Silver Argiope

The photo was taken in Rose Canyon © Karen Straus/ San Diego Audubon Society

Fun Facts:

  • The silk strand of this spider is so fine it can only be seen by our eyes if light strikes it.
  • The spider’s web is flexible, so it does not break if a insect gets trapped, dew drops, or the wind moving the plant the web is on
  • The spider lives on both wild and garden shrubs and prickly pear cactus
  • In San Diego there are also black and yellow argiopes

This beautiful female spider is about ½ inch across.  As with most spiders, the male is much smaller. Spiders start an orb web by releasing a strand of silk so fine it is invisible to the human eye unless light strikes it. The silk floats on the breeze, and if it sticks to something where the strand is more or less horizontal, the spider walks along with it and strengthens it until it is strong enough to hold the entire web. The radial threads are stretchable so that they don’t break when an insect flies into the web, or the breeze moves the vegetation to which it is attached, or when dew causes them to droop. These spiders are found on shrubs and on prickly pear cactus in the wild and in gardens. They are most noticeable in the fall when they have grown in size. Also common in San Diego are Black and Yellow Argiopes.


The Silver Argiope is a spider that has a bite as harmless as a stinger from a bee is to an average aged human but lethal to its victims trapped in its home. How do you think the Silver Argiope catches its victims?

Click for the answer:

The Silver Argiope, like most spiders, spins webs. Insects can’t see these webs and so they act as traps for the bugs which also serves as the Silver Argiope’s next meal.