Who lives at the bottom of the garden?

Indonesian Orb Weaver spider Argiope appensa
Indonesian Orb Weaver spider Argiope appensa

A real beauty. According to Wikipedia this type of Orb Weaver spider is typically found in Hawaii. This lady keeps watch amongst the plants outside our office in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia.

There is no explanation for why the spider’s body is bright yellow. Generally spiders do not signal venomosity through coloration. I am unclear as to whether this spider would offer a serious bite to a human. Certainly spiders of the genus Argiope will bite in self-defense, their venom known as argiotoxin, a class of polyamine.

I found the diagonal zigzag pattern of the spider’s web stabilimentum most intriguing. Who is it for? The spider, prey, or other low flying animals? What does it do? Reflect UV, attract mates, stabilize the web in high winds? And why is it that particular pattern?

Perhaps the spider enjoys the aesthetic quality of a well made web. After watching it ebb and flow under a light early morning breeze, I know I do. It is one of the classic designs of the natural world.