Ever wondered about that colorful spider in your backyard? Our customer in Murfreesboro TN did too, and it turns out it’s the black and yellow Argiope, a.k.a. the writing spider. Looks can be deceiving, though – despite its intimidating appearance, this spider is more into building intricate webs than bothering humans.
Want to learn more? Here are a few things that we think you should know about this arachnid species.
Are Writing Spiders Poisonous?
Although it looks rather threatening, the writing spider doesn’t prey on humans. But if it is provoked, it will bite. The bite feels similar to a bee sting. Young children, the elderly, and those with sensitive immune systems should take special care not to harass this pest. It’s best to marvel at these spiders and their webs, but not touch them.
Why Is It Called a Writing Spider?
As far as how this spider got its name, the writing’s on the web. As you can see in the picture above–submitted by our customer–it looks like there are several x or z shapes in the web. These zig-zag patterns make the writing spider easy to identify.
Where Do Writing Spiders Usually Build Their Webs?
Writing spiders are orb-weavers, which means they make beautiful, elaborate webs in a circular formation. And not just one web, either. This scribbling spider builds and tears down its UV-light-reflective web every day! Female writing spiders try to build these webs in places where they won’t be disturbed. So, if the web is in one place one day, it will likely be in the same place the next day. These webs are made of silk which is stronger and more flexible than steel!
Where Are Writing Spiders Usually Found?
Writing spiders are most commonly found in gardens, bushes, and shrubs. Because these spiders are found throughout the mainland of North America, it’s highly likely that you’ve seen this spider or its web before if you live in one of the 48 contiguous states in America. And if you haven’t, you may have read about the writing spider or watched a movie about it.
The Literary Connection: Orb-Weaving Spiders in “Charlotte’s Web”
Orb-weaving spiders were made famous in E.B. White’s beloved novel “Charlotte’s Web.” The character of Charlotte actually contains her spider identity in her middle name: Aranea. Although Charlotte is a slightly different species than a writing spider, she shares many characteristics with writing spiders, especially her web-making skills.
Should I Kill a Writing Spider?
Writing spiders are generally harmless and help control pests by catching insects. If the spider is not causing trouble, many people prefer keeping them around. If you’re uncomfortable, consider relocating rather than killing, as they play a positive role in the ecosystem.
What Are the Benefits of the Writing Spider?
Writing spiders, or Argiope aurantia, are like nature’s pest controllers. They build fancy webs that trap annoying flying bugs such as mosquitoes and flies, helping to keep the insect numbers down without using any chemicals.
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Is the Writing Spider Dangerous in Central Tennessee
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