Two-faced Spider and Walking Stick
Hey! What’s the stick on the foundation?! I always feel honored when I see a walking stick. After all, it’s not everyday that one sees this delicate sage-like creature.
This guy has been living between the A/C compressor and our house. He’s so big he eats other spiders.
The coolest thing about this spider are his two faces. The photo below is his underside, which is perfectly colored to warn off any predators.
It’s nearly impossible to tell which way he is facing, except the true back is more rounded with more yellow coloring.
ETA: This spider is Argiope aurantia, commonly known as the black and yellow garden spider, or writing spider. The stabilimentum is an important identifier of this spider’s web. Although the purpose of the stabilimentum is disputed, only spiders that are active during the day use them. Some believe it provides a visual warning for animals too large to be captured by the web, while others contend it attracts insects. I think this particular spider is female, as their body can grow up to 1 1/2″ long, twice as large as the male. The female spins her web in a sunny field, or around outbuildings. Then she waits for the male to find her. Garden spiders breed once a year. The male will set up a separate web near the female’s and begin courting her by plucking the strings of her web. As seen in Isabella Rossellini’s Green Porno, the male spider sneaks up behind the female to slip his sperm into the female’s genital opening, which is called the epigyne or epigynum(if you look in the top photo you can actually see this spider’s epigynum, it looks like a brown circle on her underside). At this time of the year the spider has only a few months to lay her eggs and protect them, before the frost kills her. Next Spring, when the little baby spiders hatch, it will all begin again.