The signature spider in my sunroom

By Whitney Schmidt

Pittsboro, NC – Early last summer I noticed one of these in our sunroom, up in the corner just barely out of the way.  She was so big I checked the doors – no way did I want that in my house; spiders send me down the road.  I could see the web she made new every morning from my desk, and every day that she stayed there we became  little better acquainted.

My mother calls them Writing Spiders.  Their webs are indeed a mess if you touch one, but it’s worse for the bugs…I watched many mornings as one flew in and Spidey rocked the web back and forth to wrap dinner quickly.   She was fascinating.

About the time my spider showed in the sunroom I started to write regularly, sitting in the same office chair that allowed full view of the zigzag web and the spider.  I always checked to see if she was there when I sat down, and she always was.  About halfway into summer a group of writers got together at a home in Siler City for a workshop, and when I found my place at the kitchen table I noticed Writing Spiders outside of every single window.  *Write!*  they said, *we do*.

At some point I did some research on Writing Spiders, zipper spiders, banana spiders, signature spiders, and was not surprised when sometime in late October the web stopped coming back each morning.  I finally got on a chair and looked more closely at the space where my spider lived.  I found her curled up in a ball in the place where glass and its metal frame met.  Her egg sack was close by.

Argiope aurantia (photo by Judy Gallagher)

This spring we had huge numbers of Argiope aurantia in our garden.  You can see a picture of their mama here [Note: original link expired. New link provided as of 1.2.24]