Argiope picta

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Argiope picta
A. picta from Cape Tribulation
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Family: Araneidae
Genus: Argiope
Species: A. picta
Binomial name
Argiope picta
L. Koch, 1871

A. gorgonea
A. principalis
A. lugubris
Gea dubiosa
Chaetargiope picta

Ventral view clearly showing the zigzag stabilimentum on the web.

Argiope picta is a species of orb web spider found in tropical areas of Queensland, Australia and Papua New Guinea up to the Moluccas. This species is similar in size to the sympatric Argiope aetherea; females can be distinguished from those of A. aetherea via extensive differences in abdominal colouration and patterns. The males of these two species are almost indistinguishable.

Little is known about the biology of A. picta. However, like most orb-web spiders, males are much smaller than females. Females of this species construct web decorations. Spiders from Australia mostly construct their decorations in a vertical line above and below the centre of the web (hub), whereas those from Papua New Guinea construct the characteristic “X” shape of St Andrew's Cross spiders. It is not known why these different decoration patterns appear in the same species, but it may be related to habitat differences.