Argiope Argentata – Silver Garden Spider

The silver garden spider, Argiope argentata, is a common orb weaver in the warm and humid regions in the Southern United States, Central America, the Caribbean and South America. It spins large, orb shaped webs to catch flying insects. As other Argiope spiders, the silver garden spider is often seen in the center of the web with its eight legs spread out in pairs, forming an x-shape. The abdomen of the silver garden spider is white or silver with five spines with orange, yellow and black markings on them.

Argiope Argentata Spider Description

The silver Argiope has a silver or white cephalothorax (head) and abdomen. The back of the abdomen is adorned with several spines with orange, yellow and black coloration. The legs are orange with several black or dark brown bands towards the end.

Argiope argentata Silver Argiope information
A beautiful silver argiope in its web.

The light-colored body parts are reflecting UV-light similar to flowers. This feature and the peculiar shape of the spider confuses butterflies, moths and other prey animals into thinking that the spider is a flower that can be pollinated. As soon as the touch the web, they’ll get stuck and the spider will deal a paralyzing bite before wrapping them up in silk.

The spider is most commonly seen in the center of its web with its legs spread out in pairs, forming an x-shape. The underside of the spider has a yellow or white horizontal stripe on a dark background.

Size

As other argiope spiders, the silver argiope is a relatively large spider with long legs. An average female specimen reaches a body size of 0.5 inches (12 mm) with the possibility of growing up to 1 inch (24 mm). With its legs spread out, the spider can reach a size of up to 3 inches (7 cm).

The male spider is much smaller than the female, reaching only about 30% of the female’s body size. Argiope aurantia is also one of the spider species where the male is killed and often consumed after mating.

Silver garden spider in web with prey
A silver argiope with prey found in California.

Web

As part of the orb weaver family of spiders, Argiope argentata spins a large orb-shaped web to catch flying insects. The web can be several feet in diameter and is often spun between trees or large flowers, trees, prickly-pear plants or on front porches.  

As the body of the spider, the silk used to spin the web also reflects UV-light to attract pollinating prey animals.

Argiope aurantia often builds stabilimenta into its web to add additional stability. These elements often look like white zig-zag shapes in the web. This behavior is similar to that of other Argiope spiders in the United States such as the black and yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia) or the banded garden spider (Argiope trifasciata).

female Silver argiope in web with stabilimenta
A female silver garden spider in its web with zigzag stabilimenta.

Argiope Spider Bite

Argiope spiders are non-aggressive spiders and rarely bite humans or pets. In the rare cases where a bite happens, it generally does not have any effects other than some localized pain and swelling, similar to a bee sting. It is still advisable to treat and bite with disinfectants to prevent secondary infections.

Garden spiders are great to have around the house for insect control as the catch annoying mosquitoes and other flying insects.

Geographic Range of the silver garden spider in the United States

Due to its preference for warm and humid weather, the silver argiope only occurs in the Southern United States in Southern California, Florida, Arizona and Texas. Outside the United States, the spider is found in Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

Argiope Argentata Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Arachnida
  • Order: Araneae
  • Infraorder: Araneomorphae
  • Family: Aranidae
  • Genus: Argiope
  • Species: Argiope argentata
Argiope Argentata – Silver Garden Spider

11 thoughts on “Argiope Argentata – Silver Garden Spider

  1. I didn’t see this one myself, but this image was sent to me by a friend from the Dallas, Texas area for identifying. I’m usually pretty good at figuring out what species she sends me (although my own expertise is tarantulas rather than true spiders), but this guy stumped me. At first I considered some type of weaver by its stance, and currently I’m leaning towards some type of crab spider, but I can’t seem to find anything matching that yellow and red abdomen pattern anywhere! At this point, I’m just curious. Sorry I don’t have a better picture!

  2. Spider I found in my backyard, only a bit bigger than a dollar coin. Primarily yellow with long legs that have black and white stripes. I tried using the identification but my location isn’t an available choice and I think that tainted the results. Location is Ponce PR

    1. Hi there, nice username 🙂 Thanks for getting in touch! This is our first PR identification request, awesome! This is definitely some type of garden orb weaver of the genus Argiope.
      They are not medically significant and are actually great to have around for pest control. It’s hard to identify the exact species off the picture alone but it is most likely a silver garden spider (Argiope argentata). You can read more about them here:
      https://usaspiders.com/argiope-argentata-silver-garden-spider/
      It is also possible that it is either Argiope blanda or Argiope florida

  3. Found outside near Dayton/Old River Winfree Texas. Thorax and head are roughly the size of a quarter. (1/2)

    1. Found outside near Dayton/Old River Winfree Texas. Thorax and head are roughly the size of a quarter. (2/2)

    2. Hello Lana, thanks for getting in touch! This lady is a black and yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia). They are sometimes also called zigzag spiders because of the zigzag patterns in their webs or banana spider (several spiders share that common name). They are not medically significant and great to have around as their web catches small annoying flying insects: https://usaspiders.com/argiope-aurantia-yellow-garden-spider/

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