Orbweaver from South Africa

Subject: striped stranger
Location: Caledon area on N2
April 7, 2014 9:57 pm
Hello Bugman
I’ve looked on the internet trying to identify this striped spider that I saw while in South Africa. We were travelling on the N2 and pulled over to look at the national bird in a farm field just about an hour outside of Cape Town. Walking through the grass we noticed this large spider, although not colourful. Would also like to know if it is poisonous.
Thank you
Signature: Angela


Dear Angela,
This is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae, and members in the family are venomous, but they are reluctant to bite humans, and they are not considered dangerous, with the bite producing only local swelling and tenderness.  We did locate a matching image on Superstock, but it is not identified beyond the family level.  We then found a matching image on BioDiversity Explorer and it is identified as
Argiope australis.  It is odd that your individual was found on the ground.  Orbweavers are clumsy when not in their webs, and they are relatively stationary spiders, preferring to spin a web in the same location unless they are disturbed.  Perhaps someone who passed its web prior to your arrival knocked this individual to the ground.

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