The Argiope Bruennichi is often referred to as Wasp Spider. This is due to the bright colors, which are very reminiscent of the wasp color. The characteristic bright stripes have also become the reason for another name – the Tiger Spider. Most often, a bright color indicates that the insect is dangerous and is poisonous. Zoologists unequivocally claim that spiders are indeed considered poisonous, but their venom is not at all dangerous to humans.
Origin of the Species
Argiope Bruennichi belongs to the arachnid arthropods, is a representative of the order of spiders, the family of orb-web spiders, the genus Argiope, the species Argiope bruennichi. The spider received the name Argiope in honor of the ancient Greek nymph. About three hundred years ago, it was customary to give insects the names of ancient Greek divine creatures. Bruennichi is the surname of a researcher, a zoologist from Denmark who wrote a large encyclopedia of insectology in 1700.
It is rather difficult to determine the exact time of origin and stages of evolution of this species of arthropods. This is because the protective, chitinous layer is quickly destroyed. The few remains of various parts of the body of the ancient ancestors of arachnids were most often preserved in amber or resin. It was these findings that allowed scientists and researchers to suggest that the first arachnids appeared about 280 – 320 million years ago.
The oldest find of an arthropod was found on the territory of the modern People’s Republic of China. Judging by the body parts isolated from amber, the arthropods of that period were small in size, which did not exceed five to six millimeters. Tellingly, they had a long tail, which disappeared in the process of evolution. The tail was used to make the so-called spider web. The ancient ancestors of arthropods did not know how to weave cobwebs, they simply involuntarily emitted dense sticky threads, which they used to braid their shelters, protect cocoons.
Another characteristic feature of ancient spiders was the almost separate cephalothorax and abdomen. Zoologists suggest that the place of appearance of spiders is Gondwana. With the advent of Pangea, insects began to spread almost at lightning speed throughout the land. With the onset of the ice ages, insect habitats have been significantly reduced.
Appearance and Features
The Wasp Spider is considered a medium-sized spider. The size of the body is 2.5-5 centimeters. However, adults in some regions may exceed these sizes. Individuals of this species are characterized by pronounced gender dimorphism. Males are significantly inferior to females in size. Their body size rarely exceeds a centimeter. In addition to their size, they are easy to distinguish with the naked eye by their appearance and color.
Females have a large, round abdomen, which is distinguished by the presence of bright black and yellow stripes. The female’s long limbs also have light stripes. In males, the body is thin and elongated. The color is nondescript, gray, or sandy. The abdominal area is somewhat lighter, with light longitudinal stripes on it. There are also stripes on the limbs of the male. However, they are dim and vague. The range of the limbs is quite large. In some individuals, it reaches 10-12 centimeters.
Fun fact: Spiders have six pairs of limbs, four of which function as legs, and two are used as jaws!
Short pedipalps look like tentacles. The belly, flat on the inside, has irregularities along the contour in the form of teeth. The bright, juicy color allows spiders to avoid the fate of being eaten by birds and other insect hunters. Spiders are venomous. However, they are not capable of causing much harm to a person. The maximum that can happen when they bite is burning, redness of the bite area, a feeling of numbness, swelling.
The habitat of this species of arachnids is quite wide. We can say with confidence that insects live in various parts of the world. Geographic regions of habitation of arthropods:
- Asia Minor;
- Middle Asia;
- Eastern region of Ukraine;
In the 60s and 70s, most Wasp Spiders lived within 52-53 degrees north latitude. However, already in the 2000s, information began to arrive about the discovery of an insect in various regions, and, in most cases, the individuals found lived much north of the specified region. Zoologists argue that this unusual way of dispersal of arachnids was facilitated by the non-standard ability to move – in the wind.
The cravings of this species of arthropods for xerophilic species of vegetation have been revealed. They prefer to settle on various types of meadow vegetation and shrubs. They can often be found on the sides of roads, forest edges.
Spiders prefer open, sunny areas. They love fresh, dry air and absolutely cannot stand high moisture and cold climates. Most of the time, the Wasp Spider tends to be in the open sun. Among all types of vegetation, they prefer to settle on low plants that grow in arid, open sunny areas.
Wasp Spiders are considered omnivorous arthropods. Insects are the main food source. Spiders get them using their webs. It is worth noting that in the skill of weaving a web, they practically have no equal. The net is quite large and has a wheel-like shape. A distinctive feature of the web of these arthropods is the presence of zigzag lines. Such a network is a reliable assistant in the process of obtaining food. Spiders are happy to eat any insects that can get into the web. Basic diet:
The specific shape of the web allows spiders to catch a fairly large number of insects. Tiger Spiders synthesize poison, with which they paralyze the victim, preventing its release from the net. Feeling the vibrations in the nets, the arthropod instantly approaches its victim, bites it, injecting poison inside, and waits.
Interesting fact: Most often, after several insects have become entangled in the net at the same time, they look for another place and weave a new net. This is due to the caution of spiders, who are afraid to frighten off potential new victims.
