Yellow Garden Spider vs Banana Spider: Friendly Neighborhood Showdown

Spiders are often fascinating creatures that capture our attention, especially when they display striking colors or unique patterns. In this article, we will compare two such spiders: the yellow garden spider and the banana spider.

The yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia) is a large orb-weaving spider known for its trademark vertical zig-zag pattern in its web. On the other hand, banana spiders get their name from their bright yellow abdomen (back section) and have fuzzy black sections on their legs.

As we delve deeper into the world of these two spiders, we’ll explore their similarities and differences, shedding light on their unique characteristics, habitats, and behaviors. Stay tuned as we take you on a journey through the captivating world of the yellow garden spider and the banana spider.

Overview of Yellow Garden Spider and Banana Spider

Yellow Garden Spider

The Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia) is an orb-weaving spider known for its vibrant colors and intricate web designs. They’re commonly found in gardens, attracting the attention of gardeners. The spider’s trademark is its vertical zig-zag pattern, which earned it the nickname “writing spider.”

  • Size: moderately large
  • Color: yellow and black, with striking patterns
  • Web: large, with a unique zig-zag pattern in the center

Banana Spider

The Banana Spider gets its name due to the bright yellow color of its abdomen. Females can be considerably larger than males, reaching up to 3 inches or more across with their legs spread out. The black sections on their legs are covered in fuzzy hairs, giving them a bottle brush-like appearance.

  • Size: larger than Yellow Garden Spiders (especially females)
  • Color: bright yellow, with black, fuzzy legs
  • Web: similar to other orb-weavers

Comparison Table

Feature Yellow Garden Spider Banana Spider
Size Moderately large Larger (especially females)
Color Yellow and black Bright yellow
Web structure Large with zig-zag pattern Similar to other orb-weavers
Commonly found in Gardens Various habitats
Unique features Vertical zig-zag pattern in webs Fuzzy, black leg hairs

In conclusion, both Yellow Garden Spiders and Banana Spiders are unique orb-weaving spiders. They have distinctive features and appearances that make them fascinating subjects of study and observation.

Physical Characteristics

Size and Body Length

The yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia) and the banana spider are two different species with distinct physical characteristics. Let’s compare their sizes:

  • Yellow garden spider: Adult females typically have a body length ranging from 19 to 28mm, while males are smaller, measuring about 5 to 9mm 1.
  • Banana spider: This term may refer to different spider species, but when referring to the golden silk orb-weaver (Nephila clavipes), adult females can have a body length of 24 to 40mm, and males are much smaller, around 6mm2.

Color and Markings

Both spiders have unique and striking colorations and markings, which help distinguish them from each other:

Yellow garden spider:

  • Also known as the black and yellow argiope1.
  • They have a black, cylindrical abdomen with bright yellow markings1.
  • Often found in gardens, where their creative webs feature a vertical zig-zag pattern1.

Banana spider (golden silk orb-weaver):

  • Recognized by their yellow and black coloration with a red mark near their spinners2.
  • Their bodies may have a metallic sheen with various patterns of white, yellow, and orange2.
  • They create large webs of golden silk, which gives them their name2.

In summary, both the yellow garden spider and banana spider have distinct sizes and unique colorations. While they share a predominantly yellow appearance, their markings and body shapes set them apart.

Geographical Range and Habitat

North American Distribution

In North America, yellow garden spiders (Argiope aurantia) are commonly found in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Their distribution includes areas like Georgia, southeastern United States, and up to South Carolina and North Carolina. These spiders prefer gardens, meadows, and woodland edges as their habitat.

Banana spiders, also known as golden orb-weavers, are usually found in the southeastern United States, particularly in states like Florida and Georgia. Their habitat includes gardens, wooded areas, and areas with tall grasses.

Presence in Central and South America

For yellow garden spiders, their geographic range extends further south into parts of Central America. However, they are not as commonly found in South America.

In the case of banana spiders (Nephila spp.), their distribution is wider in Central and South America, including countries like Brazil, Colombia, and Panama. They are more adaptable to tropical and subtropical environments.

Asia, Africa and Australia

Yellow garden spiders have limited distribution outside of the Americas. In contrast, banana spiders have a more extensive geographical range that includes Asia, Africa, and Australia. For instance, the Hawaiian garden spider (Argiope appensa) is a banana spider species native to Hawaii and other Pacific Islands.

