Ok, so our little (or in this case not-so-much as her body was about 2 inches long) arachnid friends usually don't do a whole lot for me. In fact, I really don't like spiders at ALL. But, this was a particularly spectacular specimen (say that 3 times fast). This particular spider is called Argiope aurantia (aka the Black and Yellow Garden Spider). This is the female. The male is much smaller (about 1/3 the size) and boring brown. The females spin marvelous webs--the males, not so much. Theirs tends to be, well...messy. She's also called the Writing Spider. She is called this because of the distinctive zig-zag scribble that resembles writing found in the middle of her web. Each morning these spiders devour and rebuild the inside circle of their web. This spider's web was incredible--about 18 inches in diameter. Remarkable architects, those spiders are. I wonder how long it took her to weave this splendiferous silvery lattice.
P.S. these are very NON-aggressive spiders and they are NOT poisonous to humans.