Friday, August 17, 2012
Argiope aurantia, or yellow orb weaver, is possibly my favorite spider. The females are large, dramatically colored, and spin the most impressive webs. When they are young, if you get close to their web they freak out a little, and rock their bodies to make their entire web flap, making themselves more visible in hopes that you won't destroy their careful weaving. Males are much smaller and easily overlooked, but sometimes you'll see one actually hanging out on the female's web in an unobtrusive spot. I enjoy monitoring their progress throughout the summer, occasionally helping out by tossing them a grasshopper. I count myself lucky that these accomplished pest control agents can be found in my yard every year.