In conclusion, the geographical range and habitat differ significantly between yellow garden spiders and banana spiders. Yellow garden spiders are predominantly found in North and Central America, while banana spiders have a more extensive range that includes South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia. They both share similar habitats like gardens, woodland areas, and tall grasses, but banana spiders are more adaptable to tropical environments.

Species of Banana and Garden Spiders

Nephila

Nephila spiders, also known as golden orb-weavers, are a genus of large and visually striking spiders. Their golden silk web is a remarkable feature, as it reflects sunlight and attracts prey. A popular species, the Nephila clavipes, can be found in the southeastern United States.

Cupiennius

Cupiennius spiders belong to the Ctenidae family. There are several species in this genus, including Cupiennius getazi and Cupiennius coccineus, which are primarily found in Central and South America. They are not usually considered garden or banana spiders, but due to their size and colors, they can be confused with the other genera mentioned here.

Phoneutria

Phoneutria spiders, commonly known as Brazilian wandering spiders or banana spiders, are among the spider species with the most potent venom. They are large and quite aggressive when disturbed. However, despite their potentially dangerous bite, fatalities are rare.

Argiope

Argiope spiders, often recognized by their striking yellow and black patterns, are genuinely garden spiders. They build large, orb-shaped webs in gardens and fields. Two common species include Argiope appensa and Argiope aurantia, sometimes referred to as Agriope aurantia.

Trichonephila

Trichonephila, previously considered part of the Nephila genus, includes several species like Trichonephila clavipes and Trichonephila clavata. Known for their attractive webs and huge size, these spiders are found across various regions, including North America, Asia, and Africa.

Spider Genus Common Habitat Size Characteristics Example Species
Nephila Forests, Fields Large Golden Silk Web Nephila clavipes
Cupiennius Central & South America Medium Brown with Light Stripes Cupiennius getazi
Phoneutria South America Large Potent Venom Phoneutria nigriventer
Argiope Gardens, Fields Medium Yellow & Black Pattern Argiope aurantia
Trichonephila Various Locations Large Unique Web Design Trichonephila clavipes

Feeding Habits and Prey

Common Prey

Yellow garden spiders and banana spiders both feed on common insects found in gardens and fields. While they prefer different types of insects, their primary prey consists of:

  • Flies
  • Mosquitoes
  • Aphids
  • Beetles

These spiders play a vital role in controlling pests in their environment, often reducing the number of flying insects that can harm plants and spread diseases.

Method of Catching Prey

Yellow garden spiders and banana spiders, although belonging to different families, employ similar techniques to catch their prey. These orb-weaver spiders are known for their intricate, circular webs often found in gardens or bushes. They use these webs to capture flying insects by using their zig-zag pattern, as seen in the yellow garden spider.

Once an insect becomes trapped in their web, both spiders act quickly to immobilize their prey. They do this by:

  1. Approaching the caught insect and biting it to inject venom, which paralyzes the insect.
  2. Wrapping the paralyzed insect in silk threads for later consumption.

These efficient predators actively help maintain a balanced ecosystem by preying on various pests and insects that could otherwise harm vegetation and human living spaces. Remember to appreciate these spiders next time you find one in your garden.

Spiders Web

Orb-Weaving Spiders

Orb-weaving spiders, like the yellow garden spider and banana spider, are known for their ability to create large, intricate webs. These webs are not only used for catching prey but also serve as their home.

As an orb-weaving spider, both yellow garden spiders and banana spiders utilize a unique third claw on each leg to assist in weaving their complex webs. This characteristic sets them apart from other spiders and adds to their distinctive appearance.

Unique Web Patterns

Yellow garden spiders are also known as “writing spiders” due to their trademark vertical zig-zag pattern, called the stabilimentum, in their webs. This distinctive feature not only provides extra strength to the web, but it is also believed to deter birds from flying through the web.

On the other hand, banana spiders, or more specifically golden silk orb-weavers, get their name from the golden silk that they use in their webs. This silk has a rich golden color that not only adds to the web’s beauty but also adds strength and durability.

