St Andrews Cross Spider (Argiope keyserlingi): is a member of the Araneidae family and is a widespread and well known species.
The common name is derived from the Spiderís habit of holding their eight legs in pairs to form a cross. They also construct additional white opaque cross lines (stabilimentum) at the centre of their webs. The silken cross is thought to strengthen the web. Research has shown that the cross reflects ultra-violet light and this may attract insects.
St Andrews Cross Spider egg sacs are green, pear-shaped and hung in foliage away from the web.
The females are the ones suspended in their webs. They are about 20 millimetres long with horizontal yellow and crimson bands on the abdomen. Legs are dark brown to black with some yellowish bands.
Males are much smaller than the females (as is the case with many spiders) and are about four millimetres long. They are more mobile than the females. Sometimes a number of males may be observed prowling around the femaleís web. Male abdomens are cream with a mottled brown pattern.
St Andrews Cross Spiders are common around Yallaroo. They usually spin their webs in our dense shrubberies. One female constructed a large web in our propagating igloo. She and the web survived for a number of months. Usually a number of males were present in the web. No egg sacs were found.
Their bite is considered harmless. On rare occasions a bite will cause a weak local reaction. Very few bites have been recorded. Bites may be avoided by resisting the temptation to poke fingers in their webs.