Argiope Aurantia – Black and Yellow Garden Spider

Arigope Aurantia Spider

The Argiope Aurantia or black and yellow garden spider appears in every US state and in many other countries around the world. It is characterized by its black and yellow abdomen and a beautifully patterned web. Argiopes are Orb Weavers, but due to their differences from other Orb Weavers, they are often put into their own group.

Argiope Spider Description

The Black & Yellow Argiope is very easy to identify, as it looks completely different from any other spider. The cephalothorax always has a light gray, white or silvery shade to it. The abdomen is nearly twice the size and very oblong, with a wide black area running down the center and the sides covered with yellow patches. The long, thinner legs will be orange (Dark Yellow) close to the body with black becoming more prominent out towards the ends. Apart from its colors, it is very similar to the Argiope trifasciata or banded garden spider and the silver garden spider (Argiope argentata).

Aurigope aurantia in its web
An Argiope aurantia in its web. Photo by Henry from Louisiana

Argiope Aurantia Quick Facts

Abdomen – Large (more than double the cephalothorax) and oblong shaped. Usually black with white and yellow patterns.

Cephalothorax – White (or light Gray) and slightly dull and fuzzy looking.

Female Size – The body of the female Argiope can grow to be a little larger than one inch (25 mm). Including the legs, they can grow to over three inches, making them one of the largest spiders in Michigan.

Male Size – Much smaller than the female. Male Yellow Garden spiders are typically only 1/4 inches.

Argiope Aurantia Web

Like other Orb Weavers, the Argiopes spin large round webs for catching flying insects. However, the one way you can tell an Argiope’s web from any other is the thick zigzag pattern towards the center of the web. It is believed that is special decoration of the web should make the spider appear larger and more dangerous to predators.

Argiope Spider Bite

The Argiope bite is not dangerous to humans. The worst bites will cause some mild localized pain, itchiness, and swelling that will fade in a few days. Most bites will not even be that bad.

Distribution of the black and yellow garden spider in the USA

Argiope Aurantia – Black and Yellow Garden Spider range map

The black and yellow garden spider can be found in every US state – Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Argiope aurantia Spider Pictures

Black and Yellow Arigope Spider in web
The beautiful black and yellow garden spider. Photography by: Tim C. – Montague, Mi.
Arigope Aurantia with web
An Argiope aurantia in her web in a garden
The bottom side of an Argiope aurantia seen by William in New Jersey

Argiope Aurantia Scientific Classification

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

Other common names

Black and yellow garden spider, yellow garden spider, golden garden spider, writing spider, zigzag spider, hay spider, corn spider, McKinley spider.

Zig-zag spider in web
In this picture, it becomes clear, why Argiope aurantia is also called the zigzag spider. Photo by Owen taken in Waco, Texas
Argiope Aurantia – Black and Yellow Garden Spider

80 thoughts on “Argiope Aurantia – Black and Yellow Garden Spider

  1. Here in the Upstate part of South Carolina (northwest corner), we call this arigope aurantia the “zipper spider” because of the thick zig-zag appearance of their webs. Gorgeous!!

    1. Folks here in Alabama call it a banana spider for whatever reasons. Lol I’m originally from Michigan. I’ve never seen them til I came to Alabama. And they’re larger than 3 inches

      1. Along the gulf states there is another species of spider they call banana spiders. They are yellow but definitely look more banana-like. I’m from Florida and they are everywhere in heavily wooded or swampy areas.

        Pic related

      2. I’m from Alabama and while a lot of people call them that for lack of knowing their actual name, I don’t call them that. I call them God’s reminder that fear is still a very real concept.

    1. — gently and slowly cup the spider with both hands – no sudden or rapid movements. It will walk onto your hands and then you can slowly move it to a new location. Do not completely enclose or trap her. You aren’t going to get bit unless you squeeze or trap her – even if you get bit, it’s no biggie. Don’t be all jumpy and she will go along with the transfer.

      1. I have now seen my first of this species and am very happy to know that I dont have to worry about its bite. The coloring is beautiful. Which made it easy to find. I’m not going to bother it and leave it alone now knowing it’s not poisonous. Thanks for your great information. Really helped!

  2. We have had a resident Argiope since mid-August. In early September she put up an egg sac right outside a window so we have a great view. Readings indicated that she would die soon after but she hung in there. One day we noticed she was gone; we mourned; she returned a couple days later; jubilation. (We really like her.) A week ago, she was gone again. And today, she is back. (The yellow markings match up exactly.) Two questions: Why is she still alive after putting up the egg sac? What gives with the leaving and coming back? Thanks for thoughts.

    1. Wow. Trying to over my phobia with knowledge. Lol. Just noticed one this morning under eave of carport. Beautiful web. Have it on security camera so will be following close from a distance, & take pics. Gotta love retirement. ♡
      Would love updates on your orb weaver

    1. Hello Walter, this is the web of an Argiope orb weaver. They are also called zig-zag spiders because of the stabilimenta in their webs. The spider in the picture is most likely Argiope aurantia. Here is an overview of the most common Argiope species in the U.S.:

    1. Hello Leila, this is the web of an Argiope orb weaver. They are also called zig-zag spiders because of the stabilimenta in their webs. The spider in the picture is most likely Argiope aurantia. Here is an overview of the most common Argiope species in the U.S.:

  3. Found this guy{probably girl} on a friend’s tire pile. This is in Pine City, Minnesota. My friend lives on a horse/goat/pig farm if relevant. I don’t really have much description of it more than the pictures can show. I didn’t want to get much closer.