Feature Yellow Garden Spider Banana Spider (Golden Silk Orb-Weaver)
Web Pattern Vertical zig-zag (stabilimentum) Golden silk
Web Function Trap prey, provide a home Trap prey, provide a home
Unique Web Characteristic Stabilimentum deters birds Golden silk adds strength

When you encounter these fascinating orb-weaving spiders in nature, take a moment to appreciate their beautifully intricate web designs and the unique features that set them apart. Just remember to keep a respectful distance, as these spiders are more interested in their webs than in your company.

Venom and Danger to Humans

Venomous Spiders

While there are many types of spiders in the world, only a few of them pose a significant danger to humans due to their venom. In North America, for example, you should be cautious around black widows, brown recluses, and possibly yellow sac spiders, as their venom can have serious consequences for humans 1. However, yellow garden spiders and banana spiders, or Brazilian wandering spiders, possess venom that affects humans differently.

The yellow garden spider is not considered dangerous to humans. Their venom is primarily used to immobilize prey like insects, and its effect on humans is minimal, if at all 2.

On the other hand, banana spiders, or Brazilian wandering spiders, are armed with potent venom. They are considered one of the most venomous spiders in the world, and their bites have the potential to cause severe symptoms or even fatality in humans 3. It’s important to be cautious around these spiders if you encounter them.

Effect of a Spider Bite

Yellow Garden Spider Bite:

  • Mild discomfort
  • Redness or swelling at the bite site
  • No severe symptoms in most cases

Banana Spider (Brazilian Wandering Spider) Bite:

  • Intense pain at the bite site
  • Sweating, chills, and fever
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Seizures, in severe cases
  • Potential fatality, if not treated promptly

When bitten by a venomous spider like the Brazilian wandering spider, it’s crucial to seek immediate medical attention. In contrast, the yellow garden spider’s bite rarely causes notable complications and usually does not require medical intervention. Nonetheless, it’s essential to keep an eye on any bite and watch for infection or other unusual symptoms.

Gender Differences

Male Garden and Banana Spiders

Male garden and banana spiders are relatively small compared to females. In terms of size, they are usually around ½ to ¾ inches across, making them much less noticeable than their female counterparts1. Here are some key features of male spiders:

  • Smaller in size
  • Less noticeable
  • Short legs.

A male spider’s primary goal is to mate with a female and transfer his sperm. Males usually search for a female that has not yet mated, attempting to avoid competition with other males. The mating process in spiders can be risky for males due to the possibility of being eaten by the female after mating2.

Female Garden and Banana Spiders

Female garden and banana spiders, specifically the Argiope aurantia species, are known for their large size and bright yellow abdomen3. They can be up to 3 inches across with their legs spread out4. Some distinguishing features of females are:

  • Larger size
  • Bright yellow abdomen
  • Potentially aggressive behavior during mating5

Female spiders are also responsible for constructing the beautiful and intricate web patterns. They create these webs to catch their prey, and are also known to produce unique zig-zag patterns within their webs6.

Here’s a comparison table to illustrate the differences between male and female garden and banana spiders:

Characteristic Male Spider Female Spider
Size ½ to ¾ inches across Up to 3 inches across
Color Less noticeable Bright yellow abdomen
Web building Not involved Constructs intricate webs with zig-zag patterns

Beneficial Effects and Pest Control

Role in Gardens

Yellow garden spiders and banana spiders play essential roles in keeping gardens healthy and thriving. These invertebrates maintain the balance of ecosystems by preying on many common pests that harm your plants. Both spiders are widespread and found in warm climates, making them valuable allies to gardeners.

Common Pests Controlled

The following are some common pests that yellow garden spiders and banana spiders help control in gardens:

  • Aphids
  • Flies
  • Mosquitoes
  • Grasshoppers
  • Small moths

Yellow Garden Spider vs. Banana Spider Comparison

Feature Yellow Garden Spider Banana Spider
Size Medium-sized Large
Web Style Spiral orb webs Large orb webs
Color Yellow and black Golden or brown
Distribution North America, Central America North America, Central America, Caribbean

While both spiders contribute significantly to pest control in gardens, the yellow garden spider is slightly more common and often recognized by its unique orb web. In contrast, the banana spider is larger and known for its distinctive golden hue. Regardless of their differences, welcoming both spiders into your garden can effectively minimize the need for chemical pest control measures, providing a more natural and eco-friendly environment.

