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Black and Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Black and Yellow Garden Spider.

 Updated: 10/12/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




The ubiquitous Black and Yellow Garden Spider is a steadfast sentinel, diligently guarding over our gardens.



Black and Yellow Garden Spider Videos



A Black and Yellow Garden Spider repairing its damaged web


A Black and Yellow Spider bouncing on its web

Black and Yellow Garden Spiders are from the Argiope genus and are found throughout the United States of America and Canada. This species is not quite as common in the Rocky Mountain areas as they area everywhere else. The spider is easily identifiable by the distinctive yellow and black coloring found on the abdomen. The legs are equally noticeable by the alternating bands of orange-yellow and black, though this pattern may vary from spider to spider. Females are larger than males; almost four times bigger. Besides being smaller, males do not promote their colors as much, and may appear a shade or two paler compared to the saturated colors seen on the female.

Webs produced by the Black and Yellow Garden Spider are about knee-high off the ground in sunny, still areas of a garden. They are also distinct as some have a thick silk strand that zigzags down the center of the web. This is called the stabilimentum. Additionally, their webs are built in a circular spiral (a classic feature of Orbweaver spider webs). These spiders sit on the web up-side-down with their heads closer to the ground. Their long, lean legs make them appear substantially large and quite intimidating to humans, but they are not aggressive. If disturbed or threatened, this spider may immediately drop to the ground in an attempt to flee and hide. It may also begin bouncing on its web in an effort to confuse a predator by making it difficult to get a clear view of it.

Black and Yellow Garden Spiders are also called a Common Garden Spider, or a Yellow Garden Spider in various publications. Whichever name used, spotting one of these spiders is quite a treat as their unique shape and striking colors add a bit of natural drama to your garden. They are commonly found in backyard gardens, parks and woodlands. Adults are most visible during the day in the summer. A female lays eggs in a papery brown sac which is then attached to one side of her web. She dies before seeing her eggs hatch. The eggs hatch in the fall, but the spiderlings stay in the egg sac over winter and venture off on their own in the spring.




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
      Order: Araneae
        Family: Araneidae
          Genus: Argiope
            Species: aurantia
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Argiope aurantia
Other Name(s): Yellow Garden Spider, Common Garden Spider, Black and Yellow Argiope
Category: Spider
Size (Adult; Length): 5mm to 28mm (0.20in to 1.09in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black, yellow, red, silver, orange, brown
Descriptors: up-side-down, bands, stripes, venomous, helpful, silver
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
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
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.




Spider Anatomy
Graphic showing basic parts of spider anatomy
1
Legs: Spiders have four pairs of legs and these are attached to the cephalothorax.
2
Pedipalps: Small appendages near the mouth used as taste and smell organs.
3
Cephalothorax: Contains eyes, head, mouthparts, and legs.
4
Abdomen: Contains various organs related to digestion, reproduction, and web-making.
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Spinnerets: Used in the production of spider silk for fashioning webs or catching prey.
NOTE: Unlike insects, spiders have both an endoskeleton (internal) and exoskeleton (external).