A few days ago, I was driving through the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma when I spotted a large Garden Spider repairing its web near the road at Miner’s Cove. I stopped to take some photos and was lucky enough to catch the spider in action on video, which I shared on my TikTok here [Link].
I went back to the same spot a couple days later and found the spider again. This time, it had caught a meal and was dealing with it on the web. More excitingly, I noticed several tiny baby spiders on the edges of the web – the spider’s offspring! Here is another video I took [TikTok].
Garden Spiders, known scientifically as Argiope aurantia, are common orb weaver spiders found throughout North America. The females are about 2 inches long and have distinct yellow and black patterns on their large abdomens. The males are much smaller and browner.
The female spider builds a large, circular web with a zigzag pattern through the middle. This is where she waits to catch flying insects like bees, butterflies, and grasshoppers. Once she traps something in her web, she wraps it in silk to immobilize it before carrying it to the center of the web to eat.
After mating, the female produces an egg sac and attaches it to the edge of her web. The egg sac may contain up to 1,000 eggs! Once the eggs hatch, the tiny spiderlings stay near their mother for several days, living together on the web. They will eventually balloon away on threads of silk to find new places to build their own webs.
Getting footage of the mother Garden Spider along with her young was an exciting find during my recent photography outing. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more spider family portraits! Let me know in the comments if you have any good spider stories from your own photography adventures.
Steve Creek, Wildlife Photographer
- Camera: Canon EOS R5
- Lens: Canon RF 100-500 mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM
Technical Details: First Photo
- Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge (Oklahoma)
- Date and Time Taken: September 1, 2023 (09:02 A. M.)
- Program Mode: Manual
- Aperture: f10
- Shutter speed: 1/800
- ISO: 1000 (Auto)
- Exp. Comp.: +0.3
- Focal Length: 500 mm