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Genus Argiope - Garden Orbweavers

Spider - unidentified - Argiope trifasciata - female orb spider - Argiope aurantia Argiope aurantia Argiope in backyard - Argiope aurantia - female Male Argiope aurantia?  - Argiope Argiope Spider - Argiope aurantia Argiope - Argiope aurantia Argiope trifasciata? - Argiope trifasciata
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Chelicerata (Chelicerates)
Class Arachnida (Arachnids)
Order Araneae (Spiders)
Infraorder Araneomorphae (True Spiders)
No Taxon (Entelegynae)
Family Araneidae (Orb Weavers)
Genus Argiope (Garden Orbweavers)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Original spelling: Argyope
Explanation of Names
Author of genus is Audouin,1826.
Spiders of North America lists 5 species.
Females, males & juveniles of each species:

Argiope argentata

Argiope aurantia

Argiope blanda (female only)

Argiope florida (female & juveniles only)

Argiope trifasciata (female, two males, juvenile)

Only in Hawaii
A. appensa (female only)

Only possibly in Alaska
Argiope bruennichi (female only)

Ventrals of A. aurantia and A. trifasciata.

A. aurantia: Generally reddish and black mostly unbanded legs, depending on age, more likely banded on juveniles. Yellow on anterior abdomen looks like two short parallel lines from a distance. Yellow on sternum roughly an unbranched teardrop.

A. trifasciata: Heavily banded legs. Yellow on anterior abdomen looks like a long "V" from a distance, Yellow on sternum has branched pattern.
Argiope argentata (Fabricius, 1775) CA, AZ, TX, FL
Argiope aurantia (Lucas, 1833) OR, CA, NM, TX, KS, NE, ND, WI, IA, MO, AR, OK, LA, MS, TN, KY, IL, IN, MI, OH, AL, GA, FL, NC, VA, WV, MD, NJ, PA, NY, ON, CT, RI, MA, NH, ME, NS
Argiope blanda (O. P.-Cambridge, 1898) TX
Argiope florida (Chamberlin & Ivie, 1944) NC, GA, AL, FL
Argiope trifasciata (Forskål, 1775) BC, AB, WA, OR, CA, NV, MT, ID, WY, UT, AZ, NM, ND, NE, KS, CO, OK, TX, WI, MN, IA, IL, MO, AR, MS, AL, FL, TN, IN, MI, OH, PA, WV, VA, MD, NC, NY, NJ, CT, RI, VT, NH, ME, NS, PQ, ON
According to Marshall (1), Florida has four species, the most of any state. A florida and A. argentata are restricted to the south, gulf states and CA, A. aurantia and A. trifasciata are widespread. See data tab for each species for illustration. Argiope blanda is also listed for CA on the San Diego Museum of Natural History website, below. A. appensa is found in Hawaii.
Life Cycle
See Argiope aurantia info page for illustrated life cycle.
Large orbweavers that do not have a retreat near their web--usually found in its center. These orbweavers often place a conspicuous zigzagging white silk banner in their webs called the "stabilimentum" which can be used to identify the species. Juveniles of many species spin a spiralling stabilimentum from the center of the web. The function of the stabilimentum is not fully understood. Hypotheses are: that it stabilizes the web, or makes it more apparent to birds which will thus not fly into and wreck it, or it reflects light to attract insect prey, or perhaps most likely helps to camouflage the spider in the web.
Print References
Florida's Fabulous Spiders(1)
Kaston, p. 138 (2)
Howell and Jenkins, pages 154-159 (3)
Works Cited
1.Florida's Fabulous Spiders
Sam Marshall, G. B. Edwards. 2002. World Publications.
2.How to Know the Spiders
B. J. Kaston. 1978. WCB/McGraw-Hill.
3.Spiders of the Eastern US, A Photographic Guide
W. Mike Howell and Ronald L. Jenkins. 2004. pearson education.