Belongs to: spiders

Wasp spider Argiope bruennichi


Best time to see: Jul to end Oct

Key facts

A striking large spider with wasp-like markings, probably designed to deter predators

Once confined to the south coast this spider has recently extended its range northwards, including into Essex

Habitat: rough unmanaged grassland or open scrub

Recognition

Females 12-15mm long with distinctive black and yellow stripes; males much smaller and brown in colour

Spin their webs, with a distinctive zig-zag pattern running vertically, between plant stems in rough grassland

Eats flying insects such as bees, and also grasshoppers and crickets

Lifecycle

Male mates with the female just after she has shed her skin and has soft jaws, but often gets eaten after mating anyway

Egg sac is constructed on grass leaves, so the species only survives where the vegetation is not cut regularly

  • Main photo

Photo © Tony Gunton