  4. This spider was outside in a huge web on the side of my house. The web has braided parts to it. I kept knocking the web down and by the next day it was back. The spiders legs were pink on the bottom.

    1. Hello Andrea, thanks for uploading this photo. This is a black and yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia). It’s not a medically significant spider and great to have around the home as they will catch small flying pests with their webs. They rebuild their web daily. You can remove her safely with a cup and a piece of cardboard and relocate her. Here is more information about these spiders:

  5. I am not a fan of spiders although I’m trying to become more comfortable with them. Here is a photo of my friend in the garden, who i check on every day and am happy to see her. I found this page when I was trying to find out what her life expectancy is. Winter is only 3 months away…

  6. Found this outside my apartment when I got home. Subsequently wanted to burn my apartment down. Should I be worried about it?

    I am in Austin, TX

      1. Thank you for the information USA Spiders! I was worried I’d have to file a renter’s insurance claim. 😉

        Leaving her be as she’s not posing any harm. Thank you for the information!


  7. I live near Tulsa, Oklahoma and found this spider on my front porch (North side of the house). It’s created a web from my siding to the chairs and cathouse and has caught at least 1 cicada and a grasshopper. There’s also a brownish-orange substance that has dripped down from each victim, similar in looks to spray foam insulation. My wife is deathly afraid of spiders, but I like to think of it as my pet. The web has long shoots attaching itself to the furniture and is not particularly round, but it has been effective. Any ideas?

  8. Along the gulf states there is another species of spider they call banana spiders. They are yellow but definitely look more banana-like. I’m from Florida and they are everywhere in heavily wooded or swampy areas.

    Pic related

  9. I recently had to re-locate one of these golden orb weavers from my vehicle. She settled easily and had a new web on my garage within hours. I also tried to re-locate her eggsac (which had been formed less than one week ago) but for whatever reason *ahem*… never mind my screaming and flinging it then finding it and tried unsuccessfully to gently toss it into her web… it landed in the garage in a pile of junk. Will it hatch okay there if left undisturbed? This is late August in south Texas.

    Thank you

    1. Hello Jennifer, thanks for getting in touch! The spiderlings in the eggsac could also develop outside the web if it is not disturbed by predators such as ants or other animals.

  10. This is a big spider as it’s about 3 1/2″ or more from tip to tip of the legs. I was told that it is a banana spider although the abdomen is different. This one is big enough to take care of some big bugs, yea!!

  11. I forgot to tell where this beautiful spider is. It’s living on the side of my shed in Aiken, SC. Here is another photo that shows its size.

  12. Will she die with the first frost or will she survive inside?
    Can I transfer her to my unused Butterfly enclosure & feed her flies after she builds a web?
    Sounds crazy but it’s a shame to see her gone now that I’m attached to her.

  13. Hi! I’m a preschool teacher in North Dakota and we have y zigzag spider outside of our classroom.

    I was curious how active they are? Yesterday she was super busy spinning her web, but today she hasn’t moved in about 6 hours. I’m not super familiar with spider behavior so I don’t know if they typically are pretty chill or if I should be worried. 🙁

    (Sorry the photos not great, it’s taken through a window. If this isn’t the right species can someone let me know what it is?)

  14. Female with freshly laid egg sack. Please identify. This is a pretty big Alabama spider, almost the size of my palm! Also, are the tiny “bubbles” in the sack individual eggs? About what percentage will hatch? Thank you for any knowledge you can share.

    1. Hello Dawn, this is a female black and yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia). Depending on what time they will hatch and where the egg sac is stored during the cold months, the majority of the spiders may hatch from the eggs. They actually usually hatch before winter but don’t leave the egg sac until spring comes. By then, not all spiderlings may still be alive:

  15. This spider was “guarding” our mailbox. Is this a young yellow garden spider? The head looks spray painted silver. Now relocated to a bush. I’ve seen many of these around NJ. I live in cape may county. I just call them “orb weavers”.

  16. Here is the larger of the two spiders that set up shop above my front door in Blythewood, SC. Last night it caught a large flying insect and quickly immobilized it with a bite and rapid web spinning. It backed off for a minute, but when the insect started moving it ran back in and appeared to bite it again.

  17. We have 4 or 5 writing spiders (garden spiders) and about a dozen Golden Silk Orb Weavers around our house in east central Alabama. The Golden Silk orb weaver’s webs are so cool. My daughter and I sit and watch these ladies do their thing. So fun to watch. We also have no flies or mosquitoes anywhere around our house. Even with the goats and chickens and the flies they used to draw, there are basically none now. I suppose the animals and the flies they draw is why the all the orb weavers moved in. We actually started with just a couple, but they have been busy reproducing and are everywhere now. Here are a pic of one of the orb weavers compared to my daughter’s hand.

  18. This has been hanging around my garage lately. A little over 2 1/2 inches long, including legs. Located in Hertford NC (northeastern area of state).

  19. We call her our Texas Spider in the Sky. My husband likes her so much he’s catching flies & wasps and throwing them her way. She is so happy! It’s too funny watching him feed her!

  20. southwest oklahoma. this summer’s been great, there are three huge orb weavers around the house. my wife and I caught this big girl entertaining company while we were out walking. it always amazes me how teeny tiny the males are.

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