In the meditation circle this morning numerous bees were flitting in and out of the Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue). Watching them back out of the purple, bell-shaped flowers made me smile.
one bee seemed to stumble awkwardly
and fall a foot or so
from the top of the blossom
it had targeted.
The bee struggled for a moment but then regained control and flew away, thus escaping the trap set by this ominous-looking spider.
I had not noticed the spider myself and was startled to realize its presence.
I think this is a Argiope aurantia (black and yellow garden spider), a common garden spider in the U.S. and not harmful to humans. This spider incorporates a dense white zigzag in the center of its orb web. This zigzag feature is a stabilimentum, the purpose of which is not confirmed, but one possibility is to warn birds away from the web. Interestingly stabilimenta are only found in spiders that are active during the day.