Writer Spiders

Writer Spiders

Writer-Spiders
  • Common Name(s): Writer Spider, Yellow Garden Spider, Garden Spider, Zipper Spider, Black and Yellow Argiope, Yellow and Black Orb Weaver
  • Order: Araneae
  • Family: Araneidae
  • Common Species: Argiope aurantia
  • Commonly Confused With: Other Spiders

Characteristics

How to Identify?
Writer spiders possess a black and yellow abdomen (back section of a spider), usually with numerous yellow spots, and a cephalothorax (front section of a spider) that is covered with small silver or white hairs. The legs are typically black with yellow bands on different areas of the legs. The body of a writer spider is between 0.9-1.2 inches in length for females and 0.5-0.9 centimeters for males. Identification of writer spiders can sometimes be aided by looking at the spider’s web. Their webs will often time possess a zigzag pattern (stabilimentum) right down the middle.

Habitat

Where do they live?
These spiders only come inside as incidental pests. They are usually found outdoors in gardens, bushes, in between trees, and other areas that get plenty of sunlight and insects. If a writer spider does happen to make its way into your home, it was not intentional and it will not survive. They are a web dwelling spider and that is most often where they can be found. They will sit right in the center of their web and wait for prey to become ensnared. These spiders have strong webs compared to many other spider species, with some webs reaching up to 23 inches (that’s close to 2 feet!) in diameter.

Food Source

What do they eat?
Writer spiders are predators of insects and other arthropods (insects, spiders, crustaceans, millipedes, etc). They are not hunting spiders like some other species but instead spend most of their time on their webs.

Activity

What do they do?
These spiders like to build webs in areas that can inconvenience people as they go about daily activities. They can get in areas such as windows, door frames, walking paths, and other areas around the home. Most people are scared of them because of their sheer size, but they are beneficial predators and will not bite unless provoked. If bitten, the pain is similar to that of a bee sting but the bite is not medically significant (unless the person is allergic to the venom or if the bite becomes infected).

Fun Fact

Writer Spiders have an egg sac that is golden orange/yellow in color (see photo below). They usually place it close to their web and support it with many strands of silk. Since these spiders take such care to position their egg sacs it means that sometimes the sacs can be pretty tricky to get rid of!

Author: G. Wyatt West– B.S.E.S University of Georgia 2017; Board Certified Entomologist

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