Subject: Pretty spider
November 27, 2013 5:54 am
Hello, I’m Nur from Malaysia. Usually the spiders I found are the normal small house spiders. But this one I found recently on my yard is kind of weird. It is colourful and too big compared to the ones I usually found.
Is it poisonous or dangerous in any ways? I’m worried to let my little sisters to play there with that unknown spider around…
Signature: Curious child
Dear Curious child,
The large spider in your photos is a female Orbweaver in the genus Argiope, and they are not considered dangerous spiders. Large specimens might bite and they do have venom, however the bite is not considered dangerous to humans. There may be a painful local reaction with swelling and tenderness, but there will be no lasting damage in the event a bite occurs. These spiders remain in their webs and they will not bite unless they are carelessly handled. If you look closely, you will see a much smaller spider in the web. This is the male. There is often a great size discrepancy between female Orbweavers, which can get very large, and their mates, which might be as little as 1/100 the size of the female. We will try to determine the species later in the day when we have additional time to do the research.
Update: November 30, 2013
It has been a slow mail day today, so we had a chance to get back to this posting. Searching the genus Argiope in Malaysia, we found a very similar image posted on this Malaysian Spider page, and they are identified as Argiope aemula. Armed with a name, we then found A Guide to Common Singapore Spiders and the common name St. Andrew’s Cross Spider, however that common name is already shared by a different species of in the same genus that is found in Australia. The common name St. Andrew’s Cross Spider refers to the X shaped stabilimentum that is woven into the orb web and which is nicely illustrated in one of your photos. Dave’s Garden also has a nice photo of your St. Andrew’s Cross Spider.