Argiope’s Daughter

Last year, on the day I submitted an entry to the summer essay contest over at Toasted Cheese, a large argiope spider took up residence in our garden. While I am generally the kind of person who shrieks in terror and calls her husband to come out with a large flat object whenever arachnids appear, this one seemed special – almost pretty, even – and she was outside in the farthest corner of the yard, so I let her be.

Friends told me that argiopes are beneficial spiders because they snack on mosquitoes, and anything that eats mosquitoes is a good thing, in my book. In addition, one particular friend pointed me toward information about these spiders including the fact that the variety visiting me is a “writing spider,” so called because of the letter-like zig-zags in the stablementium part of their webs. (There’s also this cool legend about writing spiders, which states that if they write your name in their web you will die. So far, I’ve only ever seen them write ZZZZZZZZZZ, however, so I’m not terribly concerned.)

Argiopes only live about a year, but ever since summer started, I’ve been scanning the yard along the back fence, hoping a new argiope would arrive. I enjoyed having her quiet presence last year (the pretty ones are female, the males are smaller and not as flashy), and yesterday, while I was refilling the pool, I felt like there was someone watching me. Turning, I looked at the fence post where last year’s spider had taken up residence – nothing. But a few feet away, in a different section of fence, there was an argiope, basking in the sunlight.

She may not be the daughter of my writing spider from last year, but the chances are good that she is, and I’ve welcomed her into my yard, and taken her presence as a sign that I need to write more, and a blessing upon my blogathon tomorrow.

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