Zenfolio | Bruce Fellman | Silver and gold

Silver and gold

August 22, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

It was high time I went across the street to my neighbor's field to try to find the first Black-and-Yellow Garden Spiders, those large and showy orb-web-makers that start becoming obvious towards the end of August. Argiope aurantia—the name means "gilded silver-face," and it's obvious why the designation was chosen—has actually been around for at least several weeks, but the spiders were tiny and obscure. The males, of course, will remain small, and, if luck is with them, they'll stay obscure... or wind up as their much-larger mate's dinner. The females can, after a number of molts, grow to be about a couple of inches long, leg tip to leg tip, and they're wonderfully eye-catching to anyone bent on documenting the life of the meadow. This lovely lady is only about an inch in length, but she still has plenty of time to get bigger until, after she waylays a number of insects that stumble into her web, she mates, and lays a clutch containing hundreds of eggs, which she wraps in a silk pouch and protects. She can mate a couple of times a year and she may have two or more egg-clutches with her on the web. I suspect this one is still too small to be playing the reproduction game, but soon enough. Soon, soon, soon enough.


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