, it is observed on the Perinean Peninsula, on the Canary Islands and on the island of Madeira. The greatest activity in September-October, when the summer heat subsides.

  • Argiopebruennichi (Argiope Brunnich) The name was given in honor of the Danish zoologist and mineralogist Morten Trane Brunnich (1737-1827), who discovered it. By the appearance of this spider, you can make a description of the entire genus argiop. The dorsal drawing of the abdomen in the form of black and yellow stripes served as its name. spider wasp argiope. In addition, it is also called a zebra spider and a tiger spider.

Sometimes it is also called argiope three-way, by the number of yellow stripes on the body. And of course, we are talking about females, we already know that men do not have such brightness. A characteristic feature is that it settles with the help of its own web, flying on it in air currents. Therefore, it can be found not only in the southern regions, but sometimes much north of the accepted one. As the saying goes, where the wind blew.

More often populates desert dry places and steppes. If you specify the geographical location of populations, then you can list;

  • Europe (southern and central);
  • North Africa
  • Caucasus;
  • Crimea;
  • Kazakhstan;
  • Central and Asia Minor;
  • China;
  • Korea
  • India
  • Japan
  • In Russia, the northern border runs beyond 55 ° N Most often found in the Central and Central Black Earth region.

Perhaps due to the general warming of the climate, this spider is climbing ever farther north. He is comfortable in the meadows and roadsides, forest edges, he chooses sunny and open places. He does not like moisture, prefers dry areas. It settles on shrubs and herbaceous plants. There are two stabilizations in the web of the wasp spider, they are linearly opposite each other, like the radii from the center of the network.

Argiope spider is small, the maximum size is about 7 cm.

  • Argiopelobata (Argiope lobata) reaches a value of up to 1.5 cm in females. The abdomen is white silver with six deep recesses-lobules, the color of which varies from dark brown to orange. Due to this, she is also called argiope lobed. A web in the form of a wheel, the center is densely braided with threads. On the territory of the former Soviet Union, lives in the Crimea and the Caucasus, in Central Asia and Kazakhstan, and, of course, in the European part. Also found in Algeria (North Africa).

  • I would like to highlight another species in this genus — Argiopeocular. Outwardly, he does not look like his relatives. His abdomen is red, without yellow-black stripes, and his legs are also red. On the legs, the last two segments-segments are black, in front of them is one white.

The whole is covered with hairs, on the cephalothorax they are silvery. It lives in Japan, Taiwan, and mainland China. This species, in addition to external characteristics that are not characteristic of the genus, is distinguished by yet another quality. They often have males who survived without both pedipalp segments. In other words, after the second intercourse. And this is a rarity in the world of spiders. Why — we will tell a bit later.

Lifestyle & Habitat

Argiope dwells everywhere except the Arctic and Antarctica. Builds a web in spacious places where there are many flying insects and, therefore, a potentially good hunt. In addition, the selected place should be well visible at any time of the day. Another plus in favor of the «attractive» role of the web and stabilization in the center. The weaving process takes only about an hour, usually during twilight evening or morning hours.

Usually the spider does not make any more shelters near the web, but sits in its center. Most often, this place is occupied by a female. She spreads her paws in different directions along the web, visually resembling the shape of the letter X, waiting for prey. Argiope in the photo It looks both beautiful and dangerous at the same time.

Beauty is created by a finely braided web, a spreading motionless pose in the form of a cross, and of course, a bright color. Only this brightness is scary. As you know, in the animal world there is a principle — the brighter, the more toxic and dangerous. Cute and harmless creatures always try to be invisible in nature.

Sometimes, sensing danger, spiders quickly move along the threads, hiding from predators. Others quickly «fall» to the ground upside down, which becomes darker and invisible due to the reduction of special cells. They always have a saving thread in their spider web warts, on which they quickly sink to the ground.

In the afternoon it is sluggish, lethargic, in the evening an active and promising life begins. In a home terrarium, a spider needs to be poured into the bottom with coconut flakes or any substrate for spiders that needs to be changed periodically.

And put inside several branches, preferably grape, on which he will weave a web. The walls of the terrarium also need to be regularly cleaned with an antiseptic against fungi and other bacteria. Just do not break its secluded places.

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Argiope’s fishing net differs not only in its beautiful shape and pattern, but also in its painstaking execution. In particular, the small size of individual cells. Through such «windows» not even the smallest mosquito can break through. Therefore, her lunch consists of miserable insects that fell into this network.

