Wasp Spider

Wasp SpiderWasp Spider

Latin name: Argiope bruennichi

The Wasp Spider is a very large, striking yellow and black and white striped spider that is a recent arrival in the UK from the continent and has slowly spread over the south of England and the Channel Islands. Wasp Spiders build large orb webs in grassland and heathland, and attach their silk egg-sacs to the grasses. The web has a wide, white zig-zag strip running down the middle, known as a 'stabilimentum', the function of which is unclear. Mating is a dangerous game for males; they wait at the edge of the web until the female has moulted into a mature form, then take advantage of her jaws being soft and rush in to mate. However, many males still get eaten during this time. In late summer the females spin a beautiful flask-shaped, patterned case in which she lays her eggs and the young spiders hatch in spring.

Status: Protected in law in Belgium, not protected in UK