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: 2/5/2018; 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 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 spiral that builds out from the center; a classic feature of Orbweaver spiders. 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. Watch this bouncing behavior in slow motion here:
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. Females lay 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.