The Signature Spider

This spider weaves four zig zag stripes in its web, and holds its legs together in pairs. It holds its legs in pairs to disguise itself as a four legged creature; it does this to not appear to look like a spider.

The Signature Spider

Image via Wikimedia

The Signature Spider

These spiders have many names around the world, they are known as an Argiope, a Black and Yellow Garden Spider or a Writing Spider in North America. It is known as Wasp Spider in Germany and the rest of Europe and the St Andrews Cross spider in Austrailia. They know it as KOGANE-GUMO in Japan and East Asia. There are 75 different species of this spider but they all look the same. Their colours vary in between their stripes but they all keep the black and yellow stripes, for example they could have a blue or red thin ring in between the stripes and their heads could be a different colour.

They build their web only about a meter off the ground to catch the low flying insects such as bees and wasps that travel from flower to flower. Their web is almost invisiable, only for the zig zag strips on the web you wouldnt see it. These zig zag strips are known as the stabilmentum, they form these strips to warn bigger animals of its location, so they wont destroy it by walking through it.

When they have the web built, they line up their legs with the white strips of zig zaging silk. The centre of the web is hollow and this is where the spider sits. They group their legs together to appear as a four legged creature but also for another reason. When their legs are together, their hairs on their legs intertwine and act as a sun reflector along with the bright white X in its web. They do this because they know bright colours attract insects such as bees and wasps. Their legs reflect the sun and with their brightly coloured body they fool the insects into thinking they are a flower, pretty sneaky wouldn’t you think.

Image via fotocommunity.com

Like most spiders the male is much smaller than the female, and after mating the female will kill the male. The male spins a web along side the females web known as a companion web, after mating the female will lay her eggs onto this companion web and wrap them up into a sac. This sac can hold from 400 to 1,400 eggs inside, they hatch in the autum but they remain locked inside until spring. Spiders are canabals and they eat each other to stay alive in the sac until they are strong enough to break through the sac walls.

Signature spiders are able to eat an insect twice its size, and this is all they eat. Their venom is harmless to humans like most spiders but will bite you if you start poking at it. Other than defense these spiders have no interest in biting anything larger than itself. Their venom is used world wide for therapeutic medical agents and used as an agent in some beauty products.

Image via Wikipedia

Image via Wikipedia

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12 Responses to “The Signature Spider”
  1. Debra Mann Says...

    On March 9, 2009 at 7:49 am

    I tried so hard not to look at the pictures, Phew! Well documented piece, Stephen! You guys and your creepy crawlies! Eeew!


  2. Joni Keith Says...

    On March 9, 2009 at 11:55 am

    I don’t like spiders. I think it’s interesting that this particular spider is cannibalistic. I think it’s wonderful that they eat their own kind. Another informative article.


  3. papaleng Says...

    On March 9, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Wow! this is great article, I’ve learned few things about this spider species. thanks for sharing.


  4. Daisy Peasblossom Says...

    On March 9, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    I like spiders. Very useful critters, although I do prefer them out-of-doors. These are very colorful. Nice article.


  5. mysticdave Says...

    On March 9, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    interesting article:)


  6. Glynis Smy Says...

    On March 10, 2009 at 9:18 am

    What a fascinating article!


  7. CutestPrincess Says...

    On March 10, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    great article from you again! impressive photos!


  8. Bren Parks Says...

    On March 10, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    Wow, those are amazing…..


  9. Ozarkgirl Says...

    On March 16, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Great article. The pictures though are a little scary. I am one that does not like spiders, and I scream every time for my husband when I see one..lol. But this was really informative, I am going to share this article with my husband who loves spiders…Yuck!!


  10. grace Says...

    On July 14, 2009 at 9:41 am

    I have a writing spider that i caught @ my house and last night i saw another spider in my female spiders web that was a little bit smaller than her but looked quite like her but brown. (i have no clue how the other spider got in that cage!) But i was wondering if the spider i saw on her web that she had eaten was the male or not????


  11. Ashley K Says...

    On July 23, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    Thank you! This is the first article that has given me the information I needed to identify a spider that has decided to make it’s home on my porch. I’m happy to know that she’s gonna help keep the wasp population down at me house. lol


  12. Stephen Cardiff Says...

    On September 8, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    Grace it is quite possiable that the smaller brown spider is a male but could be from a different species trying its luck and she just ate him. The carcus after being sucked dry could have discoloured the males abdomen… the signature spider should have a black stripe on its back but it would be very hard to distinguise if it was a male by the description you gave me but it is possiable…


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