Insect Identification
Insect Identification

Banded Garden Spider - (Argiope trifasciata)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 10/20/2014

The Banded Garden Spider may be a natural compass, giving people two reasons to keep them around the garden.

This spider builds its orb-shaped web between plants in garden beds. It sits in the center of the spiral web with its, up-side-down, waiting for prey to ensnare itself in the web. It keeps its dark underside facing south, likely to absorb as much solar heat as possible, enabling to stay active longer in cool weather.

Young Banded Garden spiders are a lighter brown color with white stripes. They become blacker as they mature. Their furry carapace ('neck' region) is covered in silvery hairs. This species, regardless of age, is most active from mid-summer to the area's first freeze.

They build their webs low to the ground in gardens, tall grasses or between shrubs. Like other members of the Orbweaver family, a zig-zagged cluster of spider silk called a stabilimentum can be seen near the center of the web.

Males are half the size of females and can be found at the edge of a female's web before mating. Egg sacs are brown and paper-like with a flattened side making them look like little cauldrons. Females can deliver a moderately painful bite to humans if she is guarding eggs and feels threatened or disturbed. Eggs overwinter and hatch spiderlings in the spring.

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Category: Spider
Common name: Banded Garden Spider
Scientific Name: Argiope trifasciata

  Kingdom: Animalia
   Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
     Order: Araneae
      Family: Araneidae
       Genus: Argiope
        Species: trifasciata

Adult Size (Length): 4mm to 25mm (0.16in to 0.98in)

Identifying Colors: black; white; yellow; brown

Additional Descriptors: stripes, bands, venomous

North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan

* Keep in mind that insect reach is not governed by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.