From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Black and Yellow Garden Spider, 2007

Argiope aurantia



Black and yellow garden spider

I've taken dozens of photos of these black and yellow garden spiders over the years. I don't like spiders much, but the bright colors of this species and their big webs are irresistible to my camera clicking finger.

We start seeing lots of these spiders in the garden and flower beds in early fall every year. It's one of the signs of the season.

This is a female. They are much larger than the males. The males approach with caution, and communicate by strumming the threads of the web.

When a hapless insect strays into the web, Her Ladyship springs into action. She injects him with a liquifying agent and wraps him in silk. Then she leaves him to soften up while she waits patiently for the next catch.

It's quite similar to the way Frodo was bundled by Shelob in the Lord of the Rings.

Garden spiders are very interesting creatures. Here are a few websites with more information about them:

Black and yellow argiope
Black and yellow garden spider
Yellow garden spider

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4 comments:

Limey said...

Great picture - but I guess you can wave goodbye to your arachnaphobic readers! : )

Genevieve said...

I thought about that, Limey. I have to tell you, though -- this picture is mild compared to the version I have on my computer desktop. In it, the spider stretches from top to bottom of the right side of the screen. Yikes.

ptg said...

I've always been fascinated by the way this creature bounces on the center of its web, making it oscillate. No wonder the old timers waited until after a good hard freeze to pick corn by hand.

Genevieve said...

Yes, I'd hate walking into a cornfield full of spiders!

I've been enjoying watching this spider. On one of the spider sites I posted, it said that these species consumes the center of the web and reweaves it every morning. Sure enough -- she does.

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