Writing Spiders: Argiope
|More Spider Info
Orb Weavers: Araneidae
Types of Spiders
Argiope spiders often go by the name garden spiders or writing spiders, and they are credited as the inspiration for one of the world's most popular spiders, Charlotte of Charlotte's Web.
Females generally grow larger than males, often having a body over an inch in length, with equally long front and back legs.
Writing spiders build large nest nests around homes and gardens. Their nickname derives from their web construction practices, which includes what is formally called a stabilimentum, or a series of Zs or Xs down the web's center.
North America hosts about five Argiope species, however, only two, the Black and Yellow Argiope (Argiope aurantia) and the Banded Argiope (Argiope trifasciata) range across the continent.
The top picture shows the common Argiope arentia, in action. The spinnerets (brown patch) open at the bottom of the abdomen are spraying silk around the newly captured honeybee.
Picture two shows the Banded Argiope. The abdominal and legs stripes give it a distinct look.
Females generally grow larger than males, with bodies averaging about an inch in length and the legs possibly adding an additional two inches to the total length.
Picture three, a Silver Argiope, (Argiope argentata), highlights the stabilimentum in the middle of the web.
The spider is a juvenile, and the writing pattern in the web tones down as the spider ages. Often the "Z" or "X" pattern on adult webs is restricted to a couple of short lines in the web.
Argiope spiders do bite, however they are neither aggressive nor poisonous. Their presence in the garden or around the shrubs provides some natural pest protection for the immediate area.
© 2005-2011 Patricia A. Michaels