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Wasp-like spider and global warming

Wasp-like spider and global warming
Photo Information
Copyright: Catherine Dijon (CatherineD) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 861 W: 57 N: 4006] (14097)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-08-03
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon EOS400D, Sigma 70-300 4-5.6 APO DG MACRO
Exposure: f/7.1, 1/125 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-08-11 9:50
Viewed: 3970
Points: 20
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Argiope bruennichi, or the wasp-like spider, is a species of orb-web spider distributed throughout central Europe, Northern Europe, north Africa and parts of Asia. Like many other members of the genus Argiope, (including St Andrew's Cross spiders), it shows striking yellow and black markings on its abdomen.
The spider builds a spiral orb web at dawn or dusk, commonly in long grass a little above ground level, taking it approximately an hour. The prominent zigzag shape called the stabilimentum, or web decoration, featured at the centre of the orb is of uncertain function, though it may be to attract insects.
When a prey item is first caught in the web, Argiope bruennichi will quickly immobilise its prey by wrapping it in silk. The prey is then bitten and then injected with a paralysing venom and a protein dissolving enzyme.
The male of the species is much smaller than the female. It can often be seen in or near a female's web waiting for her to complete her final moult, at which time she reaches sexual maturity. At this time and her chelicerae (jaws) will be soft for a short time and the male may mate with the female without the danger of being eaten. (Wikipedia)

Global warming ?
Argiope bruennichi expanded its geographical range to northern parts of Europe. The range of the wasp-like spider was previously limited to south-east Europe (P MALT et al., 1990). However, during the last few decades the species has colonized many new sites in Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Poland, Denmark, Sweden and even Great Britain.
In Belgium, the first mention of this species dates of 1974 in Hastière (near the Meuse River, south of Belgium). Since that time, it continues its expansion to the North.
In the meadow I visit often in Hamoir (Ourthe valley), I saw 6 specimens on a few m2. Is it a effect of the global warming?


L'argiope fasciée (Argiope bruennichi), encore appelée argiope rayée, argiope frelon ou épeire fasciée, est une araignée aranéomorphe de la famille des Araneidae. Elle a initialement été décrite comme une espèce du genre Araneus. Son abdomen jaune et noir à l’instar des guêpes la signale comme « non-comestible ».
De nombreuses théories ont été avancées pour expliquer la présence du stabilimentum : c'est un motif blanc en zig-zag qui se trouve sur la toile. Il servirait à stabiliser la toile ou attirer les proies du fait de sa grande brillance dans le spectre des ultra-violets que les insectes perçoivent.
Elle fait sa toile dans les hautes herbes et les champs en friche à environ 30 cm du sol. Dès qu’une proie se prend dans sa toile, elle l’emballe dans la soie en quelques secondes et l’immobilise grâce à un venin paralysant. Il est inoculé par l'intermédiaire des crochets portés par les chélicères au sommet desquels s'ouvre un minuscule orifice. Elle se nourrit principalement de criquets, de sauterelles, de mouches et d'abeilles, et peut dévorer jusqu'à 4 sauterelles par jour.
L'argiope présente un dimorphisme sexuel important. Le corps de la femelle mesure de 15 à 25 mm de long et la face dorsale de son abdomen est jaune orné de stries transversales noires lui donnant cet aspect de “ guêpe” si caractéristique.
Le mâle, par contre, atteint à peine 4 à 8 mm et présente une coloration terne. Seule la femelle construit de grandes toiles, alors que le mâle mène une vie errante, sauf à l'époque des amours où il se rapproche des toiles des femelles.
Le mâle, au terme de l'accouplement, abandonne son appareil copulateur ce qui diminue les chances d'un rival de féconder la même femelle. Après l'accouplement, la femelle pond rapidement 200 à 300 œufs dans un cocon de couleur brune suspendu dans les graminées peu au dessus du sol. Les œufs hivernent à l'abri du gel. (Wikipedia et Naturaliste.be)

