North Country explorer from Plainfield, Vermont
Spotted this black and yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia) hanging out in the shrubs behind Johnson Hall of Science today. I was especially impressed by the size of this individual - roughly that of a half dollar coin - and some quick research informed me that females range from 0.75 mm to 1 in., which is up to 4x larger than males! If this spider is in fact a female, she has likely already produced an egg sack, and will die once the weather turns cold. The eggs will overwinter, and up to 1,000 spiderlings will hatch in the spring. Impressive!