Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Black and Yellow Garden Spider

While picking raspberries at our Community Assisted Agriculture farm, Erika came upon the Black and Yellow Garden Spider (also called Black and Yellow Argiope). These spiders are usually common from southern Canada to Costa Rica. They are found in gardens and fields. Like all spiders, they are venomous predators (University of Michigan). Their bite, however, is said not to be dangerous to people, perhaps no more than a bee sting. (I have been told, however, that bees kill more people through anaphylactic shock than do all other wildlife in America.)

This spider bites and eats smaller arthropods that become stuck in the spider's web. The female's carnivorous habits are a problem for their males, who are much smaller than the female in these photographs. Another problem is that this spider has poor vision. Not wishing to become dinner, males will often vibrate the edges of the web to announce their identity. It is almost (but not quite) like a suitor playing a love song on a guitar.


  1. These guys always startle the daylights out of me when they take up residence in my tomato plants!

  2. My daughter, a friend and I came across one of these Sunday while Geocaching. Quite the spectacle.