The spider species Argiope aurantia is commonly known as the yellow garden orb weaver, black and yellow garden spider, writing spider, or corn spider. It is common to the contiguous United States, Hawaii, southern Canada, Mexico, and Central America. They have distinctive yellow and black markings on their abdomens and a mostly white cephalothorax. The etymology of its name means "gilded silver-face". Like other members of Argiope they are considered harmless to humans.
The web of the yellow garden spider is distinctive: a circular shape up to 2 feet in diameter, with a dense zigzag of silk (seen toward the bottom center), known as a stabilimentum, in the center. The purpose of the stabilimentum is disputed. It is possible that it acts as camouflage for the spider lurking in the web's center, but it may also attract insect prey, or even warn birds of the presence of the otherwise difficult-to-see web. Only those spiders that are active during the day construct stabilimenta in their webs.
Photo captured September 2, 2013.
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