Orb-weaving spiders produce the familiar flat, ornate, circular webs usually associated with spiders. Orbweavers come in many shapes and sizes, but the brightly colored garden orbweavers, Argiope, are the largest and best-known. The yellow garden spider, Argiope aurantia, is marked with yellow, black, orange or silver. The female body is more than 1 inch long with much longer legs. It is also known as the black and yellow garden spider and sometimes the writing spider because of a thickened interwoven section in the web’s center. Male Argiope, often less than 1/4 the size of females, can sometimes be found in the same web with the female.
- Garden orbweavers are so named because their webs can be found in fields, on fences, around homes and in other locations.
- The spinybacked orbweaver, Gasteracantha cancriformis, is another distinctive orbweaver common in wooded areas. The unusual flattened, spiny body shape makes it look like a crab. Abdomen colors include white, yellow, orange or red.
- Orbweavers are generally harmless but can be a nuisance when they build large webs in places inconvenient for humans.