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.
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.

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