Argiope Season

I’ve never been a big fan of spiders.  I find them a bit creepy…  When I was a child, I couldn’t even look at a picture of a spider without getting scared.  With time fears fade.  I used to feel similarly about bees; the other day I stood surrounded by them as I took butterfly pictures and they didn’t bother me at all… not one little bit.

Spiders still startle me when I see them, but my heart calms quickly and I will stand and watch without fear.  One of the first photos I took with my new Canon Rebel XT back in August of 2006 was this one:

 Garden Spider

It was a lucky find and a lucky shot since I knew next to nothing about my camera or photography at the time.  As I’ve learned more about my camera, I’ve hoped to find such an opportunity again come August…  Yes, I’ve actually hoped to see a spider!  My, I’ve come a long way, haven’t I?

While walking the trails at Audubon the other day, I did happen upon another Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia).

Garden Spider   Garden Spider

Because this one has a less spectacular web, and a smaller abdomen, I wonder if it a male?  The accounts I have read indicate the the male is smaller and his web is not as big or elaborate…  I’ve also read that his web is usually built nearby a female, but this is the only one I noticed.

Of all the things I’ve read about Argiopes, the fact that amazed me most comes from the “Red Planet” link below.  The zig zag thing down the middle of the web is called a stabilimenta.  A web with a stabilimenta catches 34% fewer insects, but is less likely to be damaged by a bird flying through it.

I think I’ll keep my eye open for more of these… Would be fun to find a female and male web close by each other and observe for a while.  Does she really eat her web and reconstruct daily?  Does she really eat her mate?  So many things that would be fun to observe first hand… In the meantime, I’ll keep reading…

Read More about Argiopes:

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5 thoughts on “Argiope Season

  1. I watched a Garden Spider snare a dragonfly that was just rising from beside our pond.
    She (because she was fat and big) scurried quickly to the spot and bit her (female pond hawk) then retreated to let the toxin take effect on the struggling insect.
    Over the past week or two, I’ve found the remains of several dragonflies in the tall grass around the web.
    She’s placed it well–to catch many insects drawn to water.

    Love, love, love Argiopes.

  2. Nice shots of the garden spiders, Jen.

    Last summer I was lucky enough to come across a male Argiope alongside the female in her web. He was much slimmer and about 1/3 her size. (I assume that’s what I was seeing. They’ve got to actually get together at some time or other.)

    A nature blog from Pakistan recently featured a Argiope species with the common name St. Andrew’s Cross. It’s stabilimenta forms an X in the center of her web.

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