Argiope Spider

1/15s at f8.0, ISO:200, Canon Mark III 1Ds w/180mm, 1.4x converter

The spider species Argiope aurantia is commonly known as the Black and Yellow Garden Spider. It is common to the lower 48 of the United States, Hawaii, southern Canada, Mexico, and Central America. Like other members of Argiope they are considered harmless to humans. Yellow garden spiders breed once a year. The males roam in search of a female, building a small web near or actually in the female's web, then court the females by plucking strands on her web. Often, when the male approaches the female, he has a safety drop line ready, in case she attacks him. After mating, the male dies, and is sometimes then eaten by the female. She lays her eggs at night on a sheet of silky material, then covers them with another layer of silk, then a protective brownish silk. She then uses her legs to form the sheet into a ball with an upturned neck. Egg sacs range from 5/8" to 1" in diameter. She often suspends the egg sac right on her web, near the center where she spends most of her time. Each spider produces from one to four sacs with perhaps over a thousand eggs inside each. She guards the eggs against predation as long as she is able. However, as the weather cools, she becomes more frail, and dies around the time of the first hard frost.
Boulder County, Co