An immature black and yellow garden spider in the disk-shaped web stabilimentum. This spider was photographed along the Florida Trail in the Ocala National Forest.
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Other names for this spider are black and yellow argiope and wrinting spider.
Argiope aurantia is a common spider ranging from Canada through most of the United States into Mexico and Central America as far south as Costa Rica. Females are from 19-28 mm (3/4 to 1-1/8 in), while males are typically only 5-9 mm (1/4 to 3/8 in.) long. The legs are banded, the forward part of the body, the cephalothorax, is covered with short silvery hairs and the abdomen has black and yellow or orange markings. The immature spiders are mostly black and white.
The zig-zag web pattern is called a stabilimentum and is a distinctive trait of the Argiope genus. Immature spiders often create disk shaped stabilimentum. While the name might indicate that it stabilizes the web, this is not currently considered the purpose. A number of possible functions include: camouflage for the spider, attracting prey, attracting a mate, molting platform, sun protection, and silk production practice.
(Species description from the artist's Wild Florida Photo website www.wildflphoto.com)
June 30th, 2015
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