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Common Argiope Orb Weaver Spiders in Texas

BugsInTheNews is a VIEWER-PARTICIPANT WEBSITE. This article by Jerry Cates, Marvin W. (Kempner, TX), and Graham M. (East Texas), first published on 11 February 2011, was revised last on 7 July 2012. © Bugsinthenews Vol. 12:02(07)

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Araneidae: banded garden spider (Argiope trifasciata); dorsum; Maxine DM; Tyler, TX---15 Jul 2007

Araneidae: banded garden spider (Argiope trifasciata); dorsum; Stephen M., TX---21 Oct 2007

Araneidae: yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia); dorsum; Stephen M., Justin TX---21 Oct 2007

Araneidae: yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia); dorsum; Maxine DM, Tyler, TX---15 Jul 2007

Araneidae: silver garden spider (Argiope argentata); dorsum; Lutz S., Brownsville TX---21 Oct 2008

Araneidae: silver garden spider (Argiope argentata); dorsum; Lutz S., Brownsville TX---21 Oct 2008

This genus (Argiope) of  common orb weaver spiders (in the Araneidae family) is found worldwide and includes 76 known species.

Five of these species are found in North America, three of which are depicted here in the photos of their dorsal bodies. The three are relatively common and, when present, tend to be very visible to the casual observer.

As the females grow relatively large, and produce broad, spectacular webs, they tend to conflict with human activities when forced into close quarters. Since humans tend to win such conflicts, these spiders generally don’t hitchhike well on maritime or aerial vessels.

As a result, most species are found within a relatively limited locale. The banded garden spider (Argiope trifasciata) is an exception, being distributed around the world. The silver garden spider (Argiope argentata) is found in the southern U.S., from California to Florida, and southward through Mexico, Central America, and the northern portion of South America, as far south as Argentina. The yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia) is common throughout the 48 contiguous U.S. states,  southern Canada, Hawaii, Mexico, and Central America.

The generic name, Argiope, was first described in 1827 by the French naturalist Jean Victoire Audouin (1797-1841) , who attributed the epithet to a colleague, Marie Jules Cesar Savigny, and variously spelled it Argyope in the French format. The word is from a Greek proper name, Αργιóπη. Though the name is used for four figures from Greek mythology, it translates to “silver face,” or “bright (white) face,” and is a reference to the fact that the carapace of these spiders is brightly clothed in silvery white hairs.

jc

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2 comments to Common Argiope Orb Weaver Spiders in Texas

  • Claude White

    We have two of these females ( Argiope aurantia) in my garden this year, and i saw the much smaller males earlier in the season. They males have already moved on, I’m assuming they have died in the natural course of events. We refer to them as ‘the ladies’ and consider them valuable members of the family.

    One of the ladies has unusual coloration, her body seems to lack the natural dark markings across her abdomen, having never seen this before, I was tying to find out how variable the coloration is. I’ve had no luck finding information so far, So I thought I’d ask. I’m just SE of Burleson, TX,

  • Me again. After i posted earlier i went out and photographed the pale lady. I have provided a link to my blog post with The best pic I could get.

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