Checklist

Argiope Checklist: Cross Spiders

on
25 March 2021

Cross orb weaver spiders from the genus Argiope Audouin, 1826 have some of the most common names tagged to them, namely Cross Spiders, Zig-Zag Spiders, Signature Spiders, Silver-Faced Spiders, St. Andrew’s Cross Spiders, etc. There were always exceptions to the common name within the genus, so I settled for one which matched closely to all of the species listed on this page – Cross Spiders. This refers to the position of its legs forming a typical X-posture when perched on its web. Sometimes, it may build stabilimenta to extend its cross.

Stabilimentum of Argiope

Spiders of the genus Argiope are known to build stabilimenta, which are conspicuous silk structures built onto their vertical orb webs. In most species, the juveniles weave a zig-zag spiral mesh to form a disc which the spider perches over. When they approach maturity, the stabilimentum may be formed by vertical or diagonal bands of silk weaved in a zig-zag fashion.

The purpose of the stabilimentum is not clear, but there are some possible reasons suggested over the years.

  1. Makes spider look bigger

    The stabilimentum may make the spider appear bigger and less of an easy prey to potential predators. A more visible web could also prevent it from being destroyed accidentally by other mammals.

  2. Attracts more prey

    As the silk reflects UV readily, the stabilimentum could potentially attract more prey to the web.

  3. Stabilises the web

    Perhaps as the name suggests, the stabilimentum acts to strengthen the web’s structure to prevent or reduce damage from strong winds.

Here are some examples of stabilimenta built by Argiope.

    Stabilimentum of a Juvenile Agiope's Web
  1. Juvenile cross spider (Argiope sp.)

    This is the typical stabilimentum of a juvenile Argiope.

  2. Zigzag orb weaver (Argiope cf. lobata or levii) - DSC_3986
  3. Juvenile cross spider (Argiope cf. lobata)

    Some species may weave a tighter mesh of stabilimentum.

  4. Cross spider (Argiope sp.) - DSC_5766
  5. Juvenile cross spider (Argiope sp.)

    As they grow, their stabilimentum would “upgrade” to thicker bands.

  6. Green cross spider (Argiope chloreis) - DSC_7432
  7. Green cross spider (Argiope chloreis)

    However, some species would retain the disc mesh even when mature, such as this Argiope chloreis.

  8. St Andrew's cross spider (Argiope versicolor) - DSC_9345b
  9. Cross spider (Argiope versicolor)

    The full stabilimentum of a Argiope versicolor may form a large “X”, seemingly making a visual extension of its legs on the web.

  10. St Andrew's cross spider (Argiope reinwardti) - DSC_5584
  11. Cross spider (Argiope reinwardti)

    Some Argiope may just built a single diagonal band of stabilimentum in a zig-zag fashion.

  12. Chained cross spider (Argiope catenulata) - DSC_1426b
  13. Cross spider (Argiope catenulata)

    Some may just build a single vertical band of stabilimentum.

Checklist

This page consists of a personal checklist of all Cross Spiders (Argiope) that I’ve encountered over the years. I have not included the species names nor the details behind the genus placements, so this is just a personal reference. Some spiders may appear identical on photos, so please do not assume the identification of a spider simply based on the photographs here.

All photos are of live subjects shot in the field, with the dorsal view selected where available. Click on individual photos for larger views and views from other angles. As most specimens were not collected, identifications were done purely based on photographs and may not be 100% accurate.

This page will be updated regularly, please let me know if you spot any mistakes.

View my complete Flickr photo set: Argiope Audouin, 1826.

Region Filters

Click on any region to show only records from that region.

