Itsy Bitsy Spider

On the way back from the museum a couple weeks ago, we were driving into our section of the neighborhood and in a grove of crepe myrtles and rose bushes planted in the median, I noticed this Bigass Spider.  I have this sort of simultaneous fascination and revulsion of giant spiders, which I bet is pretty common.  I like to look at them, but if I think about it too much, it gives me the willies.  Anyway, I let the family off at the house and came back with my camera. Turns out there are at least 8 of these spiders living in the grove, and they're all big.  I took several photos, but without traipsing through the rose bush thorns or getting closer to these beasts than I could stomach, I couldn't get a good angle that minimized background distractions.  This is the best of the bunch.  No HDR with this shot; just a little sharpening and cropping.

For the curious, I did a little Google research and determined that it's a Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope Aurantia).  The one you see here is apparently female; the males are smaller and less colorful.  Despite the wicked looks, garden spiders are harmless to humans and devour pest insects .  So unless the location of the web is really a problem, it's best to leave them alone and let them do their thing.


  1. doh - blogger ate my comment. 2nd try...
    I think the pic is great. In your artist's eye, the background is annoying, but I don't notcce it. Focus is def on the spider.
    I think locally, here, they are known as "wish" spiders...something about the zig zag in the web and how if you make a wish it steals your soul. Or something..I can't quite remember.

  2. Thanks bro! I like the name wish spider more, although the idea of a soul-stealing web is kinda creepy.

  3. I finally got 'round to asking my father-in-law, who first told me about this species. I was all wrong...
    It is most commonly called a garden spider, but locally it is called a Writing spider, because the center design of the web looks like writing. I went lookin on the web, and apparently the 'stabilimenta' as it's called is UV reflective, attracting. So here is cut-n-paste about local legends from the site:


    Casey Hauser from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, sent us this urban legend about writing spiders: "I was always told when I was younger to never say your name or the name of a loved one around these spiders because any name they heard they would write in their web and that person would die." We had never heard this one before, but it is very interesting (and creepy). Thanks, Casey!

    Donna Welch from Abbeville, South Carolina, was told as a child that that a person will die if a writing spider "counts your teeth." This saying is also associated with millipedes. We hope it is not true for either organism!"

  4. Fascinating. I kind of like your wish spider story; you ought to start a new urban legend with it.

    When I lived in Brazil, the house I lived in had dozens of spiders about this size or bigger living in the eaves of the roof. They may have been the same species, I don't know. In my ignorant youth this was just too creepy and I bought some spray and killed them all (which was really dumb given how many insects there were buzzing around). Live and learn.


Post a Comment