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Yellow and Black Spider

Batul Nafisa Baxamusa
Yellow and black spiders are common garden pests. This provides some more facts about these creatures.
You will find that there are many types of garden spiders, one of which is the yellow and black spider. This creature is also known as the writing spider, banana spider, or corn spider. Its scientific name is Argiope aurantia.


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Family: Araneidae
Genus: Argiope
Species: Argiope aurantia
Binomial Name: Argiope aurantia

Habitat and Distribution

You may find yellow and black spiders with red legs in sunny fields, in concealed areas with little or no wind. They make homes along the eaves of buildings, tall vegetation, houses, etc.
Their webs are made two to eight feet off the ground and the female spiders stay in one place throughout their life. These spiders are found in southern Canada and throughout America. However, they are not common in the Rocky Mountains and the Canada Great Basin area.


These spiders are easy to identify because of their distinctive color markings. Their legs have alternate bands of black and orange color and a pattern that varies from spider to spider. Like most spider species, the females are larger than the males.
They are about 19 mm to 28 mm in size as compared to males that measure only 5 mm to 8 mm. The males have a paler color shade as opposed to the bright-colored females. Yellow and black spiders produce a zig-zag pattern of webs down the middle. The webs are built as a spiral from the center and most probably by nearby males.


Yellow and black garden spiders breed once a year. The male finds a female spider and builds a small web near her web. Then he starts plucking her web and approaches with caution to court her. The male spider often drops a safety line just in case the female attacks him. The male unfortunately dies after mating or is eaten up by the female.
The females lay their eggs on a silky material sheet and cover it with a layer of silk. The eggs are then protected with a brownish silk, and the females use their legs to form a ball of the sheet. This ball is called the egg sac and is often suspended from the web. There are 1 to 4 egg sacs produced by each female, and each contains over a thousand eggs.
These eggs are closely guarded by the females for as long as possible. In winter, they become frail and die during the first hard frost. The babies hatch in spring and are so tiny that they look like dust collected in the silk mesh. These spiderlings live nearby and some get caught in a breeze and are flown to distant areas.


These spiders spend most of their time in their webs and wait patiently to catch food. Once an insect is caught in the web, they shake the web back and forth to trap it. They then reach the insect and inject venom in it by biting it.
The prey thus gets subdued and is wrapped by the spiders with their back legs. This wrapped prey is kept in the middle of the nest till the spiders are hungry. They love eating aphids, grasshoppers, wasps, and bees.
Many people are scared of getting bitten by these spiders. However, these creatures are not considered to be dangerous. They may bite when provoked, but the venom won't cause much of a problem to humans. They are relatively harmless.
These spiders are very helpful as they eat the aphids, flies, mosquitoes, as well as other garden pests. The next time you spot a yellow and black spider in your garden, do not disturb it and it will do no harm to you.