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Photo#99072
Orbweaver - Argiope argentata - female

Orbweaver - Argiope argentata - Female
Point Mugu State Park, Ventura County, California, USA
March 21, 2007
Size: 6-7 mm
Searching the Pricklypears (Opuntia littoralis) for another little spider I had photographed a week earlier (see here: 1 ), I came upon two other species. This is one of them, and I hope someone can help coming closer than Araneidae.

Images of this individual: tag all
Orbweaver - Argiope argentata - female Orbweaver - Argiope argentata - female

Looks like
A mid molt level female of the Argiope argentata. (Not sure I know what a male looks like.) Those tubercles will enlarge in the older gals. I think they are known for hanging out on Opuntia.

 
Photo of male here:

 
Thanks, Herschel,
it does have an Argiope posture. How often do they molt? I might be able to follow this as I return to Mugu.

 
Yes
Herschel nailed it. Tom M. and Paul posted similar specimens, but earlier instars based on the stabilimenta.
Growth rate is generally dictated by prey availability.

 
Thanks to both of you,
Herschel and Jeff. In addition, I know what a Hollenbeck question is.

 
Sounds
Like a Hollenbeck question to me. I assume the big spiders molt far less frequently than the little captive jumpers but I don't have an estimated molt cycle time.

 
Well,
I guess I'll see, perhaps, in a little while.

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