Unique Spider Types

Huntsman Spider

The Huntsman Spider is an agile and fast-moving hunter. These spiders are known for their large size and ability to quickly run down their prey. They have a distinct appearance with:

  • Long legs for speed and agility
  • Tufts of hair on their legs for better grip

Example: The Giant Wood Spider is a type of Huntsman Spider, known for its striking colors and large size.

Joro Spider

The Joro Spider is an orb-weaving spider native to East Asia, recognized by its vibrant colors and large size. Its appearance includes:

  • Bright yellow abdomen with intricate blue, white, and red patterns
  • Long legs with black and yellow stripes

A remarkable feature of the Joro Spider is its ability to weave large, strong webs. These webs often capture large insects, providing the spider with a sizable meal.

Calico Spider

The Calico Spider, also known as the Red-faced Banana Spider, is an orb-weaving spider distinguished by its unique appearance. Key features include:

  • A brightly colored body with intricate patterns
  • Dark brown to black legs covered in tufts of hair

The Calico Spider is known for its striking coloration, which may help deter predators and attract prey.

Spider Type Size Coloration Web Type
Huntsman Spider Large, often over 1 inch in body length Brown to gray with tufts of hair No web
Joro Spider Large, up to 1 inch in body length Bright yellow with bold patterns Orb web
Calico Spider Medium-sized Bright with calico-like patterns Orb web

Remember, each of these spiders exhibit unique qualities, making them fascinating and distinct in the world of arachnids.

Footnotes

  1. Yellow Garden Spider 2 3 4 5 6

  2. Golden Silk Orb-weaver 2 3 4 5 6

  3. Brazilian Wandering Spider: Facts & Pictures – Owlcation 2

  4. https://hgic.clemson.edu/banana-spiders/

  5. https://www.amentsoc.org/insects/glossary/terms/aggressive-mimicry

  6. https://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/MISC/SPIDERS/yellow-garden-spider.html

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Hawaiian Orbweaver is Argiope avara kauaiensis

 

Ed. Note:  April 15, 2014
Please assist in the identification of this Black
Argiope from Hawaii.

better pics of spider from Nounou mountain
I went back to the mountain and got some better pictures of the same spider. It was still there! One of it’s babies at top right It has sorta of a bull’s eye on the butt side view you can see how high we are, bout 1000 feet elevation That’s a bee it caught on the right The underside a better shot I’ll just sent the rest. I hope these help! Let me know what you can find out. Thanks,
Nancy

Unknown Hawaiian Argiope
12/30/2007 Kauai spider
I found this spider on the Nounou mountain trail (Sleeping Giant trail). It is on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. I haven’t ever seen this spider on our island. Sorry the quality isn’t very good. I’d appreciate any info you could give me about it. Thanks.
Taeru Andrade
I forgot to add that the body was a metallic blue and the spots were white.

This is definitely in the genus Argiope, but it does not look like Argiope appensa, commonly called a Garden Spider, that lives in Hawaii. Perhaps it is just the poor quality of the photo.

Thanks for the reply, It’s not our typical Garden Spider for sure, we have tons of them around. This is a real different one. It was bigger than the biggest garden spider I’ve ever seen!! I am 31 and have lived my whole life on Kauai and have hiked MANY trails since 5 years old and this is a first for me. Thanks,
Taeru

Dear Nancy or Taeru,
We had trouble finding your original email since you used a different email address and signed the letter with a different name. We still maintain this is an Argiope, but we have no idea what species. We will try to research this and meanwhile, we will post your photo in the hopes that one of our readers will save us a bit of work and properly identify your gorgeous spider.

Update:  December 5, 2014
A new submission of this Orbweaver has finally led us to the proper identification of
Argiope avara kauaiensis.

