Common Names: Black and yellow garden spider, yellow garden spider, golden garden spider, writing spider, corn spider, McKinley spider
They have distinctive yellow and black markings on their abdomens and a mostly white cephalothorax. Males range from 5 to 9 mm females from 19 to 28 mm.
Garden Spiders often build webs in areas adjacent to open sunny fields where they stay concealed and protected from the wind. The circular part of the female's web may reach two feet in diameter. Webs are built at elevations from two to eight feet off the ground. The web of the yellow garden spider is distinctive: a circular shape up to 60 cm (2 ft) in diameter, with a dense zigzag of silk, known as a stabilimentum, in the center. The purpose of the stabilimentum is disputed. It is possible that it acts as camouflage for the spider lurking in the web's center, but it may also attract insect prey, or even warn birds of the presence of the otherwise difficult-to-see web. Only those spiders that are active during the day construct stabilimenta in their webs. When prey becomes caught in the web, the spider may undulate the web back and forth to further trap the insect. When the prey is secure, the spider kills it by injecting its venom and then wraps the prey in a cocoon of silk for later consumption.