Tag Archives: Argiope aurantia (black and yellow garden spider)

Early Morning Garden In Early September

Facing west: Lantana camara (Common lantana)  in the Southern Border and Zinnia in Island Border

Facing west: Lantana camara (Common lantana) in the Southern Border and Zinnia in Island Border

After the cold winter Lantana camera took a long time to start growing this year. This was fine with me because it seemed too large the last couple of years. This perennial, deciduous shrub is invasive in some places further south and is very toxic. Butterflies are typically attracted to it but there have been very few takers this summer.

Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Both the lantana and this Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) were planted soon after the garden was established. I moved most of the Perovskia to another location because usually by now this is crowded out by the arching branches of lantana. This year it is holding up pretty well.

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) and Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) and Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Near the bottom of the branches the berries of Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) are ripening.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

This intimidating creature is Argiope aurantia, known as the Corn Spider or the Black and Yellow Garden Spider.

Argiope aurantia, (Corn Spider or Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

Argiope aurantia, (Corn Spider or Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

I was happy I did not disturb her web. She did not like being photographed so early in the morning.

Argiope aurantia, (Corn Spider or Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

Argiope aurantia, (Corn Spider or Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

She was very well camouflaged as I went to check out the Chrysanthemums. Upon closer observation the concentric circles of the web are visible against the dark green on the left.

Argiope aurantia, (Corn Spider or Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

Argiope aurantia, (Corn Spider or Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

Here is a view of one of these orb spiders from the top side in a photograph taken several years ago.

Argiope aurantia, (Corn Spider or Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

Argiope aurantia, (Corn Spider or Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

I was excited this morning to find several yellow irises poised to rebloom. These are passalongs so I do not know the name.

Reblooming Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Reblooming Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Reblooming Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Reblooming Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

 

 

Smiles and Starts

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.

Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue)

Suddenly

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.

Argiope aurantia (black and yellow garden 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.