On October 16th, while hiking at Ben Geren Park, I came across a striking Banded Garden Spider perched in her web. This was the first time I’ve had the opportunity to photograph one of these fascinating spiders.
She had spun an impressive web, about 6 1/2 feet off the ground, next to the trail along an old roadbed. The spider sat patiently in the center, her banded legs stretched out, waiting for lunch to arrive.
The Banded Garden Spider (Argiope trifasciata) is common across North and South America, but has spread to other parts of the world as well. These large spiders can be found mid-summer through fall until the first freeze sets in. The females lay egg sacs in early fall containing hundreds of eggs, which hatch the following spring.
The spider preys on a variety of insects including grasshoppers, katydids and cicadas. Once caught in the web, the spider shakes the web to further entrap the insect before injecting venom and wrapping it in silk. She often repairs damage to the web before retrieving her prey.
One fascinating fact I learned is that under ultraviolet light, the spider and web seem to disappear, but the zigzag stabilimentum blazes brightly. Scientists believe this serves to attract insects to the web like a neon sign. What an ingenious hunting strategy!
I feel fortunate to have captured images of this Banded Garden Spider in her natural forest habitat near the trail. Her striking yellow and black banded legs and large orb web make her a true beauty. I can’t wait for another opportunity to photograph one of these amazing spiders in their natural setting in the woods.
- Date: 10/16/23
- Time: 8:26 AM
- Camera: Canon EOS R5
- Lens: Canon RF 100-500 mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM
- ISO: 25600
- Aperture: 8
- Shutter: 1/800
- Exp. Comp.: +1.0
- Lens (mm): 500
- Program: Manual