Argiope appensa – Hawaiian Argiope

Argiope appensa - Hawaiian Argiope in United States

Argiope appensa is an orb-weaving spider, commonly known as Hawaiian Argiope. They are native to islands around the Pacific Ocean, especially Indonesia, Taiwan and Australia. Through ship trade, the have also been introduced to the islands of Hawaii where they are a common sight.

These spiders inhabit a wide variety of habitats. During the rainy season, you can find them along the roadside and cultivated areas. In Hawaii, they are commonly referred to as Hawaiian garden spiders.

Quick Overview: Argiope appensa – Hawaiian Argiope
Medically significant: No
Main colors: Black, Brown, Yellow
Range: Hawaii and other islands around the Pacific Ocean
Web: orb-shaped web

Argiope appensa description

These spiders have a pentagon-shaped abdomen and darker cephalothorax with eight eyes and banded legs. Females are strikingly black and yellow while males are brown and drab in color. Typically, female spiders are much larger than males. They are more colorful as well.

The heptagonal abdomen of the larger female is usually a strong yellow, adorned with a number of black patterns:

Range of  Argiope appensa - Hawaiian Argiope in United States
Argiope appensa – Hawaiian Argiope. Source: Wikipedia

Unlike other spiders, these spiders can live harmoniously with other spiders, they don’t mind being near other spiders of their own or other genera.

A. appensa can be confused with the closely related silver garden spider (Argiope argentata) which is found in the Southern United States. But since A. argentata is not found in Hawaii, their ranges don’t overlap in the U.S., making a confusion impossible.


As said, Females are larger than males which are about 2’’-2.5’’ (5.1-6.4 com) long including their legs while males can only reach a maximum body size of .75’’ (1.9 cm). Males may be up to 4 times smaller than these female spiders.


Aside from being large, these orb-weaving spiders create beautiful eye-capturing webs. The large orb-shaped webs often have a thicker white zig-zag line running through the center. The use of these thicker elements is still discussed among scientists. Some argue that the spider adds these visible elements to its web to prevent birds from flying into and damaging the web. Others claim that the elements serve as stabilimenta to protect the web from strong winds.

Argiope appensa - Hawaiian Argiope in United States

Hawaiian argiope bite

Like other orb weavers, the Hawaiian Argiope is not medically significant. A bite can cause some local swelling, redness or mild pain – usually considerably less painful than a bee sting. Argiope and other orbweavers are great to have around the house as they catch flying insects with in their webs – great free pest control.

Argiope appensa Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Arachnida
  • Order: Araneae
  • Infraorder: Araneomorphae
  • Family: Araneidae
  • Genus: Argiope
  • Species: Argiope appensa

Distribution of Argiope appensa in the USA

As its common name suggests, the Hawaiian Argiope is common on the Hawaiian islands as well as on other islands around the Pacific Ocean (e.g. Taiwan, Australia, Indeonesia, etc.)

Argiope appensa – Hawaiian Argiope

One thought on “Argiope appensa – Hawaiian Argiope

  1. Hi, I’m on the Big Island of Hawaii and saw these two spiders staying close together. Is the smaller spider a male? They seemed to be tolerating each other relatively well, for now.

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