The Black and Yellow Garden Spider, sometimes called
the Argiope, is a member of the orb weaver family. These
are spiders that spin webs in spiral patterns.
The female Argiope is a large, conspicuous spider up
to 1-1/8 inch long at maturity. The large abdomen is
black with yellow or orange markings. The carapace of
the cephalothorax is covered with silvery hairs, and
their legs are black with reddish or yellow bands .
There is a large difference in size between the male
and female of this spider species. The male is about
half the size of the female, and similar but often brighter
Black and Yellow Garden Spiders are located all around
the United States and even in southern Canada. This
spider can be found in gardens or open fields where
the large orb web (up to 2 feet wide!) can be spun.
The slightly inclined orb web has a distinctive vertical
zigzag design in the center (called stabilimenta). The
exact purpose of the stabilimenta is not known, but
it has been thought that it may aid in web stabilization,
aid in the capture of prey, or prevent birds from flying
The spider hangs its head down in the center of the
The circular filaments of the orb
web are sticky so that the spider may capture small
flying insects such as flies, grasshoppers, crickets,
wasps, and bees. This spider is diurnal (active in the
daytime) and usually hangs head down in the center of
If movement in the web is detected,
the spider will often wave or vibrate the web in order
to entangle the prey. Entangled prey is immediately
wrapped with swaths of silk and bitten with fangs in
order to subdue it.
The coloration, size, and web of this spider at maturity
make it conspicuous in the garden. The zigzag design
in the center of the web may help to camouflage the
Some scientists theorize that the stabilimenta (zigzag)
in the center of the web serves to make the web more
easily seen by birds that will then avoid flying through
If threatened, the spider may drop off the web to the
ground and hide.