Argiope appensa

Argiope appensa

''Argiope appensa'' is a spider that occurs on several islands in the Western Pacific Ocean. It has been introduced to Hawai'i, and is found on Taiwan and New Guinea. It inhabits a wide variety of habitats, from coasts to forests.
Web Master Hawaiian garden spider in Kona, Hawaii Island. Argiope appensa,Geotagged,United States

Appearance

Females reach a body length of up to 7 cm and are strikingly black and yellow, while the brown males reach only about 2 cm.

In Hawai'i they are referred to as ''Hawaiian garden spiders''. In Hawai'i, they are known to be quite communal , with multi-generational specimens living within close quarters, using the same anchor lines for separate webs. The picture to the left shows one small commune with at least 15 spiders and 8 eggsacs.

On Guam, where ''Argipoe appensa'' is ubiquitous, it is frequently visited by ''Argyrodes argentatus''. Locals there refer to them as ''banana spiders''. 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. 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''.
Banana Spider - Argiope appensa (front view) South Lembeh. I have found this beauty eating its well-packaged prey while walking one afternoon on the beach.
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/84808/banana_spider_-_argiope_appensa_back_view.html Argiope appensa,Geotagged,Indonesia,Spring

Cultural

This species was used in episode "Exposé" of the ''Lost'' TV series, which was filmed on location in Hawai'i. It is there named ''Latrodectus regina'' , a fictional species of widow spider, in the family Theridiidae. The "males" that run for the female are also females, as the males are much smaller.

References:

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Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionArthropoda
ClassArachnida
OrderAraneae
FamilyAraneidae
GenusArgiope
SpeciesA. appensa