Réchauffement climatique ?
Originaire du Bassin méditerranéen, l'argiope fasciée se rencontre désormais dans toute l'Europe centrale et septentrionale. En Belgique, où la première mention de l'espèce date de 1874 à Hastière, son expansion est constante et progresse vers le nord. Dans la prairie que je fréquente à Hamoir (vallée de l’Ourthe), j’en ai compté au moins 6 spécimens sur quelques m2. Serait-ce un des effets du réchauffement climatique ?

nglen, crs, Argus, Alex99, lise, red45, Kaszek, Dis. Ac. has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Gert-Paassen: Hello!CatherineD 2 08-10 09:09
To Vinster: ThanksCatherineD 1 08-11 10:28
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-08-11 9:53]

Hi Catherine. This is a very good close up of the Wasp spider. You have captured it so the markings show up so well with fine detail and natural colours.nice to see the light on the web. well done TFS. good notes too .

  • Great 
  • batu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1078 W: 292 N: 4497] (16383)
  • [2008-08-11 9:54]

Hello Catherine,
and just another Argiope bruennichi (see Siggi).
A fine picture showing the colour patterns of body and legs very nice.
Excellent focus on head and prey.
Best wishes, Peter
P.S. Interestingly, you used the same information source as Siggi!

  • Great 
  • crs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 469 W: 0 N: 922] (3551)
  • [2008-08-11 10:01]

Hi Catherine,

Nice photo of the spider! You caputred very well the colors of the insect. I like the yellow spot from the background that suits with the spider. Nicely underlining of spiders pattern.

Thank you for sharing,

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-08-11 10:02]

Hello Catherine,
Yes, the Wasp-spider has established itself in S. Sweden and I have seen it but have yet to photograph it.
This is an excellent sharp capture of it wrapping up its prey. Great POV and composition too to give us an excellent view of this female.
TFS this beauty,

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2008-08-11 10:04]

Great macro Catheriner. Colorfull with very good sharpness and very good details. Very good job. Well done. Thank you for posting.
Best regards Siggi

  • Vinster Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 91 W: 5 N: 185] (789)
  • [2008-08-11 10:05]
  • [+]

Hi Catherine
A good shot of this colourful spider. I like the mummified meal it is feeding on. In the UK this spider has certainly become common on the heathland of southern England in recent years. I remember being so excited when I found my first one about 15 years ago. Now I can find literally dozens of them!
Looking at your camera settings you could have perhaps improved this shot by choosing an ISO of 200 or 400. This would have allowed you to select an aperture value of f/14 or more to keep more of the spider in focus.
Kind Regards

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-08-11 10:46]

Hi Catherine.
Simply great image of the fine spider and very nice scene at whole. Sometime I captured many shots of this species. However< I have not any similar by quality. Superb farming and DOF as well as the pictured moment and scene. I like ultimate details of the spider, its web and prey. BG is fantastic. It is suitable for main subject greatly. Well done and TFS.

  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-08-11 12:57]

Hello Catherine,
A splendid view of this beautiful Spider that I obviously have to look out for! Excellent DOF and sharp details. I like the POV too and the fine soft background. Well done!
TFS and regards, Ulla

  • Great 
  • lise Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 169 W: 48 N: 548] (2877)
  • [2008-08-11 16:30]

Bonjour Catherine,
J'ai cherché cette araignée depuis longtemps mais je n'en ai jamais trouvé, merci de partager celle-ci :)
Magnifiques couleurs, belle prise de vue, j'adore l'extra de sa proie enroullée.

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9100] (31094)
  • [2008-08-12 10:44]

Hello Catherine!

One of most beautifull spiders for sure. Good moment catched, it is busy with its prey. Great colours. I like your note. Yes, global warming. This spider is still on Polish Red List, but it is now so common that I can find hundreds of them in my nearby meadow.

  • Great 
  • Kaszek Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 237 W: 50 N: 391] (1451)
  • [2008-08-12 14:12]

Hello Catherine!
One of my favourite spiders. Great shown here. Fantastic colours. Very good POV.

Hello Catherine,

I search for this spider.
I have been photograped yesterday and podted this specie 2 years ago and now for twic time been seen in my life.
Great image from this spider with exellent pov and detailf.
Fine colours.
Good isolated from the bg.


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