black and yellow argiope

(Argiope aurantia)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

black and yellow argiope


NNR - Unranked


not listed




Large females seen late summer and fall


Gardens, fields, roadsides


Female: ¾ to 1 long

Male: ¼ to long

          Photo by Tom Baker


This may be the largest web-building spider in northern United States.

The adult female body is ¾ to 1 long.

The abdomen is egg-shaped and black. There is a vertical row of bold yellow spots on each side of the abdomen and two or three pairs of yellow spots in the middle.

The covering (carapace) of the front segment of the spider’s body (cephalothorax) is densely covered with short, silvery hairs. The sternum is black with a yellow vertical stripe.

The legs are ¾ to 2¾ long. The front legs are black with black femurs. The other legs are black with yellow femurs. Sometimes there are yellow bands on the legs. There are three claws on each foot.

The male is much smaller, ¼ to long.


The web is constructed vertically in a sunny location with a nearby retreat. It is flat, circular, and up to 24 or more in diameter, with 30 to 50 lines (spokes) radiating from the center. It is decorated with a pair conspicuous, zigzag, vertical lines (stabilimenta), one above and one below the center. The stabilimenta are made of multiple threads of non-sticky silk.

The purpose of the stabilimenta is a matter of debate. Some think that because they are highly reflective of ultraviolet light their purpose is to attract insects. Others believe that their purpose is to prevent damage to the web by making it visible to low flying birds. A study in 1998 supports the latter position.




Large flying insects

Life Cycle

After mating, the female produces usually 1 to 3, rarely 4, egg sacs and attaches them to her web. Each egg sac is round, papery, up to 1 in diameter, and contains 300 to 1,400 eggs. The eggs hatch in late summer or fall. The hatchlings overwinter in the egg sac, not leaving it until the spring of the following year.

Adults die in the first frost of the fall, having lived just over one year.


Adults are active day and night. The female sits head down in the center of her web, or concealed nearby in a rolled leaf, waiting for prey to be caught in the web.

Distribution Distribution Map   No information available





Araneae (spiders)





No Rank:

Entelegynae (eight-eyed spiders)


No Rank:







Araneidae (orb weavers)




black and yellow garden spider

black and yellow argiope

corn spider

writing spider

yellow garden argiope










On spiders, the hard, upper, shell-like covering of the cephalothorax.



The front part of a spider’s body, composed of the head region and the thoracic area fused together. Eyes, legs, and antennae are attached to this part.



A decoration of the web of certain orb spiders; thought to attract prey and conceal the spider.


























Visitor Photos

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Tom Baker

  black and yellow argiope   black and yellow argiope
  black and yellow argiope   black and yellow argiope







  Black and Yellow Garden Spider
  Black and Yellow Garden Spider  

Copyright DianesDigitals

  Black-and-Yellow Argiope (Argiope aurantia)
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Black-and-Yellow Argiope (Argiope aurantia)  
  Black-and-yellow Argiope (Argiope aurantia)
Bill Keim
  Black-and-yellow Argiope (Argiope aurantia)  
  Argiope aurantia (Yellow Garden Argiope)
Allen Chartier
  Argiope aurantia (Yellow Garden Argiope)  




Visitor Videos

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  "Yellow Garden Spider" filmed by Dan W Andree
Dan W. Andree

Published on Feb 22, 2017

A quick and up close look at a common, colorful spider known by several names such as Black and Yellow Garden spider, Golden Orbweaver, zig zag spider and several other names. About an inch in body length - legs not included. Add on the long legs and it can appear to be quite large overall. They typically build their webs in gardens, tall grassy areas etc. where they catch and seem to guard their food (insects). There is written text on this particular spider and what I have come to know about it at the beginning of the video so I will not go into any more detail here. Hope you enjoy it.


Other Videos

  Garden Spider (Argiope Aurantia) vs. Cicada Killer (Sphecius Speciosus) PLEASE READ INFO

Uploaded on Nov 22, 2008

This is probably the best video I have concerning the Black and Yellow Argiope Spider. The largest garden spider of the northern United States vs. one of the largest wasps in the world. This cicada killer was considerabaly alot larger than the Black and Yellow Argiope Spider, and I have never seen anything like this!

Please Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Best to watch in High qaulity!!!

-At 3:52, you can see the wasp's huge stinger
-From 2:55-end of video, blurriness is GONE!!
-From 3:57- 4:40, the spider wraps the wasp for the last time
-From 4:40-4:53, you can see the spider biting the wasp with her fangs (better if watched in high qaulity).

I will continue posting more wildlife videos. Please feel free to subscribe!

  Female Black and Yellow Argiope Orb Weaver Spider - (Argiope aurantia)
Thomas Shahan

Uploaded on Nov 22, 2009

She probably won't live much longer - these Argiopes supposedly live only a year and die during the winter - and it's already getting cold here.

For more spider photography and videos, head on over to

  Argiope Aurantia Wrapping Egg Sack (5)

Uploaded on Feb 8, 2007

This is about three hours after the argiope spider was persistently working on the egg sack, shown in the last video I posted. She is still working on the protective covering of that egg sack.

Please subscribe, and thanks for watching!





Visitor Sightings

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Tom Baker


black and yellow argiope







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