Black and Yellow Argiope Watercolor

sketch of a black and yellow argiope spider

I’m sorry to some that may be squeamish about spiders, but hold on…give her a chance! She has her best dress on. And look at those long black gloves on her hands…so classy!

My place of employment is hosting field trips for grade school students throughout the month of September. My station is the prairie. I explain to the children the importance of a prairie. I talk about how it prevents erosion, filters rainwater, contains fertile soil, is home to thousands of different types of organisms that work together. But the most exciting part is walking through the prairie!

The prairie does not have a path. The children literally have to trample through grasses and plants that are about as tall and sometimes taller than themselves. This is my favorite moment…when the squeals and shrieks begin. Some run head first, some are afraid, but they all want to participate because they’ve never had the opportunity to learn in this manner.

One student found this female black and yellow argiope. AKA: the yellow garden spider, the golden spider, the writing spider, the zigzag spider etc. She was large and beautiful. She only lives about one year and will probably die before the end of autumn. Her job right now is to lay an egg sack. If it is too cold after they develop, the spiderlings will hatch next spring.

female black and yellow argiope

The zigzag pattern she wove in her web is called a stabilimentum. Some believe it is created to attract species to the web and some believe it is used to warn about the web. (Illinois Natural History Survey)

We also found deer bones in the prairie. To which massive loud shrieks and screams commenced.
Ha ha ha! They were amazed!

Hopefully we will find more interesting things in the prairie this month.


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