Hawaiian Garden Spider

Argiope appensa

Argiope appensa, commonly known as the Hawaiian Garden Spider, is a species within the Argiope genus, renowned for their strikingly large, intricate webs and distinctive body markings. Argiope appensa is known for its large size and vivid coloration, typically featuring a silver carapace, yellow and black banded abdomen, and sometimes blue legs. These spiders construct large orb webs with a distinctive zigzag pattern of silk known as a stabilimentum, whose function has been hypothesized to be for prey attraction, web reinforcement, or predator deterrence.






















Argiope appensa

Other Information


Like all Argiope spiders, A. appensa is venomous, using its venom to immobilize prey that becomes trapped in its web. The venom is primarily neurotoxic to its insect prey.

A Danger to Humans?

The venom of A. appensa is not considered dangerous to humans, with bites resulting in symptoms similar to a bee sting, such as localized pain, swelling, and redness, typically resolving without serious medical intervention. These spiders are not aggressive and tend to bite humans only if provoked or threatened.

Population Status

Specific data on the population size of Argiope appensa is not widely available, but the species is considered common in its natural range. Their visibility and the size of their webs make them a notable presence in their habitats.

Hawaiian Garden Spider (Argiope appensa), Photo by David Lowenthal

Life Span:
The life span of Argiope appensa, like many spiders, can vary but generally spans about a year. Many individuals reach maturity within a single season, mate, and then die, with females often living slightly longer to lay eggs.

Weight and Length:
Argiope appensa females are significantly larger than males, with body lengths of up to about 3-4 cm, not including leg span. Males are much smaller, which is typical for the genus.

Argiope appensa is widely distributed in the Pacific Islands, including Hawaii, and extends to parts of Australia and Southeast Asia. It thrives in warm, tropical climates.

Habits And Lifestyle:
This spider is diurnal, spending most of the day maintaining its web, catching prey, or sitting in the center of the web, head down. At night, it may consume the old web, rest, and then spin a new one in the same area.

Diet And Nutrition:
A. appensa’s diet consists primarily of insects and other small arthropods that become ensnared in its web. The stabilimentum may play a role in attracting prey into the web.

Mating Habits:
Mating involves a delicate approach by the smaller male to the female’s web, where he must signal his intentions to mate rather than be mistaken for prey. After mating, females will lay eggs in a silk sac, often attached to nearby vegetation or the web’s framework, and guard them until their death.