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295 illustration

Wasp spider

Agriope bruenichi

The female wasp spider grows up to 2 centimetres long and is considerably larger than the male (5 millimetres). The female is easily recognisable by its black, yellow and white abdominal bands and the dark and yellow bands on its legs. The male is rarely seen.

Inhabiting grasslands, wastelands, hedgerows and garden borders, this spider is found in Central and Southern Europe.

The wasp spider spins a more or less vertical wheel-shaped web in long grass or other vegetation with a characteristic zigzag band of silk running vertically through the centre. It feeds on insects, mainly grasshoppers, that it catches in its web. It is usually seen sitting head-downwards at the centre of the web. The female eats the male after mating. She then lays her eggs in a cocoon and dies. Small spiders hatch at the end of the summer but stay in a cocoon until the following spring.

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