Argiope aurantia
A yellow garden spider (July 29, 2001)

The current location for the web maximizes security, but minimizes the spider's ability to acquire food. It will have to improve on the latter as caloric intake requirements increase. Last year, a spider of the same species (possibly the mother for this one) started out in the same general area. As long as it stayed there, its diet was somewhat impoverished and it grew very slowly. One day that spider moved about 15 feet away to the vicinity of an outdoor light. The light attracted bugs all night long, and the spider grew quickly at that location. 

The photo on the right was taken while the present spider we are studying was at a hiding spot near the lower portion of the web.

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The spider chose to build a relatively simple stabilimentum for today's web. It looks much like that of July 26th. Is it trying various designs to see which will be most successful? Or is the daily variation we see merely an indicator of the spider's mood at the time it rebuilds the web?

As on previous mornings, when I approached it scampered down into the vegetation below. It is difficult to photograph it in the most secure hiding spot and, to date, I have not taken any photos of that location. When there, the spider positions its body with its legs slightly curled in a curious haphazard way. It actually looks like the spider is dead and has fallen there in a crumpled mass. I suspect this is a ploy intended to discourage a predator who would prefer "fresh meat." This spider has been building the web so that it is only six inches off the ground, possibly because this allows plenty of alternatives for hiding spots if a predator approaches. As it grows larger, and is better able to defend itself, the webs will probably be positioned much higher off the ground. 

Go back to July 26, 2001 * July 27, 2001 * July 28, 2001

Proceed on to * July 30, 2001 * July 31, 2001