University of California

Creatures in the Garden

Title Creatures in the Garden 24
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Photo Information Yellow Garden Spider in Sacramento Backyard
Rakich, Cathryn: UC Master Gardener Vol.
Description I took this photo of a yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia) last year in my backyard in Sacramento. Yellow garden spiders often find a home in tall vegetation where they can securely stretch a web. This spider decided my tall blooming phlox was the perfect location for her web. What is interesting about the yellow garden spider's web is that it has a dense zigzag of silk, known as a stabilimentum, right down the center, perhaps to help camouflage her or to attract prey. These spiders breed twice a year and the female creates a sac around her eggs. This spider's sac was hanging only inches away from her near the center of the web where she spent most of her time while at my home. The sac can contain over a thousand eggs and the female spider will guard the eggs against predators for as long as she can. As the weather cools, she will become more frail and die at the first hard frost. The young spiders exit the sac in the spring. Some stay, others will let the wind carry them far away.

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