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Monday, July 28, 2008

Icky spider

About two summers ago we saw this spider in our backyard. At the time, my husband captured one, killed others (yes, there was more than one) and kept the area sprayed to prevent them from returning. I did a little research and found out that they aren't poisonous even though they look really menacing.

Today, when I went outside to throw some garbage in the trash bin I saw another one. Not quite as big as what I've seen, but big enough. I got some bug spray and gave him a run for his money. I sprayed a little extra since the only spray I had was for flying insects. I had to take out a wasp at the same time who was roaming around the vicinity. I didn't want to get stung while attacking the spider.

Those spiders kind of bug me (uh, sorry bad pun) so I looked it up again today. One thing that I read seemed a little suspicious. It said, "This species is only recorded from Singapore."

Hmmm? Now does that mean whoever wrote that web page had only seen them and knew them to be in Singapore. If that's the case then this thing and all it's cousins are a very long way from home. So I searched again using its correct name: Mangrove St. Andrew's Cross Spider (Argiope manga).

I found out from Wikipedia that they are well distributed throughout the world and they prefer warmer climates. (Just great!) You should take a peek at what it says... quite interesting with wonderfully graphic and icky pictures.

In North America (where I am, of course), the Argiope aurantia (ah! that would explain "species in Singapore!) is commonly known as the "black and yellow garden spider" or "writing spider." And in England they're known as Argiope bruennichi (found only on the southern coast and in other parts of Europe including Germany) and called the wasp spider. If you're curious about it in your area then I guess you're going to just have to read the Wiki page.

Although they may bite when grabbed they pose no threat to humans. That makes me feel a little better, but I am still going to annihilate them when I see them. They can get pretty big! Yuck!
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