Argiope Aurantia – Black and Yellow Garden 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

6 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. — 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.

  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.

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