While hiking in Briones Regional Park, on the western side of the 6,117-acre semi-wild area, I spotted a fat female Argiope trifasciata in the dry grass on a steep hillside. You’ll frequently meet these large orb weavers, and their cousins, Argiope aurantia, which we’ve kept here at home before, in the dry summer grass of Northern California. This one had captured a large bee of some sort and wrapped her up in silk for a feast. Spiders are not shy about attacking prey as large or larger than themselves, as we saw recently on Mt. Diablo.

 

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Argiope trifasciata, the “banded garden spider,” often builds its web in tall dry grass, or, in this case, star thistle.

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A large, purple thistle on the hillside near the spider.

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The spider’s view is pretty spectacular, although orb weavers don’t have good vision to appreciate it! They find prey by vibrations in their web, not by sight.

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A solo coyote crossing one of the dry summer fields in Briones. It’s barely visible, right in the center of the photo.

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