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This Week’s Creature Feature: Garden Spider

Like Penelope in the story of Odysseus, she spins and undoes on a daily cycle
      The large yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia) is a very special orb weaver spider. The females are known for nightly creating a beautiful intricate web with a zigzag pattern arranged vertically in the center of the web. The spider also positions herself in the center of the web.
      Each day the spider consumes the central portion of the web, preparing for nightly re-engineering. If the web is severely damaged, the whole web is replaced. When an insect hits the webbing, the prey is quickly wrapped up and consumed at leisure.  
      The photo shows a female eating a hoverfly with a male spider in the background.  
       The garden spider reproduces twice a year. The much smaller male finds a female and, after a careful approach, the female is impregnated. She will weave an egg case attached to her web. After the eggs hatch, the young are briefly protected by their mother.
      When a spider feels threatened, it starts a push-up action on its web, making it vibrate violently. It is hard to photograph a spider doing this evasive maneuver.
      Pesticides are spiders’ mortal enemy. If you admire your spiders, use them cautiously.