It feeds on orthoptera and various other insects. These are grasshoppers, crickets, fillies (locusts), butterflies, midges, trippers and jumpers. As well as flies, bees, mosquitoes. The victim does not see the spider, or takes it for a wasp that is hanging in the air. The spider in the center of the web often repeats the form of stabilization and merges with it, only the striatum is visible. The victim begins to beat in the web, the signal thread gives a sign to the predator.

Argiope wraps its prey in a cocoon and bites a victim

He quickly runs to the prey and injects his paralyzing poison. Then he wraps the poor man in a cocoon and drags him to a secluded place. After a short time, it draws juices from the body that began to dissolve. By the way, at home he eats the same way as in captivity. Food should be given once every two days. Only, despite his love of a dry climate, do not forget to give him water. And sometimes spray water into the aquarium, on especially hot days.

Reproduction and longevity

They will be ready to continue procreation right after the last molt. At this time, the «girls» chelicera while soft. During mating, a friend wraps her partner in a web, and if he can not then free himself, his fate is unenviable, he will be eaten. By the way, it would be desirable here to voice a certain theory about the notorious cruelty of female spiders.

There is an assumption that the male deliberately gives himself to be torn to pieces, allegedly thereby securing precisely his position as a father. The female, eating the body of an unhappy fan, is saturated and does not look for more adventures, but calmly engages in fertilization. It turns out that she herself is not against retaining the sperm of this particular applicant in herself. Here is such a «monstrous love.»

As a mother, she then proves herself in the best way. She weaves a large cocoon, which is located near the main web, and hides eggs in it. Outwardly, these «nurseries» resemble the seed box of a certain plant. There are up to hundreds of eggs in a cocoon. The parent anxiously guards the cocoon.

Argiope weaves a kind of cocoon in which about 300 eggs are kept and hibernated

Children leave the «nursery» in late August — early September and actively settle in the air on cobwebs. There is another scenario. Sometimes a spider lays its eggs already in late autumn and leaves this world. And spiders are born and fly away in the spring. Argiope’s life is short, only 1 year.

Danger to humans

We immediately warn those who are interested in extreme sports — if you touch the web of argiopes with your hand, he will react and be sure to bite him. Argiope bite painful, you can compare it with a wasp or a bee sting. This spider has very powerful jaws, it can bite quite firmly.

In addition, do not forget about its poison. Many are interested in the question — argiope poisonous or not? Of course, poisonous, it is with this toxin that they provide themselves with food, killing the victims. It has a paralyzing effect on invertebrates and vertebrates.

The second question is that poison is not dangerous for humans and large animals. Spider venom contains argiopin, argiopinin, pseudoargiopinin, but in small doses that are not particularly harmful to humans.

The consequences of this bite are not fatal, but they can deliver a number of significant inconveniences and troubles. Most people have redness and slight swelling near the site of the bite, which disappear after a couple of hours.

But it happens that these symptoms disappear only after a day, and the bite can be very itchy. But if you have reduced immunity, have an allergic reaction, or with you a child who was bitten by a spider, then the consequences can be unpleasant:

  • The bite site noticeably swells;
  • Body temperature rises, sometimes quite significantly, up to 40-41 degrees;
  • Nausea and dizziness begin.

There is only one way out — immediately to the doctor. No «then pass» or «heal himself.» Do not risk your life. And as a first aid, cauterize the bite site and give an antihistamine. And drink a lot of water.

The benefits and harms of the spider

This spider almost does not bring harm to humans. If you yourself do not offend him. It’s just clogging open spaces with its web, a little interfering with a carefree walk. But this is not harm, and so, a little inconvenience.

But the benefit from it is great. For a day, he can catch up to 400 harmful insects in his nets.Therefore, do not rush to destroy them if you see them in a meadow or on a forest edge. In the forest, in the garden or in the garden, these indefatigable orbiting spiders weave their nets and catch in them springtails, leafworms, bugs, aphids, caterpillars, mosquitoes, flies and other harmful insects.

Spiders are voracious; they eat as much as they weigh per day. So calculate how much benefit this ecological insect trap can bring over the summer. In addition, according to ancient Eastern philosophy, a spider brings good luck.

Argiope bites are painful, but not capable of causing significant harm to humans

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