Thursday, October 4, 2007
A Minor Greek Goddess Appears In The Oklahoma Woods
Meet Argiope Aurantia - the nearly two-inch (not counting the leg-span) Black and Yellow Argiope spider encountered in a recent Tuesday-morning walk-in the woods near El Reno. Argiopes are also called Golden Orb Weavers or "The Writing Spider" due to its silky stabilimentum in the web that makes a vertical zigzag band.
In Greek Mythology - Argiope was a nature-loving water nymph and considered one of the "lesser Goddesses". In the back woods of Oklahoma this queen reigns supreme with her two-foot web, her inch-and-a half round egg-sac and her mate that weighs-in at only 1/8 th the size. This is definitely sexual dimorphism at its finest. The Argiope is also capable of consuming the occasional hummingbird that gets snagged in her web. http://www.whatsthatbug.com/spiders10.html
Argiope's are only know to bite humans when provoked and their venom is mostly non-toxic to the two-legged species. Some experts believe the zigzag weave through their web is designed to alert birds before accidentally flying through it.