Argiope Aurantia – Sharp serrated points of bumble bee colour cut my field of view

I guess you could say I freaked out yesterday when I came across this little guy out in the meadow. I’d been pruning and “editing” the garden, everything reacting to the heat, the over leafy tomato plants, the dying echinacea, the wilting daisies, and never-to-perform black eyed susans. On the other side of the house I had transplanted the wild version of Phlox–the ones that grow like weeds, because they are weeds–pretty ones. The plants had dried so I was squeezing their seed pods and delighting in the small outbursts, all the while hoping that we will have a full section of phlox next spring. As I grabbed one of the dried stems I came across an insect that looked like a cross between a praying mantis and a bamboo twig. I didn’t get a photo of that, but did enjoy having him wander up my arm and approach me with the same curiosity. When I returned the “living twig” to its slice of grass, this spider caught my eye. She was waiting in the middle of her web. To me she looked like a cross between something very poisonous and a bumble bee. She looked foreign, tropical and nasty. A quick google calmed my nerves that she is harmless, native to Ontario and loves eating bugs. Her name is too long to go into, but then so are most names, just complicated latin or greek terms that take away from the impact of colour, touch, smell or anything to do with the senses, although I suppose hearing a latin term can be quite stimulating. I’m the kind that buys plants for what they do or where they will be happiest but promptly forget their names: “That one smells like licorice, that one attracts butterflies, that one is tall and blue, that one looks like that one but isn’t perennial” etc. Well this one eats her web at the end of the day and then makes a new one in the morning. The male makes a web circling her web. She lays up to one thousand eggs in the fall and promptly dies, and the eggs hatch the following spring. It should be an interesting spot come next spring with yellow spiders, blue phlox and green twiggy bugs.

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