Black and Yellow Zipper Spider Argiope aurantia

Black and Yellow Zipper Spider (Argiope aurantia)

The Acre is thick with giant spiders this time of year (nothing so invigorating as a mouthful of web and spider at sunrise).

Most are your run-of-the-mill orb-weaver spiders, fat bodied things that build enormous webs. But every so often I run across the much more impressive zipper spider, a big, black and yellow spider that builds a basket-shaped web much closer to the ground than the orb weaver.

It’s called a “zipper” spider because it makes a zig-zag portion of the web known as a “stabilimenta“, that either stabilizes the web, draws prey to the web, draws predators to the spider, or all of the above or something else, depending on whom you believe.

Regardless of the reason, the important part is that it looks like a zipper.

Anyway, I spotted this zipper spider in a patch of flowering oregano. It already had several moths tied up, which is why I think it was ignoring the bees caught in its web. Good for it. A nice spider.