Wasp Spider Argiope bruennichi

Scientific Name: Argiope bruennichi (Araneidae).

English Name: Wasp Spider (Orb Web Spider family).

French Name: L'Argiope frelon (='hornet argiope').

5 Key Characters:
  • abdomen yellow with irregular black stripes.
  • carapace silvery.
  • body up to 25mm long (females very variable and males tiny).
  • web has vertical zig zag of silk through the middle (known as the stabilimentum).
  • will push the web to and fro if agitated.

Lookalikes: None.

Habitat: Bushes and long grass.

Adult Active Period: Late summer.

Status: Common. Not dangerous to humans.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:
Female underside. The prey is a bumble bee Bombus sp.

Female underside. The prey is a white butterfly Pieridae.

Female underside. The prey is a drone fly Eristalis sp.

Female underside.

Female profile.


  1. The bit about moving the web if agitated is interesting.

    In Kenya there is a similar, possibly an Argibargie sp. spider...
    it was quite common...
    and builds a web around 2ft across...
    suspended on very long threads of silk...
    I watched one beating the web back and forth, through about 18" to two foot in each direction...
    it wasn't agitated, it was hunting...
    the web became almost invisible.
    Over the space of about thirty minutes it caught...
    if I remember rightly...
    around half a dozen of the white butterflies with metallic blue wing-tips....
    as well as assorted flies.
    Each time one was caught it would be dealt with and wrapped... but left in place.
    I was hypnotized by the spectacle.

    Closer to home, and when agitated, the Daddy-Longlegged spiders do an amazing dance.
    We've often a column of them up the corner of the stairs...
    the webs are all interlinked and touch one spider...
    you set a good chunk of the column going.

  2. Tim: You could be right that it is a hunting strategy. They do it if you walk close to their webs so maybe they are responding to the possibility of prey coming near. It wasn't until recently I realised it is the spiders moving the webs -- it looks like a breeze has caught them.

  3. If I can re-eatablish them in the meadow, I'll see if it was similar/same as what I saw in Kenya...
    you are a bit big to be considered prey... ;-)
    but, in the wild...
    if you were a horse/zebra, pig/boar or cow/wildebeest coming close...
    you might disturb possible prey with your movements...
    so expending energy making the web move might well pay dividends.

  4. Tim: Well feel free to kidnap spiders and or egg sacs as required from our orchard.