Summary for Argiope bruennichi (Araneae)

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National Distribution

 
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With Bog Bush-cricket a favourite prey on humid heath Copyright: Ian Cross
Identification difficulty rating: 2
Name: Argiope bruennichi
Authority: (Scopoli, 1772)
Order: Arachnida: Araneae
Family: Araneidae
National status: Na

Records: 1555
First Record: 1900
Latest Record: 2017

1992-on hectads: 256
Pre-1992 hectads: 27
Total hectads: 261

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About this species

Recorded altitude range
0m to 200m

Species text

Distribution
The spider was first recorded in Britain in 1922 at Rye, East Sussex (Locket & Millidge 1951) and for many years seemed to be restricted to a few areas close to the south coast in Sussex, Kent, Hampshire and Dorset. Since the 1970s the spider has increased its range, spreading inland from a number of its coastal locations. The spider is well established in Dorset (Merrett 1979) and records from as far back as 1965 in East Cornwall have come to light (Smithers 1992). A record from Derbyshire (Dobson 1996) was assumed to be an accidental import, but in 1997 the spider turned up both in the very south and north of Essex (Ruffell 1997). There were then records from Surrey (Baldock 1998), Wiltshire (M. Askins, pers. comm.) and the spider is widespread in the East Thames Corridor (Harvey 2000). Remarkably, P. Harvey has been given details of a sighting near Bexley, north Kent in 1965 confirmed by a photograph. There is a strong implication that the populations in the West Country and north Kent originate from nuclei dating at least this far back. Harvey (1999; 2000) and Smithers (2000) have provided distribution maps showing the spread of the spider. It is widespread in western Europe (Merrett 1990).

Habitat and ecology
The spider has a very striking appearance with black and yellow horizontal bands on its abdomen. It spins a large orb web with a stabilimentum and favours areas of coastal chalk grassland, open rough grassland, wasteland and roadside verges. P. Harvey (pers. comm.) has seen depauperate juvenile spiders in a wheat field, but these individuals were unlikely to survive to mate or produce egg-sacs. In northern France the author has recorded Argiope bruennichi in large numbers in unmanaged damp grassland. The large orb webs are slung low down in the vegetation and the adult spider is easily hidden by the surrounding herbage. Grasshoppers form the main food item. The large urn shaped egg cocoon is positioned in the higher levels of vegetation and the eggs over-winter, hatching out in the following spring. Both sexes mature in the late summer, the females perhaps living on until October but the much smaller males living for only a short time.

Status
There has been a substantial increase in sightings of the spider during the period from 1990. At sites where A. bruennichi is present, individuals can number into the thousands (P. Smithers, pers. comm.).

Threats
Any form of regular cutting of grassland will destroy the webs and the over-wintering egg cocoons, presumably explaining why large populations seem to be confined to unmanaged rough grassland and waste ground. Commercial and housing development of wasteland can threaten populations, but the successful spread of the species during the 1990s shows that at present these threats are not serious.

Original author of profile: E.L. Bee

Text based on Harvey, P.R., Nellist, D.R. & Telfer, M.G. (eds) 2002. Provisional atlas of British spiders (Arachnida, Araneae), Volumes 1 & 2. Huntingdon: Biological Records Centre.  References

Adult Season

Adult Season Data (based on 666 records with adult season information)


Habitats

background methodology

Broad Habitat Data (based on 306 records with habitat information)

Broad subhabitat Data (based on 22 records with subhabitat information)

Structural Habitat Data (based on 227 records with structural habitat information)

Habitat Detail and Method (based on 178 records with habitat detail and method information)

Recorded management for locations with Argiope bruennichi

Recorded substrate and hydrology for locations with Argiope bruennichi

Images

Argiope bruennichi (Harlow)
Argiope bruennichi (Harlow)
Wasp spider with egg sac Ludgershall
Wasp spider with egg sac Ludgershall
Wasp Spider London
Wasp Spider London
Argiope bruennichi feeding on a Common carder bee
Argiope bruennichi feeding on a Common carder bee
Argiope bruennichi wrapping prey
Argiope bruennichi wrapping prey
Wasp Spider in Berks
Wasp Spider in Berks
Wasp Spider female on my patch (front view)
Wasp Spider female on my patch (front view)
Wasp Spider female on my patch (rear view)
Wasp Spider female on my patch (rear view)
Argiope bruennichi 12.viii.2015
Argiope bruennichi 12.viii.2015
cute
cute
Wasp spider 07 Sept 2015
Wasp spider 07 Sept 2015
Wasp spider unleashes its' death-ray.
Wasp spider unleashes its' death-ray.
Wasp spider 06 Sept 2015
Wasp spider 06 Sept 2015
Wasp spider Bedfordshire
Wasp spider Bedfordshire
Wasp spider guarding her eggsac under door ledge
Wasp spider guarding her eggsac under door ledge
Wasp Spider 19.08.2015 Droxford, Hampshire
Wasp Spider 19.08.2015 Droxford, Hampshire
Argiope bruennichi close up
Argiope bruennichi close up
With Bog Bush-cricket a favourite prey on humid heath
With Bog Bush-cricket a favourite prey on humid heath
Argiope bruennichi male and female
Argiope bruennichi male and female
Argiope bruennichi cocoon
Argiope bruennichi cocoon
Wasp spider in field behind house
Wasp spider in field behind house
Local Spider argiope bruennichi
Local Spider argiope bruennichi
Wasp Spider Ashford Kent
Wasp Spider Ashford Kent
Wasp spider and egg sack
Wasp spider and egg sack
Isn't she lovely
Isn't she lovely
wasp spider 1
wasp spider 1
Argiope bruennichi saltmarsh meadow
Argiope bruennichi saltmarsh meadow
Argiope bruennichi with prey
Argiope bruennichi with prey
Argiope bruennichi - eggsac
Argiope bruennichi - eggsac
Argiope bruennichi - lawn - closeup
Argiope bruennichi - lawn - closeup
Argiope bruennichi and her lawn
Argiope bruennichi and her lawn
Argiope Bruennichi - August 2012
Argiope Bruennichi - August 2012
Argiope bruennichi Aug 2010
Argiope bruennichi Aug 2010
Argiope bruennichi August 2010
Argiope bruennichi August 2010
Argiope bruennichi eggsac
Argiope bruennichi eggsac
Argiope bruennichi female
Argiope bruennichi female
Female showing underside pattern
Female showing underside pattern
Argiope bruennichi
Argiope bruennichi
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