Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet eating her curds and whey when all of the sudden along came a yellow garden spider who sat down beside her and frightened Miss Muffet away.
|Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia)|
The Yellow Garden Spider is common throughout Kansas in the late fall. It is fairly large by spider standards; its body can be the size of a dime when the female is full of eggs. I found this yellow and black spider under the eave of a bridge, but you are just as likely to come face to face with them in tall weeds in open fields where they stretch out their webs to catch unwary insects, such as aphids, flies, grasshoppers, wasps, and bees.
As for Miss Muffet, the spider rarely bites unless bothered and then its bite is annoysome rather than deadly. Then too, don’t we wonder why Miss Muffet was eating her curds and whey - cottage cheese to you and me - outside in the garden where her tuffet was likely to get soiled and dirty, rather than at the kitchen table where proper young girls should be?
Unlike our dirty Miss Muffet, the Yellow Garden Spider is very neat and orderly. In a nightly ritual, she eats the circular interior part of the web and rebuilds it each morning with fresh new silk.
Have you figured out yet that a tuffet is another name for an ottoman?