Oh no! It’s another Argiope video!


For once, the YouTube algorithm is working in my favor. It’s currently saying “Oh, so you like big spiders, do you?” every time I check in, which is factually true, so I keep seeing spectacular Argiope behaviors.

This one tickled me because I have vivid memories of seeing my first Cicada Killer, the Most Terrifying Wasp in the World, as a child. It was perched on a tree branch in my back yard, and it was swiftly and brutally dismembering a cicada, the Most Obnoxiously Noisy Insect in the World, and it was mesmerizing. It would just tear into it sloppily with its mandibles, slurping down slimy crunchy bits, and scraps of chiting and fragments of body parts were raining down out of the tree. I swore I’d never go near one of those monsters.

Yet here’s Argiope, my hero, neatly turning a Cicada Killer into lunch.

The camera work isn’t great, but you can see how effective Argiope‘s web spinning is — she isn’t tying up her prey with single threads, but with these broad ribbons of silk. I’ve seen them immobilize a large grasshopper in seconds.

Comments

  1. Mrdead Inmypocket says

    As a child my brother collected wildlife. Snakes, turtles, spiders a pet opossum he adopted as a joey. There was a considerable zoo in the barn of hurt animals he cared for and released.

    One summer he built a large enclosure in our bedroom and caught 15 or so of this species. One time after feeding them he mistakenly left the cover open. Our father came in to wake us in the morning and nearly fainted. Quite a few had expanded their territory to take over the room. Dad was not a nature kind of person. Mother, which my brother took after where animals were concerned, showed us how to remove them without damage. So…

    They’re useful and good company to have around. But if you don’t wish to cohabitate here’s an eviction process.
    1. Coax them onto a flat surface.
    2. Cover with a cup.
    3. Slowly slip something under the cup. A postcard or a piece of firm junk mail works nicely.
    3a. Make sure the card is wider than the rim of the cup.
    3b Don’t pinch the limbs as you slide the paper underneath.
    4. Walk calmly to the nearest exit. Once outside place on the ground and tip cup over.
    5. Run.
    Benefits = Happy healthy spider will continue their work outside and you have clean walls.
    Demonstration of the technique HERE. Results may vary.

  2. unclefrogy says

    that way of subduing prey must have been the inspiration for those big rolls of plastic wrap that are used to wrap up pallets for shipping
    I like those big spiders and wish I could entice one to live in my yard.
    uncle frogy

  3. woodsong says

    Oh, that brings back memories!

    When I was a small child (4 or 5 years old), we had a garden in the backyard, and my mother would spend afternoons pulling weeds and cultivating. One day, I asked her if I could help. I don’t remember precisely what she told me, but I learned that day that grasshoppers ate plants and were bad for the garden, while the big black and yellow spiders would eat grasshoppers that got caught in their webs, and therefore were good for the garden.

    I spent a number of afternoons that summer catching grasshoppers and tossing them into occupied spiderwebs, then watching in fascination as the spider wrapped up her prey and stored it for later. I thought it was really cool how the spider would wrestle her prey into position, then apply what I now call the “rotisserie” technique: Dangle the partially-wrapped grasshopper by a thread at one end, perch to one side (anchored by two or three pairs of legs), and spin the prey with the remaining legs while applying silk sheets. Quick and effective! There were more than a dozen spiders living around the garden fence, possibly more than 20, and at the end of the day each had two or three grasshoppers in their larders. Yes, I did try to share my captures equally among them. We had a lot of well-fed spiders that year!

    Argiope has always been one of my favorite spiders.

    I’ve had to relocate a few Argiopes and other large spiders. Sorry, Arachne, but if you keep webbing across the top of our garage door, some clumsy human is going to get a face full of web, and my husband is an arachnophobe. He’s asked me to gently find you another home.

    My capture technique (for dangling webbers) is to simply cup two hands loosely around the spider, taking care that if I catch a leg the spider can easily free it. With the big ones, I’ll usually open my hands (once the critter is outside the house) and let it walk on me if it wants to. I haven’t been bitten doing this so far, but my hands are large enough to fully encase an Argiope, so I wouldn’t advise a small child trying that technique on a large spider. Cup-and-card works well, and is my preferred technique for relocating flying wasps.

  4. says

    Interesting that she disabled the dangerous end first. You have to wonder just how intelligent spiders are but how would you go about testing it?

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