I spotted this really cool spider web while harvesting grape tomatoes this morning. After further research, it is the web of an Argiope aurantia otherwise known as the writing spider.
The spider waits for her prey in the middle and some people theorize the zig zag design serves as camouflage for the spider but the actual purpose is unknown. Other theories are that is attracts the bugs that the writing spider eats or that it alerts birds that there is a web there so they don’t fly into it and mess it up. It could also be a mechanism for making the spider look larger than she is.
There are various species of orb-web spiders that have these stabilimenta in the center of their webs in various designs. It is also rumored that E. B. White got the idea for Charlotte’s Web after seeing the stabilimentum of a spider web. There are so many cool things that you can see if you just slow down and pay attention to nature. What interesting things have you found in your garden?