Last summer, a very…um…interesting spider appeared in our garden. At first, it terrified me. I mean, it was an inch and a half or two inches long, black and yellow, and evil-looking. I did some research on the Internet, though, and found out it’s harmless—to humans, anyway.
I intended to take a picture of it, but somehow I never got around to doing so, and before I knew it, it was fall and she was gone.
This year I’ve been looking for it in the same spot every day since spring, to no avail. Then, the other day, I was looking at a flower in a different part of the garden and there was that distinctive spider with the unique web. So you better believe I ran for the camera, and here it is:
It’s a Black and Yellow Argiope, or Black and Yellow Garden Spider. You can read more about it here: http://www.fcps.edu/islandcreekes/ecology/black_and_yellow_argiope.htm
Fun facts to know and tell: the Black and Yellow Garden Spider builds her web in a spiral out from the center. The zigzag portion is built by the smaller, drabber male spider. Also, she eats (yes, eats) her web every night and builds a new one in the morning. Talk about a fanatical housekeeper!
She dies after laying her eggs…sad. The baby spiders (up to a thousand—no wonder she dies) spend the fall and winter in the egg sack, then hatch in the spring and head out to find their own bit of garden. You better believe I’ll be looking for them next spring, and I’ll tell them all how much they look like their mom.