Argiope appensa

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Argiope appensa
Argiope appensa.jpg
On Hawai'i
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Infraorder: Araneomorphae
Family: Araneidae
Genus: Argiope
A. appensa
Binomial name
Argiope appensa
  • Epeira appensa Walckenaer, 1841
  • Epeira crenulata Doleschall, 1857
  • Argiope chrysorrhoea L. Koch, 1871
  • Argiope crenulata (Doleschall, 1857)
  • Coganargiope reticulata Kishida, 1936
  • Argiope schoenigi Marapao, 1965

Argiope appensa, also referred to as the Hawaiian garden spider[2] or banana spider, is an orb-weaving spider belonging to the family Araneidae.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

This species occurs on several islands in the western Pacific Ocean, in Hawaii and from Taiwan, Australia, New Caledonia, New Guinea to Indonesia.[1]

It has been introduced to all main islands of Hawaii. It inhabits a wide variety of habitats, from coasts to upland forests.[3] During the rainy season from June to November, this species is common in sunny edge areas, such as along roadsides and cultivated area.[4]


This species shows an evident sexual dimorphism. The strikingly black and yellow females are 5.1–6.4 cm (2–2.5 in) long, including legs, while the brown males reach only about 1.9 cm (0.75 in).[3]

On Guam, where Argiope appensa is ubiquitous, it is frequently visited by Argyrodes argentatus, that steals food from the host.[5] Following the introduction of the brown tree snake and the subsequent extinction or near-extinction of many of the island's small birds, spider populations on Guam exploded in response to decreasing predation and competition.[6] Nature writer David Quammen has called Argiope appensa "almost certainly one of the larger species" which were encountered in vast numbers during his research trip to Guam for the book The Song of the Dodo.[7]


Argiope appensa construct webs mainly in bushes, between branches, and in human constructions. The webs are rather large and show a white zig-zag silk decoration developed from one corner to the center of the web.[3] These decorations, usually called stabilimenta, could be a warning device to prevent birds from inadvertently destroying the web.[4]



  1. ^ a b c "Taxon details Argiope appensa (Walckenaer, 1841)", World Spider Catalog, Natural History Museum Bern, retrieved 2016-05-07
  2. ^ Argiope apensa at
  3. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 21, 2015. Retrieved July 30, 2006.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ a b Kerr, A. M. Low Frequency of Stabilimenta in Orb Webs of Argiope appensa (Araneae: Araneidae) from Guam: An Indirect Effect of an Introduced Avian Predator? Pacific Science (1993), vol. 47, no. 4: 328-337
  5. ^ Alexander M. Kerr Behavior of web-invading spiders Argyrodes argentatus (Theridiidae) in Argiope appensa (Araneidae) host webs in Guam TheJournal of Arachnology, Volume33 Number 1
  6. ^ Rogers, Haldre; Hille Ris Lambers, Janneke; Miller, Ross; Tewksbury, Joshua (September 2012). "'Natural experiment' Demonstrates Top-Down Control of Spiders by Birds on a Landscape Level". PLOS. PMID 22970126 – via PLOS.
  7. ^ "Argiope appensa [(Walck.) ]". Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  • Walckenaer, C. A. (1842): Histoire naturelle des Insects. Aptères. Paris, 2: 1-549.