Introducing Writing Spider
Argiope aurantia Lucas is a big orb-weaving spider that is most commonly known as the yellow garden spider. The vertical zig-zag pattern created in their webs has earned Argiope aurantia the moniker “writing spider” (Enders 1973).
Due to their zig-zag web, striking black and white (or yellow) pattern, and relatively large size, the yellow garden spider is a popular species that frequently catches the attention of gardeners.
While their looks may frighten some people, this species is generally innocuous and will flee rather than attack when approached (Enders 1973).
The enormous webs of Black-and-yellow Garden Spiders are frightening, with the spiders appearing to be unconcerned about having them in plain sight. They seem to be daring us to bother them! We flee from the Giant Web, which is home to a Huge Spider!
The odd thing is, they are generally visible in the fall. Throughout the summer, where were they? Why does a big, bashful spider decide to suddenly appear in full view, after staying hidden for so long?
One appears in our garden overnight, perched in the middle of a web the size of a dinner plate. Much, much worse! On the patio, or plant hooks on the deck! suspended between potted plants
Black-and-yellow Garden Spiders are smaller and weaker, less able to defend themselves from predators throughout the summer, according to entomologists’ theories.
They wisely conceal themselves. However, by the time they reach full size, they’re ready to defend themselves and fight anyone who comes their way!
Corn Spider, Zipper Spider, Writing Spider, Golden Garden Spider, Yellow Spider, and McKinley Spider are all terms used to describe these spiders in your region.
Argiope aurantia (AR-gee [or jee]-OH-pee; ahr-RAN-cha) is their Latin name. The order Araneae (ar-RAIN-ee-eye or ee) and the family Araneidae (AIR-uh-NEE-uh-die or ee) are what they belong to.
The genus Argiope dates back to at least 15.97 million years ago (Miocene Epoch) according to a fossil discovered in China of an extinct species, Argiope furva. Argiopes are classified as orb-weavers because their web is so different: huge, circular, and wheel-shaped. They’re all colorful, to say the least.
In parts of the Rocky Mountains and Great Basin where there is little vegetation, Black-and-yellow Garden Spiders are uncommon. They may be found in most of the continental United States, as well as Hawaii, southern Canada, Mexico, and Central America.
Three additional Argiope species live in North America, in addition to the Black-and-yellow Garden Spider. (See photos at the bottom of this page.)
There are 3,500 species across the globe, all of which are huge and have bright bellies that build webs of white silk.
Until they locate a female, males roam about. They often build a web nearby and start courting when they do. When approaching females, males typically have a drop line prepared, which they use to communicate with them by plucking and vibrating their web.
The female places her eggs on a layer of silk topped by another layer of paper-like silk after mating, and she wraps them in a sheet of silk. She then stuffs them into a ball-shaped package and places it in her web, off to the side or occasionally in the center.
During the summer, she may produce three to four egg sacs. Each sac can hold between 300 and a thousand eggs, depending on its diameter. She constantly monitors their behavior.
In late summer or fall, black-and-yellow Garden Spider eggs hatch. Except for the lack of adult reproductive organs, hatchlings are like miniature adults. During the winter, they remain within their egg sac, dormant.
During the summer, they grow to be increasingly bigger, molting (shedding) their exoskeleton multiple times as their bodies expand.
Now, a year older and back to square one. They’re a year old now, fully developed, and sexually mature by late summer and autumn. We start to notice the females around this time.
The cycle repeats when they mate, lay eggs, and the cycle repeats. It goes like this:
A female’s huge, distinctive web might span up to 2 feet (60 cm) in diameter. She places a solid, silk zigzag design known as a stabilimentum in the heart of it. This is also done by other spider species, although researchers aren’t sure why.
The spiders are “decorated,” which helps to conceal them in the center. Several theories exist. The web appears to be bigger as a result of it. It’s used to control the production of excess silk. Males are drawn to females and vice versa.
It draws in prey with its pheromones. Or, since it’s so conspicuous, birds are unable to fly through and ruin the web.
Her legs are usually seen as four rather than eight, since she hangs her head down in the middle and holds them together in pairs. She might even wait for prey on the edge of her web.
A animation depicting how a web page is created may be seen below. A finishing touch, the stabilimentum, is added to the Black-and-yellow Garden Spiders.
Scientists believe it attracts prey, provides stability, or maybe signals birds away. They don’t know why they do it.
The whole circular section of the web (rarely the radial framework) is devoured at night and rebuilt, which is another intriguing feature about it.
Spiders are meat-eaters, much like humans. While they prefer smaller creatures (Feeding ecology of the orb-weaving spider Argiope aurantia [Araneae: Araneidae] in a cotton agroecosystem, Nyffeler et al. 1987), the bigger female black and yellow spiders can consume prey up to 200% their own size.
Flying insects such as aphids, grasshoppers, wasps (some species), bees, and flies make up the yellow garden spider’s primary diet. They wait for an insect to get trapped in the gluey silk part of their web, which is usually done in a head-down posture towards the middle of their web.
The spider then circulates its prey, which helps to further ensnare it.
After injecting venom into the victim, the spider paralyzes it. While it continues to hunt, the spider creates a silk sac around the dead bug. At a later point in time, the spider will eat the dead bug.
Black-and-Yellow Argiope Egg Sacs
One of our most visible orb web-spinning spiders is the Black-and-yellow Argiopes (Argiope arantia), often known as “garden spiders,” who build webs that can be up to two feet in diameter. Females are about an inch and a half long.
Females wrap eggs in a multi-layered “sac” of tan silk that resembles a big marble at this time of year, and they (and many other spiders) are busy mating and laying eggs. Between 300 and 1,400 eggs are found inside a Black-and-Yellow Argiope egg sac.