Family: Araneidae Clerck, 1757

Genus: Argiope Audouin, 1826

Multi-coloured cross spider (Argiope versicolor) - DSC_6483

Singapore: Argiope versicolor (Doleschall, 1859) ♀

Multi-coloured cross spider (Argiope sp.) - DSC_6131

Singapore: Argiope cf. versicolor (Doleschall, 1859) ♂

Cross orb weaver (Argiope aemula) - DSC_6865

Singapore: Argiope aemula (Walckenaer, 1841) ♀

Orb Weaver Spider (Argiope aemula) - DSC_2563

Singapore: Argiope aemula (Walckenaer, 1841) ♂

Cross orb weaver (Argiope cf. lobata or levii) - DSC_5555

Mozambique: Argiope lobata (Pallas, 1772)
or Argiope levii Bjørn, 1997 ♀

Cross orb weaver (Argiope australis) - DSC_5908

Mozambique: Argiope australis (Walckenaer, 1805) ♀

Mangrove  cross spider (Argiope mangal) - DSC_5098

Singapore: Argiope mangal Koh, 1991 ♀

Mangrove  cross spider (Argiope mangal) - DSC_1709

Singapore: Argiope mangal Koh, 1991 ♀

Cross spider (Argiope dang) - DSC_3096

Singapore: Argiope cf. dang Jäger & Praxaysombath, 2009 ♀

Doleschall's cross spider (Argiope doleschalli) - DSC_6000

West Malaysia: Argiope doleschalli Thorell, 1873 ♀

Ranomafa cross spider (Argiope ranomafanensis) - DSC_8004

Madagascar: Argiope ranomafanensis Bjørn, 1997 ♀

Cross orb weaver (Argiope reinwardti) - DSC_3022

East Malaysia: Argiope reinwardti (Doleschall, 1859) ♀

Silver cross spider (Argiope argentata) - DSC_1750

Peru: Argiope argentata (Fabricius, 1775) ♀

Chained cross spider (Argiope catenulata) - DSC_0329b

Singapore: Argiope catenulata (Doleschall, 1859) ♀

Hoi Sen's cross spider (Argiope hoiseni) - DSC_1848

West Malaysia: Argiope hoiseni Tan, 2018 ♀

Green cross spider (Argiope chloreis) - DSC_7489

West Malaysia: Argiope chloreis Thorell, 1877 ♀

Cross Spider (Argiope sp.) - DSC_6415

Singapore: Argiope sp. Juv ♀

Cross spider (Argiope sp.) - DSC_8148

Singapore: Argiope sp. Juv ♀

Others

St Andrew's cross spider (Argiope versicolor) - DSC_0859

Singapore: Argiope sp. weaving egg sac

Argiope egg sac - DSC_5083

Singapore: Argiope sp. egg sac

Wide-Angle Photos

In this section I’ll feature some interesting wide-angle shots of Argiope. Most are taken with a DIY cctv relay setup or with the Laowa 15mm 1:1 Wide Angle Macro Lens.

    Cross orb weaver (Argiope sp.) - DSC_2533
  1. Cross spider (Argiope versicolor)

  2. Chained cross spider (Argiope catenulata) - DSC_1823b
  3. Cross spider (Argiope catenulata)

    This beautiful species weaves its web over water bodies. This was photographed with the Singapore Quarry in the background.

  4. Green cross spider (Argiope chloreis) - DSC_7441
  5. Green cross spider (Argiope chloreis)

    Most of the Argiope chloreis that I’ve encountered built their webs over leaves. The adult spider is just about 1cm in size, so getting the background into the photo was a challenge.

  6. Cross orb weaver (Argiope reinwardti) - DSC_3032
  7. Cross spider (Argiope reinwardti)

    This is one of the species with an almost hairless carapace (the other one is Argiope doleschalli). I photographed this under the roof of a shelter at Mount Kinabalu, Sabah.

  8. Zigzag orb weaver (Argiope australis) - DSC_5946
  9. Cross spider (Argiope australis)

    I photographed this in Mozambique with John Abbott pretending to pinch the spider. The field of view was so wide that my head was in the frame, together with curious bystanders who had no idea that they were inside the photo.

  10. Zigzag orb weaver (Argiope cf. lobata or levii) - DSC_4074
  11. Cross spider (Argiope cf. lobata)

    Also photographed in Mozambique, this was the shot that started the series of photos showing giant humans creepily approaching spiders. The idea was suggested by co-instructor Thomas Shahan during BugShot 2018.

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NICKY BAY
Singapore

Hi my name is Nicky Bay. I am a macro photographer, instructor and book author, travelling the world to document the vast micro biodiversity that nature has to offer. Follow my updates and discover with me the incredible beauty and science behind our planet's micro creatures!

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