This week on Discover Nature, take a walk in the garden or tall grass, and watch for silken traps spun by tiny architects of the natural world.
Black and yellow garden spiders (Argiope aurantia) are common across Missouri in tall grasslands, gardens, fields, and urban backyards.
Adorned with yellow-orange markings on its black body, fully-grown females are about twice as big as males, and can reach more than an inch in length.
These garden spiders weave intricate, circular webs, often more than two-feet in diameter. Silk threads run spirally from the center of the web, where the spider also commonly weaves a characteristic zig-zag band. The spider rests, dead down, in the center of the web and waits for unsuspecting prey.
Black and yellow garden spiders prey on and help control populations of insects including grasshoppers and katydids.
Because of their colorful patterns, remarkable web architecture, and easily observed behaviors, these harmless spiders provide excellent opportunities for children and adults to enjoy watching in the wild.
Learn more about the black and yellow garden spider with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s online field guide.
Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.