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Hawaiian Garden Spider (Argiope appensa)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Hawaiian Garden Spider

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Image Credit: Helmut L. taken in HI
Full-sized image of the Hawaiian-Garden-Spider Thumbnail image of the Hawaiian-Garden-Spider
Image Credit: Todd P. from Kailua-Kona, HI
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This large Asian import has settled comfortably in the lush gardens of the Hawaii islands.

Updated: 07/06/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Though Hawaiian Garden Spiders can grow to great sizes, they are not poisonous to humans. They actually make great bug-killers in the garden. Originally from Taiwan and Guam, the Hawaiian Garden Spider is an import that made Hawaii its home, and it has thrived in the state's tropical climate. Adept at building orb-shaped webs, the Hawaiian Garden Spider sits in the center, head down, waiting for insect prey to get entangled in the fine silk threads. Most create a stabilimentum, which is a zig-zag shaped line in the web make of thicker bands of spider silk.

Females are much larger than males and are the more colorful of the sexes. Males may be up to 4 times smaller in size, seemingly dwarfed by its mate. Males are also brown and drab in color by comparison. Unlike other spider species that prefer a solitary existence, Hawaiian Garden Spiders don't mind living close to others, so more than one may be found in close proximity. Look for it sitting among plants a few feet off the ground.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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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: appensa
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Argiope appensa
Other Name(s): Yellow Garden Spider
Category: Spider
Size (Adult; Length): 10mm to 60mm (0.39" to 2.36")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: yellow, white, black, brown, gray, orange
Descriptors: bumpy, specked, striped, banded, large, lumpy, biting, venomous

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 10mm (0.4in) and 60mm (2.4in)
Lo: 10mm
Md: 35mm
Hi: 60mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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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 Hawaiian 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 Hawaiian Garden Spider. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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