Is that you, Charlotte?

I found another Black and Yellow Argiope (Argiope aurantia) on the south side of the house – except this one is WAY bigger (and I thought the other one was pretty big). Her body is about the size of a dime, and there are usually several insects wrapped in silk surrounding her on the web. She’s missing a leg, but seems to be doing fine without it.

The brown sack (below) is hanging under a ledge above the spider, and I took a photo of it not knowing what it was. After reading the online article, The Biogeography of Writing Spider, by Charlotte Ely, I think it’s the Argiope’s egg sack. While this female will die at first frost, her young ones will overwinter and emerge from the sack in the spring. Ely noted that Charlotte’s Web made orb weavers, like the Black and Yellow Argiope or “writing” spider, famous. There were interesting facts in the article regarding the incredible strength of spider silk, and I particularly liked the entertaining way the author told the story of these creatures that manage to spin a new web, complete with zig zags, everyday.

Sarah McLachlan sings Ordinary Miracle (YouTube), from the soundtrack of the movie about that famous orb weaver. It’s on McLachlan’s 2008 album, Rarities, B-Sides and Other Stuff, Volume 2.

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Source: Ely, C. (2003). Biogeography of Writing Spider (online). Edited by Barbara Holzman, PhD, San Francisco State University. Accessed August 14, 2010: http://bss.sfsu.edu/holzman/courses/fall%2003%20project/writing_spider.htm.

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Comments
3 Responses to “Is that you, Charlotte?”
  1. Even we engineers cannot create anything with the strength to weight ratio of spider silk. Absolutely fantastic stuff.

  2. Cait says:

    Yes, hard to believe given the technology of today!

  3. donald says:

    very interesting, thanks for sharing.

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