The Golden Orb-weaver

We have many different types of spiders living in and outside our home, luckily for us, none of them are poisonous. Years ago, my grandfather would tease us whenever we walked into a spider’s web.

He would say, “Didn’t you see the web?  You must be in love!”

Well, today I almost walked into the web of the Golden Orb-weaver (Argiope aurantia). golden orb-weaver

This Orb-weaver is also called the Black and yellow garden spider or Yellow garden argiope.

Its web has a distinct white, crisscross band of silk called the stabilimentum … and because the stabilimentum resembles writing, the Golden Orb-weaver is also called the Writing spider.

The stabilimentum – which stabilizes the web, makes it visible so that birds don’t fly into it.  It is known to  reflect UV light and to attract insects. The stabilimentum is also a camouflage for the spider so that insects don’t see it sitting (with its head downward) in the center of the web.
Golden Orb-weaverThe Golden Orb-weaver is generally harmless but it is likely to bite humans whenever it is harassed. I understand that its bite is no worse or harmful than a bee sting to a healthy adult.

Golden Orb-weaverEven though the Golden Orb-weaver has relatively poor vision, it builds a new web each day. Each evening it consumes the old web and then spins a new web using only its sense of touch.

The Golden Orb-weaver breeds once per year, and I read that the male usually spins his web next to the female’s and courts her by plucking the strands on her web.

Unfortunately, after mating, the male Golden Orb-weaver usually dies, and is sometimes then eaten by the female.

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