Around here the largest spider you’re likely to come across is this one. Many people are freaked out by it’s size and bold coloration, especially when they encounter one unexpectedly.
Its web is a distinctive circular shape up to two feet in diameter, with a dense zigzag of silk, known as a stabilimentum, in the center. The purpose of the stabilimentum is disputed. It is possible that it acts as camouflage for the spider lurking in the web’s center, but it may also warn birds of the presence of the otherwise difficult-to-see web.
In a nightly ritual, the spider consumes the circular interior part of the web and then rebuilds it each morning with fresh new silk. This spider, found on the Erie Canal towpath, has caught a hornet.
As is true in many spider species, females of this species grow to much larger size than males. Black and Yellow Garden Spiders are harmless to humans. Because they are large, many people fear them; however, not only are they harmless, but they are beneficial because they eat a lot of insects.