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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



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Image Credit: Arch Baker
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The ubiquitous Black and Yellow Garden Spider is a steadfast sentinel, diligently guarding over our gardens.



Updated: 01/26/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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 are 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.




Known Diet of the Black-and-Yellow-Garden-Spider



insects


General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Helpful insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon
Venomous insect icon


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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
      Order: Araneae
        Family: Araneidae
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          Genus: Argiope
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            Species: aurantia
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
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 (0.19" to 1.10")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black, yellow, red, silver, orange, brown
Descriptors: up-side-down, bands, stripes, venomous, helpful, silver

Black-and-Yellow-Garden-Spider Video(s)




A Black and Yellow Garden Spider repairing its damaged web.
A Black and Yellow Spider bouncing on its web.
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Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 5mm (0.2in) and 28mm (1.1in)
Lo: 5mm
Md: 16.5mm
Hi: 28mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Alaska  
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Black and Yellow Garden Spider may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Black and Yellow Garden Spider. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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