Argiope bruennichi (NL: Wespspin, Tijgerspin / EN: Wasp spider / DE: Wespenspinne, Zebraspinne, Tigerspinne, Seidenbandspinne / FR: Argiope frelon, Argiope rayée, Argiope fasciée, Epeire fasciée) is a species of orb-web spider distributed throughout central Europe, Northern Europe, north Africa and parts of Asia. The spider builds a spiral orb web at dawn or dusk, commonly in long grass a little above ground level, taking it approximately an hour. The prominent zigzag shape called the stabilimentum, or web decoration, featured at the centre of the orb is of uncertain function, though it may be to attract insects. When a prey item is first caught in the web, Argiope bruennichi will quickly immobilise its prey by wrapping it in silk. (see image). The prey is then bitten and then injected with a paralysing venom and a protein dissolving enzyme.
This species of spider was featured in the movie "Eight Legged Freaks" as the main species antagonists.
Image: Wommelgem (BE) – 16/08/2012
© Johan Dierckx
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