Autumn is nipping at this summer's heels, but don't put your field guides away just yet! There's still time to take in plenty of flora and fauna in our own backyards. The meadow here at VINS is full of bright and hardy flowering plants and flowers. Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) and great lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica) are growing tall over the soft flowers of rabbit-foot clover (Trifolium arvense).
Suspended in-between these late-summer flowers is the banded garden spider (Argiope trifasciata), of which our meadows are full. This garden spider is found hanging head-down it is web, which she will weave east-west between stems and reeds.
The female has yellow-silver striping on her back. She has a dark abdomen, which she will usually face south toward the sun -- important for this late-summer arthropod during the cooler weather. The male is smaller and not as frequently seen. The female will deposit her egg cocoon in her web in early fall, with hundreds of spiderlings emerging next spring.
You'll find these fantastic spiders until the first freeze. The cold weather is coming: look for the banded garden spider now! (Photos clockwise from top left: banded garden spider, rabbit-foot clover and great lobelia.)