The spiderlings overwinter inside the sac, where they stay dormant unless the weather warms significantly (in which case they become active and cannibalistic), there being no insects in the sac in northern New England.
I’ve often wondered when the eggs will hatch, but I’ve never wanted to burst an egg sac in order to find out.
A bird ripped into one of my spider egg sacs and exposed the contents, which I photographed, for me recently.
Garden Spider Egg Sacs
Garden spiders deposit their eggs in silken sacs with between 50 and several hundred eggs in the fall months. Although one end is narrower than the other, the egg sac of the garden spider is fairly spherical.
They are covered in brown silk and are powerful enough to withstand most predators’ assaults.
Most of the time, spider eggs are too small and hidden for us to notice their presence, even when they are just mentioned as part of horror tales.
In the winter, when we’re moving things around in our gardens, the majority of us will only see them. Tiny silk parcels might appear, unnoticed and tuck them away. Spider eggs will be cared for in a variety of ways by a number of different spider species.
After mating, the female is nearly always the one who bears all of the baby care responsibilities.
This might be the case if the guy has gone to copulate with additional females, or it may be that his lady has bitten off his head after their love evening concludes.
Spider females generally seal their eggs in silk to ensure their protection. This may help them stay in place and maintain a steady temperature.
Spider moms are surprisingly dedicated to their young, despite the fact that we don’t consider spiders as caring creatures.
Many spider mother’s will spend the remainder of their lives protecting their eggs after weaving their egg sac.
Other spider moms, like the wolf spider, will carry their egg sac on their spinnerette, which is attached to them. A large white or yellow spherical ball is held beneath its abdomen, and you may see a spider carrying her eggs if you spot one.
Tarantulas, for example, can live for over two decades and will carry their egg sac with them in their burrow until it hatches.
After that, the juvenile spiderlings will remain with their mother until they’re ready to go out on their own. Several species, such as the ant-mimicking spider Toxeus magnus, even feed their offspring.
This spider has been discovered to give birth to young that can feed on her milk. Other moms have even volunteered to be a delicious dinner for their young in much more horrific ways.
Because of their habitat of cannibalizing their still-living mother in the nest, amaurobius ferox spiderlings experience greater weight gain and hunting success in later life.
Web Building Behavior
Webs are usually 15 cm from the ground and are generally placed in sheltered spots. The desire for higher web placement grows as spiders age (Enders 1977).
There is no longer a significant inclination to protect the webs from winds (Enders 1977) beginning with sixth-instar males and twelfth-instar women.
Eight out of nine juveniles tested formed webs facing light sources, indicating that fourth instar larvae prefer to orient their webs in a direction towards a light source.
Crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk) (Harwood 1974), yellow garden spiders are nocturnal.
The webs of juveniles, like those of adults, are built at night, although the second and third instars take much longer to finish them (Enders 1977). They need two nights rather than a single night.
Lespedeza spp., or bush clover, are a preferred attachment location; however, webs are frequently linked to trees, shrubs, and herbaceous weeds (Enders 1997). Webs are angled downhill and oriented away from thick vegetation.
Adults prefer to build their webs on vegetation at high elevations and in new areas, where they climb to the top of the vegetation and wave their front legs to investigate the surroundings. They do so in questing behavior.
Are Yellow Garden Spiders Poisonous?
While they aren’t poisonous, yellow garden spiders are venomous. Their venom is powerful enough to paralyze animals, but it is highly unlikely to harm a healthy person.
The spider venom also starts to predigest the insect’s insides, eventually liquefying it completely, in addition to paralyzing prey.
Is there a difference between “venomous” and “poisonous”? Venomous creatures inject their toxins through biting or stinging, whereas poisonous creatures discharge their poison after being consumed.
Are her children the death of her?
It’s difficult to know if the female garden spider would have survived if she had left her eggs and returned to feeding, despite the fact that she died shortly after.
Even though it leads to her death, she decides to remain with her progeny as long as possible in order to provide them the best start in life.
As compared to the image of spider parents we usually have, it’s a much more moving picture. This may explain why we have so little knowledge about these well-known tiny animals.
Where would you find the male spider?
The guy is significantly smaller than the lady and may frequently be found near the web’s edge. Letting the female know that he is not food is one of the major tasks a male spider has.
Some guys wait until the female has just molted, so her fangs are still soft, and others compose special tunes on the internet. Some males bind the female with silk while throwing it around. It’s a crazy and wooly idea to mix spider sex!
Yellow Garden Spiders Bite If Provoked
These spiders will bite if they feel threatened, but they are not aggressive with humans. A lady near her egg sac, for example, is likely to inject venom into you in the same way that she would into prey caught in her web, but with a significantly less harmful effect.
Yellow garden spider bites are comparable to bee stings or mosquito bites in terms of pain for the majority of people. A little itchiness, redness, and minor swelling are all symptoms of the damage.
Salticid spiders, commonly known as jumping spiders (Tolbert 1975), can attack smaller, younger Argiope aurantia.
Adult Argiope aurantia salticid spiders are generally rejected because to their huge size, and if caught in a web, they may be preyed upon (Tolbert 1975). Argiope aurantia is a frequent target for mud daubers.
Argiope aurantia will produce up to two barrier webs inside their main orb web in reaction to their own predators. Some predators are unable to enter the web due to barrier webs, which serve as a physical barrier.
Barrier webs, which alert the spider to any disturbances in the web (Tolbert 1975), are placed on the exterior edges of the orb.
Stabilimenta, a thicker opaque silk, is built in yellow garden spiders’ webs defensively.
When threatened by the invader or when its web is torn from its grasp and hurled onto nearby vegetation or the earth, the spider can flex the stabilimentum to make catching it by predators or people more difficult (Enders 1973).