The Itsy Bitsy...Whoa Wait Just One Minute!

First off let me say that I am seriously terrified of spiders. I'm frozen in fear when I see one in my house. They don't belong in houses. Now don't reprimand me, but when I get up the nerve to get close enough to, no not capture and release, but to annihilate them with a quick slap of my shoe I do.

Argiope with zig zag in center of web

I really do appreciate them though, but only when they are outside. And I really do find them fascinating to watch. Last summer the most amazing black an yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia) appeared overnight and built her web on the outside window screen. I watched her from inside every day. One day my neighbor came over and we watched her being busy with what looked like a large insect, a cicada. It looked like she was wrapping it up like a curled leaf. We later realized that this was not a cicada but rather her first egg sac. The next morning the sac was attached far up on her web to the right of her center position. Each papery sac contains the about 300 to 1400 eggs, which hatch in the fall but the spiderlings don't emerge from the sac until the following spring. In the course of the summer she produced 3 more egg sacs. I have no idea where 1200 to 5600 spiderlings will go when they emerge. But I'm trying to figure out how to catch the spectacle of these little guys and gals.

Argiope with egg sac - photo fromh ttp://

My neighbor and me watched her all summer. Then one morning in early September she was gone. Vanished like a dream. We both scoured the ground but there was no trace. Nothing. We surmised that she had probably died and fell into the air conditioning unit that supported some of her web. We were sad. All that remained was the web with the zig zag design down the center and the 4 egg sacs. Here's a you tube video of Argiope working on her egg sac it's very short:

martysmax martysmax
61-65, F
2 Responses Jan 21, 2013

Spiders are our friends. The rule in my house is to call me and I gently help them outside. They are all Gods creatures.

I agree but I am immobilized when a large one is inside. Actually terrified. I have though, sometimes managed to approach with a glass jar, a piece of card stock, cover, slide said card stock, and release. Not always just sometimes. Just looked today at the egg sacs, one looks damaged. I'd kinda like to snip another from the web and place into a large pickle jar to observe the emergence of the spiderlings. Have to do a little research as to the feasibility.

Spiders are most definitely interesting creatures. And you are right, their webs seem to appear out of nowhere. Fast work, they do. I usually see a few Argiopes each year. Thanks for filling me in on the fancy name...I always used the common name Banana spider. :-)
Here is one in my photos.

I love how you and your neighbor watched The Spider Show! Me and a friend watched two spiders mating one time. They went at it for over 45 minutes! Or at least that is how long we watched. They looked like they could do it for hours.