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 FLORIDA SPIDERS
A source for information on spiders

Garden Spider Argiope spp.

Garden spiders are common in Europe and Southeast Asia, as well as in the United States and Canada. As their name suggests, they are found outdoors and in gardens. Garden spiders are not aggressive and are more likely to retreat from than attack humans. However, in cases of extreme provocation, garden spiders may bite. Their bites are harmless to humans.

Garden spiders are known as orb weavers due to their orb-shaped, delicate webs. Even garden spiderlings are capable of spinning these intricate structures without the assistance of mature spiders. The webs of garden spiders are notoriously strong.

 Close Up Garden Spider Spinning Web
Garden Spider Spinning Web

The garden spider uses its web to capture food. Although their eyesight is poor, garden spiders are extremely sensitive to vibrations along the strands of their webs. Positioning themselves at the center of their web, garden spiders hang upside down, jump on prey and paralyze it with injected venom. Like other spiders, garden spiders must liquefy their prey in order to consume it.

The garden spider also uses its extraordinary sense of touch for mating, as males tap upon the webs of females to express their intent. Because males spend the mating season obsessively seeking partners, they typically die of exhaustion and malnutrition following fertilization.

Size:

This is a large spider with a body up to one inch long or larger and a leg span of up to three inches.

Color:

The garden spider’s color varies, but the most common species is black and yellow.

Behavior:

Garden spiders spin very large, flat, orb-shaped webs across open spaces between tree and shrub branches. The webs will be located along natural flight paths for flying insects. This spider sits in the center of the web, head facing downward, waiting for an unwary insect to fly into its web. The spider then hurries to the insect, bites it to subdue it, wraps it tightly in silk, and carries it like a prize to a more protected area of the web to feed on it later. The garden spider begins repairing the web immediately to prepare for its next flying prey.

Garden spiders usually live in fields and forests, but occasionally will be found next to homes or in yards.

These spiders are beneficial animals and are not dangerous, despite their large size. Garden spiders should not be killed, but should be relocated to another part of the yard where they will be out of the way of human traffic.

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