Letter 2 – Indigenous Hawaiian Orbweaver: Argiope avara kauaiensis

 

Subject: Argiope Avara Kauaiensis
Location: Kalalau Trail, Kauai, Hawaii
November 2, 2015 9:05 am
Hi There,
On a recent trip to Kauai, I spotted this giant orbweaver:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/markostavric/22090905323/lightbox
It seemed to have unique markings and I was unable to find much reference to it. Yours seems to be the only website I could find. It appears that you’ve identified it as Argiope Avara Kauaiensis. I wanted to share my picture of it. This one was found on the Kalalau Trail and seemed to be about 3.5 to 4 inches from toe to toe.
Signature: Marko

Orbweaver: Argiope avara kauaiensis
Orbweaver: Argiope avara kauaiensis

Dear Marko,
Thanks for providing our archives with a gorgeous image of this under-represented indigenous Hawaiian Orbweaver.

Letter 3 – Indonesian Argiope

 

Dear Bugman,
Any help with an ID for this interesting spider found in my yard here in Dili, East Timor ?
Thanks for your help
Nick Hobgood

Hi Nick,
While we are not familiar with Indonesian species, we do know this spider is one of the genus Argiope.

Letter 4 – Lobed Argiope from Zimbabwe

 

Subject: Bizarre Spider
Location: Mutare, Zimbabwe
January 3, 2014 5:23 am
Dear Bugman!~
I have this spider in my garden here in Mutare, Zimbabwe and I have never seen anything quite like it before. I was really hoping you would be able to tell me what it is so I may learn more about it. The photo was taken on Christmas day 2013 (which is the middle of our rainy season here)
Looking forward to hearing from you
Signature: Zimgales

Lobed Argiope
Lobed Argiope

Dear Zimgales,
This is a harmless Orbweaver in the genus
Argiope.  Though they are harmless to humans, they do possess venom and a large female, like this one, might bite if carelessly handled, but the bite would only cause local swelling and soreness with no lasting ill effects.  Orbweavers are found exclusively in their webs unless circumstances force them to relocate, like having the web destroyed.  We believe your spider is a Lobed Argiope, Argiope lobata.  Here is a photo from SpidezRule and one from Animal a Day.  The pattern on the body of your spider is somewhat different, so it may be a different species in the same genus.  Your individual is one of the Argiope species that constructs the St. Andrew’s Cross pattern in the web and your backlit photos nicely illustrate how the light breaks up in the silken pattern of the web.

Orbweaver from Africa
Orbweaver from Africa

Letter 5 – Male Argiope Orbweaver

 

Subject: White/Silver Spider, Would like to know what kind.
Location: Clarion, Pennsylvania, USA
August 3, 2012 9:40 am
Hello, thank you for running this site! I found this little guy on the porch this afternoon. Looks to me like he died of natural causes. He’s about an inch long. I have never seen anything like this spider in my life. I’d like to know what he is! I know that if there’s one there must be thousands, so I’d like to know also, if he’s poisonous so we can take extra caution when going barefoot on the porch.
Signature: Thank you for your time! -Sarah

Male Argiope Orbweaver

Hi Sarah,
This is an Orbweaver in the genus
Argiope.  We believe it is a male but we also believe it is most likely the Banded Argiope, Argiope trifasciata.  You can compare our identification to this image on BugGuide.

Letter 6 – Mating Argiopes

 

mating Golden Garden Spiders
Here is one of a series of stills I made from video of Golden Garden Spiders mating in my back yard in North Central Texas: There were two males, but only the one who arrived first got the glory. The other only watched from the other (safe) side of the web. After each mating, the female appeared to become temporarily incapacitated, allowing the tiny mating male a few moments when he could move around her freely. At all other times he was very cautious, approaching from the female’s abdomen area, and between mating events he stayed on the other side of the web with the other male. I also have quite a bit of video of this. The mating continued for a week or two, many times each day. (I don’t know if it went on during the night.)
Bill Jones

Hi Bill,
Thanks for the great photos and interesting account of the mating activity of these beautiful Argiopes.

Letter 7 – Mating Argiopes: Bug of the Month ensures future generations!!!

 

a new spider
Once again from Canyon Lake, Texas. I found this SIGNIFICANTLY smaller spider on the web of my Orb Spider. It appears to have many of the same features. I am guessing it is the male?
Wayne

Well Wayne,
You have gotten us a great photo of our Bug of the Month, Argiope aurantia, mating. This considerably smaller spider is the male. He is a sly fellow, approaching from the other side of the web where he is considerably safer.

