Yellow Garden Spider

This inch-long behemoth is a juvenile yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia). When it is grown, it will be a brilliant yellow and black, and almost three inches across including the legs. (Assuming it’s a female, which is a good guess, as even now she’s bigger than an adult male; the boys top out at about…

Humpbacked Orbweaver

Humpbacked orbweaver spiders (Eustala anastera) are identified primarily by the little bump on the end of their abdomen (sort of visible in this photo) and by lichen-green coloration (although they also come in orange and rusty brown colors). They are pretty variable, pattern-wise; you can see some of the color variation here. This one has…

Spiny Orb Weaver

You can tell that a lot of people notice this brightly-colored, distinctive spider in their gardens, as it’s collected so many common names: spiny orb weaver, jewel spider, spiny-bellied orbweaver, kite spider, jewel box spider, smiley face spider, crab spider, crablike spiny orbweaver. Good heavens. The Latin name means roughly “thorn-belly” (Gasteracantha) and “crab shaped”…

Arrow-shaped Micrathena Spider

These striking spiders look like they ought to be related to the spiny orb-weaver (Gasteracantha sp). They are in the same family (Araneidae) but a different genus (Micrathena). They have fewer spines than Gasteracantha (and, again, probably a bunch of smaller details, like the number of hairs on the thorax or which way some microscopic…

Trashline Orb Weaver Spider

The name of the trashline orb weaver spider (Cyclosa turbinata) is derived from the thick vertical line of silk and/or debris in its web. Called the stabilimentum, the line may help stabilize the web, may attract insects, or may deter birds from flying through the web by making it visible. The line of silk also…

Banana Spider

Huge but harmless, this lovely lady is about four inches across. A male of the species is only about 1/4 her size. These spiders are commonly called “banana spiders” not so much because they are yellow, but because they are often found among bunches of bananas during harvesting. I originally found this species described as…