Charlotte the Writing Spider

I may have mentioned before that my choice of sciences is botany. Not biology, and definitely not entomology. Thus, I was horrified to encounter this denizen of a water barrel next to my corn patch. But not too horrified to take some video, as we’d never seen anything like her before.

She’s a golden orb spider, called a garden spider or writing spider. (We found this out after naming her Charlotte.) Her rather elegant Latin name is Argiope Aurantia. My oldest fed her the grasshopper she’s here cocooning, and I hope she eats many more, as they’re devastating the last crops of my garden.

Apparently, Argiope Aurantia is found all over North America, from the Gulf Coast to southern Canada. One of the gardening sites that came up in search results informed us they are the largest spider in East Texas. At least I’ll know what I’m screaming at if I see one when I go down there this fall.


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  1. My mom has them in her yard. I tried to tell her that they were harmless and ate nasty bugs… but she thinks they are too big anyway.

  2. Yeah, Marc kept telling me about this giant but harmless “banana spider” that shows up in his yard. Turns out it’s the same thing. Who knew Canada and Texas had *anything* in common for inhabitants, other than humans?

    The kids want to collect and store Charlotte’s carcass after the first frost. In my house. I was like NO.

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