Monday, July 26, 2010

Yellow Garden Spider

I know...these photographs may freak some of you out (except you TP :) and I'm sorry (sort of) for that :)  But to me, this is simply another beautiful creature with whom I share the South Texas Hill Country.  It's a Yellow Garden Spider, Argiope aurantia.  I'm pretty sure it's a female (based on her size, which appears to be over 1 1/2 inches in body length) and she has spun her web just outside the back door of my office (the door I go in and out of daily).  I noticed her last week and have been watching her ever since.  She's just beautiful. 


Despite their menacing appearance, the Yellow Garden Spider is a non-venomous, common orb spider, which basically means it spins its web in a circle.  I actually watched her one morning this past week spin part of her web.  It was pretty amazing.  In doing some online research, I read that these spiders eat their entire web each night and then spin a new one.  Maybe what I saw was the rebuilding of the web...

These spiders prefer sunny locations to spin their webs, areas with little or no wind.  She'll hang head down in the center of the sticky web to wait for prey, which most commonly includes flies, grasshoppers, katydids, cicadas, June bugs, wasps and other insects.  The webs are unique in that they have a zigzag pattern in the center of the web...look closely and you can easily see it.  I actually saw (and photographed) her wrapping up and eating a smaller spider she caught in the web, but I didn't think it would be appropriate to post those photos (although I *really* wanted to!)  Anyway, just thought I'd share photographs of another of God's beautiful creatures...



 

21 comments:

  1. Beautiful spider! I had one in my front garden last year and didn't know what it was. Now I do!

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  2. It is a beautiful spider! And really beneficial too (as are most spiders). Glad to hear you had one too!

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  3. can they eat lizards, and how long can they go without eating?

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  4. I just discovered one of these among our shrubs in the back yard - scared the bejeezus out of me! Swear he/she could capture a dog, it's so enormous! Very reassuring to know that it's non-venomous. Whoa...that's a scary looking thing! It may be harmless, but for now, he or she owns that entire area...put the spider down, and slowly back away...

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  5. I'm pretty sure they don't eat lizards. As with most spiders they eat other insects. This spider has been living above my office for about 4 weeks now and I've seen crickets, June bugs, moths and even other smaller spiders in her web. She hasn't starved :)

    Although they are pretty scary looking, they are relatively harmless. If they do bite, it's like a bee sting; but it takes a lot to provoke them. Just enjoy having them in your shrubs. They eat other bugs that hurt your garden.

    Thanks for visiting! :)

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  6. We found probably 40 of these living around our farm house (not an exaggeration) - easily recognized due to the unique and VERY VERY strong webs they spin. They scared most of the girls in our family so we spent a good time (and lots of spray) killing a number of them. After seeing this we'll let them be.

    We spent some time tossing grasshoppers in to a few different webs - it's pretty amazing seeing them react and spin them up so quickly. We also tested the strength of the webs - one of them held up a rock just a little smaller than a golf ball. Amazing.

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  7. We've lived in rural Corsicana for almost thirty years, and these spiders have been around for most of that time. However, for whatever reason, the last few years, I haven't seen many of them. However, this summer, they seem to have made a comback, and I've seen quite a few, including the biggest one I had ever seen.

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  8. These spiders are pretty amazing and beautiful. I would never kill one of them. They are beneficial to the environment and are great to watch. I'm happy to hear so many of you have seen them around your homes!

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  9. My 5 yr old says he was told that it's called a banana spider. Could it be possible that it has another name as well?

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  10. It could very well be, but I've not heard it called that. But it sure fits the description!

    Thanks for visiting!

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  11. Glad to know that they're not dangerously poisonous. We just found one of these having a standoff with a mantis. We rescued the mantis and let the spider be.

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  12. I'm so glad you saved the mantis and let the spider live. I, too, saw a standoff with this spider and a mantis; unfortunately, the mantis got caught in the spider's web and lost :( But such is the circle of life.

    Thanks for visiting!

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  13. ie faing one of this spider back of me yard it homos killded ie fert make a sersh of this spider bifored ie dot any jarnt to her sinking that this spider was possines , now bridding all this and duinng me riessesh leth this spider to live , ie sink that is a batter to chek bitfored you any sink and duinng ressersh it lernt santinng new that ie down now abbare of this yellow garden spider.

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  14. Can I use your photo of the orb weaver above on our website?
    Jacki
    Dallas Organic Garden Club
    Web Goddess

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  15. Hi Jacki,

    Yes, you may if you credit me with the photo and link it to my blog, that would be fine.

    Let me know if you do OK?

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  16. Thank you. Please check us out at dogc.org. I didn't know your last name but I can always add that.

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  17. Hi Jacki :) Looks great...thank you! Last name not necessary :) but I do appreciate the link! I so enjoyed having this yellow garden spider as part of my garden life, if only briefly. I'm hoping she may spin another web this spring/summer. If she does, I'll surely post on it!

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  18. Nov. 6, 2011 Hey Diana, we have a lovely lady hanging from the back porch rail, although last night she spun an enormous brownish gray ball. She has worked for the last 2 hours spinning all around it. She was fat and sassy for the past 3 or 4 weeks but looks skinny now. She is more sassy now too, if you get too close to her baby nest?? Not sure what to call it. Her web is messy and unkept all day since she did her Mommy thing. Really enjoyed your comments and posts. She's so pretty we even pitch moths to her when we can catch them.

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  19. We have one by our kitchen window. Scary but beautiful. What is the lifespan? I named it Charlotte !

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  20. I just fond this spider in the front door. I choose to look up before I kill her. I was bite by spider before and it was horrible. I'm a nature's lover and sometimes I get afraid of what I find.


















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  21. We have one outside our bathroom window. This spider is identical to the one your picture. I like to identify critters I see since we are new to New Braunfels. This is our weekend/retirement home. I see critter here that I never see in Houston. Mary Ellen

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