Closer to Home: The Black and Yellow Argiope

I have to say that I get pretty excited about finding some animals near our home. Does this mean I’ll go poke snakes and spiders? Well, okay, not usually. Unless it’s really cool and I’ve never seen it before. And I usually don’t poke so much as safely catch, identify, and release. Does this process mean I will take pictures of them from a respectable distance? Totally! No animal goes on our life list unless we’ve got photographic evidence of it.

Preliminary disclaimer: you shouldn’t handle an animal, especially in the wild, if you don’t know what you’re doing. That goes for feral dogs, bugs, and even box turtles. If you do think you know what you’re doing, ask advice from a buddy. If they think you shouldn’t touch it, don’t touch it! You should also definitely wash your hands before and after touching anything wild so you don’t transmit anything to or from them.

And, off the soapbox and on to the fun…

We’ve had this pretty little girl living outside for the past week or so. She is what’s known as a black and yellow argiope (or as I found out the other day, a garden spider). Argiopes are a genus of spiders that are known for creating zip-line webs; they are easily recognizable for their coloring and size (they grow to be 1-2 inches long in body near us).

I heard somewhere that if you have an argiope in your yard that it’s a sign you have a healthy ecosystem. Not sure if that means you have a good population of bugs or that the spiders are especially susceptible to pesticides.

Fun story: she caught a ladybug while we were there, so we took some pictures of her wrapping it to eat later.

She got it all wrapped up within a minute or so. When we came back a few hours later, she had moved it and was eating, so we decided it was probably dinnertime for us as well..

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