Two species of garden spiders are found in Quebec: Argiope aurantia Lucas (the yellow garden spider) and Argiope trifasciata (the banded garden spider)
These large, brightly coloured spiders, which are often found immobile in the centre of their large web marked with a zigzag, are among the most beautiful and easiest spiders to recognize.
The yellow garden spider’s abdomen is black and yellow and pointed at one end. Sometimes its abdomen also features white, orange and red patches. Its legs are black and may have coloured stripes. Females are much larger than males. They measure between 19 and 28 mm long, while their partners are only 5 to 8 mm long.
The banded garden spider’s pale yellow abdomen has horizontal silver, yellow and black spots. This species is a bit smaller. Females measure between 15 to 25 mm long, while their partners are only 4 to 5.5 mm long.
These are the largest known tarantulas. They can weigh over 120 g and their legspan can exceed 25 cm, with bodies more than 10 cm long.
Unlike other members of the Theraphosidae family, these tarantulas have a rounded cephalothorax (joined head and thorax). The colour of their bodies and legs varies from medium to dark brown, with red hairs.
The bodies of these tarantulas are about 7 cm long and up to 18 cm across. The cephalothorax is light coloured with two black bands in the middle, and the abdomen is dark grey with a yellowish-white band in the middle. The legs are banded grey and black.
The females are generally a uniform tan colour. The males have black legs, a copper-coloured cephalothorax and a reddish abdomen.
In the males, the body is from 5 to 6 cm across. The females are larger, and may reach 5 to 7 cm in diameter, with a legspan of 10 cm.