Letter 8 – Possibly Male Araneus and Silver Argiope

 

Two spiders?
Hi Bugman. I have two pictures for you. The first is a diminutive spider I spotted on my back fence above my compost bin this morning. Can you identify it and tell me a little about it? I’ve never seen one shaped like this.

The second photo is gratuitous. I believe you may have received photos of similar spiders before, but it’s such a gorgeous bug I thought I’d send it anyway. I took the picture in Belize in Nov. 2003. Can you confirm the species?
Thanks for your help!
Ryan in Northern CA

Hi Ryan,
Your Belize spider is a female Silver Argiope, Argiope argentata. It is a tropical species which is also found in the Southern Continental states. Your small spider I am less sure about. It is difficult to tell based on your photo. It might be a male orb weaver which are often smaller and differently colored than the more commonly seen females.

Letter 9 – Silver Argiope

 

Spider unknown
This is the second of these I found in South Texas. The first one was not as big or decorative as the one attached. From top to bottom, I estimate it to be total length at 2.5 inches, and body length is about .5 inches and found both of them stretched from the eve of the house across to a window. I assume from reading on your web site, that this is a orb weaver. Any info, would be greatly appreciated. Picture was using the macro feature on my minolta 5 MPixal camera. Thanks,
Ken
Corpus Christi, Tx

Hi Ken,
this is a gorgeous specimen of Silver Argiope, Argiope argentata, one of the Orb Weaving Spiders. They are harmless.

Letter 10 – Silver Argiope

 

Who is this guy??
We saw this spider on a hike in San Diego County (near El Cajon) a couple of weeks ago. He was beautiful! Thanks for any leads,
Kristin

Hi Kristen,
She is a Silver Argiope, Argiope argentata. This southern species is usually found head down in its orb web.

Letter 11 – Silver Argiope

 

Help ASAP! Spider for School Project
Dear Bugman,
We love your site! Please help us identify this spider. My 6 year old daughter needs to write a paper on a spider this week and she decided to use this spider that has been in our backyard in Carlsbad, CA for about a month. After looking at your website, we think it is some kind of an orb weaver. What can you tell us. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Gratefully,
Tamara

Hi Tamara,
We hope your daughter gets extra credit for getting her Silver Argiope, Argiope argentata, posted online. This is a female and the ziz-zag mark in her web is called a stabilimentum, leading to the nickname Writing Spider. It is one of the Orb Weavers.

Letter 12 – Silver Argiope

 

6 yr old “bug scientist” needs your help!
July 21, 2009
Hi,
Am writing this on behalf of my 6 year old son. He’s fascinated with bugs and has already declared his intention of becoming a “bug scientist” when he grows up.
He’s been on the lookout for a long time to find a critter worthy of posting here and was so excited when he found this spider. He had me out taking numerous pictures of it over the course of several days in hopes that we could get some good ones to submit to you.
We are in Aliso Viejo – just a few miles directly inland from Laguna Beach, CA and found this gorgeous, and very large, spider in the bushes outside my son’s YMCA center.Can you tell us what it is?
Mom of future “bug guy.”
Southern California

Silver Argiope
Silver Argiope

Dear Mom,
Your spider is a Silver Argiope, Argiope argentata, one of the Orb Weaver Spiders.  The species is found in the Southern states, Gulf states and California.  According to BugGuide:  “Orbweavers place a conspicuous zigzagging white silk banner in their webs called the ‘stabilimentum’ which can be used to identify the species. In this species four stabilimenta form a cross in the web of mature spiders. Juveniles of many species, including this one, spin a spiralling stabilimentum from the center of the web. The function of the stabilimentum is not fully understood. Hypotheses are; that it stabilizes the web, or makes it more apparent to birds which will thus not fly into and wreck it, or it reflects light to attract insect prey, or perhaps most likely helps to camouflage the spider in the web.

Letter 13 – Silver Argiope

 

Well hello…
Location: Corpus Christi, TX
October 17, 2011 3:28 am
This colorful spider made a large web on the porch. I’m from Washington State visiting Corpus Christi so I’m not used to seeing spiders like this. It was pretty large and moved quickly (saw it scurrying across the deck later that day). Can you identify it? Is it venomous?
Signature: Scott

Silver Argiope

Hi Scott,
Your spider is a Silver Argiope,
Argiope argentata, one of the Orbweavers.  Nearly all spiders have venom, but very few spiders have venom that is considered toxic to humans.  We are less and less inclined to claim, as we once did, that a species is perfectly harmless, because for most people peanuts are perfectly harmless, though there are growing numbers of children with peanut allergies.  The same may hold true for spider venom, and a person with a highly allergic reaction may be in grave danger after a bite that for most people is a slight annoyance.  Orbweavers are very reluctant to bite, but that does not mean they will not bite.

