Bug of the Month: August 2006 – Golden Orb Weaver or Yellow and Black Orb Weaver

Argiope aurantia
what a great site you have, though it’s late here, and I think I may have dreams of creepy crawlies all night long. I found this pider which I believe is an Argiope aurantia in my front garden this evening while weeding. I was digging into the middle of the Daylilies when a movement caught my eye….very close movement. This beauty was hanging about 2" from my nose as I turned toward the movement. Just reminds us that no matter how much we think we control our flower patches, nature is just waiting to jump out and give us the heebie jeebies…. thanks
Mike Kunnick
Minneapolis. Minnesotbra

Hi Mike,
With August rapidly approaching, it is time to choose a new Bug of the Month. We have been considering the Golden Orb Weaver, Argiope aurantia as a perfect candidate, and your photo arrived just in time to be prominently featured at the top of our homepage throughout the month of August. This gorgeous female is a textbook example of the species, and your photo also shows the stabilimentum, the zigzag pattern she weaves into her web to help camoflauge her.

Correction or Not?????
(08/08/2006) Wrong common name
Dear Bug of the Month person:
You have the Bug of the Month as the Argiope Aurantia and are calling it the Golden Orb Weaver. The Golden Orb Weaver is actually Nephila clavipes. The common name for Argiope aurantia is Yellow and Black Garden Spider.
Elizabeth Mule’
Jr. ambassador: American Tarantula Society
Arachnoculture Rules!

Dear Elizabeth,
Oh what a tangled web we weave when we deign to use common names. First we partially agree with you. We have seen Argiope aurantia listed as both the Yellow and Black Orb Weaver and the Golden Orb Weaver as well as the Black and Yellow Garden Spider. Our hero Charles Hogue calls it the Golden Orb Weaver in his phenomenal book “Insects of the Los Angeles Basin”. We have seen Nephila clavipes listed commonly as the Golden Silk Spider or Banana Spider, but never Golden Orb Weaver. The golden refers to the color of the silk and not the color of the spider. We have also seen Banana Spider used in conjunction with the Huntsman Spider, Heteropoda venatoria. Common names often differ from location to location, and occasionally, very localized names, especially if they are colorful or descriptive, come into greater usage thanks to the internet. We will post your comments. Also when using the Linnean binomial system, never, never, never capitolize the species name. Argiope Aurantia should read Argiope aurantia.

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