After a while, the poison begins to act. It paralyzes the victim and melts the insect’s insides. After that, the spiders simply suck on the inner contents, leaving the outer shell. Often after mating, the female eats her partner if she is very hungry.
Features of Character and Lifestyle
The Wasp Spider is not a solitary insect. Spiders of this species tend to gather in groups, the number of which can reach two dozen individuals. This is necessary for a more efficient provision of food for oneself, as well as for breeding and rearing offspring. In this team, the leading position is taken by a female. She determines the place of settlement of the group. After resettlement, the process of weaving a trapping net begins.
Arthropods tend to lead a terrestrial lifestyle. To provide themselves with a source of food, spiders weave a web. The web woven by him has a beautiful pattern in the form of small mesh size.
Spiders weave their webs in the dark. It takes about 60-80 minutes to make a web. During the period of weaving their nets, female individuals are most often located in the center of the trapping net with spread limbs. The cobweb is most often placed on twigs, blades of grass, or in other places where it is most likely to catch insects. After everything is ready, the spider lurks below and just waits for its prey.
If the arthropod feels the approach of a threat, it immediately descends to the surface of the earth and turns over with its belly upward, hiding the cephalothorax. In some situations, Wasp Spiders begin to swing on the web for self-defense. The threads have the property of reflecting the sun’s rays, forming a large shiny spot, scaring off potential enemies.
Spiders are endowed by nature with a calm disposition, they are not inclined to show aggression. If a person encounters such a spider in natural conditions, he can safely photograph it or carefully examine it at close range. During the onset of darkness, or when the temperature drops, spiders are not very active.
Social Structure and Reproduction
The females are ready to enter into marriage at the end of the molt. Most often this happens with the onset of the autumn season. It is after the end of molting that the female’s oral apparatus remains soft for some time, which leaves males a chance to survive after mating. However, this does not always help the males survive. For laying eggs, female individuals vitally need protein, the source of which can be a partner.
Before mating, males look closely for a long time and choose the female they like. They are nearby for a while. When the male approaches the potential partner he likes, the threads of the trapping net do not vibrate, as when prey hits them, and the female realizes that the time has come for mating.
After about a month from the moment of mating, the spider lays eggs. Before that, she weaves one or more cocoons, in each of which she lays about four hundred eggs. After the cocoons are full, the female fixes them close to her web with reliable, strong threads.
Interesting fact: After the eggs are hidden in cocoons and securely fixed on branches, or other types of vegetation, the female dies.
In these cocoons, the eggs are overwintered. Spiders are born from eggs only in spring. Since childhood, individuals of this species have fiercely competed for survival. The lack of food in the confined space of the cocoon contributes to the fact that the stronger spiders eat the weaker and smaller ones. Those who survived to climb out of the cocoon and climb higher on various types of vegetation. They lift the abdomen and release the cobweb. Together with the wind, cobwebs and spiders are carried in various directions. The full life cycle of a spider is 12 months on average.
Natural Enemies of Wasp Spider
The Wasp Spider, like any other insect species, has several enemies. Nature has endowed them with a bright, unusual color for spiders, thanks to which they manage to avoid the attack of many species of birds. Birds perceive a bright color as a signal and a sign that the insect is poisonous and life-threatening to eat it.
Spider relatives pose no danger to each other. They do not wage war over territory, borders, or over females. Small spiders that hatch from eggs tend to eat each other while still in the cocoon. This somewhat reduces the number of insects. It is worth noting that spiders tend to bypass insectivorous plant species, and a strong web reliably protects them from predatory insects.
Rodents, frogs, lizards are dangerous for the spider. However, in some cases, spiders manage to outwit these dangerous creatures. They tend to defend themselves. To do this, they loosen the cobweb, the threads of which shine in the sun and scare away those who are going to feast on arthropods. If that doesn’t work, the spiders break off the cobweb and simply fall into the grass. It’s hard to find them there. In addition to rodents and lizards, wasps and bees are considered the enemies of Argiope Bruennichi, whose venom is deadly for spiders.
Population and Status of the Species
To date, the number of this species of arthropods is not under threat. In habitats familiar to him, he exists in sufficient quantity. These spiders are kept as pets by lovers of exotic animals around the world. Its popularity is due to its prevalence, undemanding nutrition, and care, as well as relatively low cost. In no country or region where the spider lives, there are special programs in which spiders are protected by nature or local authorities.
Information work is being carried out with the population in places where spiders live. People are informed about the rules of behavior when meeting spiders, about the measures that should be taken immediately if a bite has occurred. Children and schoolchildren are explained the danger of this type of spider, as well as how to behave when meeting with it to avoid being bitten by a dangerous insect.
The Wasp Spider is considered a representative of arthropods, which are difficult to confuse with anyone. Its distribution area is quite large, so it can often be found in the most diverse parts of the world. A spider bite is unlikely to be fatal for an adult, healthy person. However, it can cause serious complications. If the spider still managed to bite a person, you need to immediately apply cold to the bite site and seek medical help.