Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Shelob's Cousin in the Peppers

Last year Laurie and Alex captured beautiful pictures of a Banded Garden Spider, Argiope trifasciata, hanging around the herb garden. This year, Autumn Philips, Steve's summer assistant, alerted us to one of that spider's cousins, a Yellow Garden Spider, or Argiope aurantia, protecting the peppers in the high tunnel.

These are some of the largest and showiest of the spiders commonly encountered in Pennsylvania. They are seen in gardens, tall weeds, and sunny areas with bushes and other supporting structures on which they build their large orb webs. Yellow garden spiders are found throughout most of the United States.

As Laurie noted in her email to me:

 "...if you look at the photo of the spider's underside, the head area looks like batman's face."
And so it does.

More pictures from Laurie's husband, Keith, and Alex follow.

Here are fact sheets on Pennsylvania Spiders from the PSU Entomology page.

Photo by Alex Surcica

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