Letter 14 – Silver Argiope

 

Subject: Beautiful Spider
Location: Edinburg, Texas
October 10, 2012 2:04 pm
Hello! I was wondering if you know what kind of spider this is.
I was sitting on a bench and happened to look behind me to see a large web with it’s owner laying gracefully in the middle of it. I’ve never seen this spider before, and was surprised that it was so big!(well, at least compared to other spiders I’ve seen.)
Quite lovely, though. Looked like a jewel in the sun. I took a picture with the camera-phone and came back the next morning with a proper camera. It was still there, fixing it’s web, and I took some pics with my hand next to it (tried not to touch the web.)
Hope you can help me out,
Signature: Kelly

Silver Argiope

Hi Kelly,
With autumn upon us, the number of spider identification requests we are receiving has spiked because many spiders, especially Orbweavers like your Silver Argiope,
Argiope argentata, have reached their mature size and they attract attention as they wait patiently for prey in their orb webs.  Orbweavers are harmless spiders, though we would not discount that a large female, like your individual, might bite if provoked, but the bite has no lasting effects.  Here is what BugGuide has to say about the structure of the web of the Silver Argiope:  “These orbweavers place a conspicuous zigzagging white silk banner in their webs called the ‘stabilimentum’ which can be used to identify the species. In this species four stabilimenta form a cross in the web of mature spiders. Juveniles of many species … spin a spiralling stabilimentum from the center of the web. The function of the stabilimentum is not fully understood. Hypotheses are; that it stabilizes the web, or makes it more apparent to birds which will thus not fly into and wreck it, or it reflects light to attract insect prey, or perhaps most likely helps to camouflage the spider in the web.”

Thanks for replying so quickly! I’m thrilled to know that I can now put a name to the spider.
I’ve recently passed by the place where the web was, but couldn’t find either the spider or its web.
Most likely someone  took it down, but I really hope the spider managed to escape.
For sure, I’ll be keeping my eyes open to see if there are any other Orbweavers in the area.
Thanks again! =)

Letter 15 – Silver Argiope

 

Subject: Beautiful and unusual spider in Newport Beach
Location: Newport Beach, So. Cal.
March 4, 2013 12:11 pm
I spotted this beautiful and unusual spider is an upscale Newport Beach neighborhood an I would like to know what it is.
Signature: Eric A. Gehlke

Silver Argiope
Silver Argiope

Dear Eric,
This lovely Silver Argiope,
Argiope argentata, is not an uncommon Southern California species, though it ranges much farther including Texas, Florida and south into Mexico and Central America.  The Silver Argiope belongs to the genus commonly called Writing Spiders because of the intricate patterns known as stabilimenta woven into the webs.  Large specimens might bite, but Writing Spiders including the Silver Argiope are considered harmless.  They are also known as Garden Spiders.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

4 thoughts on “Yellow Garden Spider vs Banana Spider: Friendly Neighborhood Showdown”

  1. I also saw a similar spider, I thought it was entirely shiny and jet black but it was very large and hanging in a web at the top of Hihimanu – also relatively high elevation, exposed to strong winds. Trying to find out what it was when I found this post.

    Reply
    • We still have not gotten a definitive identification on this Orbweaver. Your comment has allowed us to update this very old posting with some new information, including tagging it as unidentified and running it as a featured posting with a plea to request assistance in its identification.

      Reply
  2. I have just returned from Kauai where I saw a huge spider that looked like this. It was at the highest elevation of the Powerline Trail, in a seldom visited area. The spider was enormous, and it was sitting in a web between two trees that must have been at least 25 feet apart. It was the biggest web spider I have ever seen. I have a photo, taken on an overcast day and using a zoom (I didn’t want to get too close!), but I’m having some trouble attaching it.

    Reply

Leave a Comment