Wasp Spider (Argiope bruennichi)
The wasp spider (Argiope bruennichi) is a species of orb-web spider distributed throughout central Europe, northern Europe, north Africa, parts of Asia and in the Azores archipelago. Like many other members of the genus Argiope, (including St Andrew’s Cross spiders), it shows striking yellow and black markings on its abdomen.
The spider builds a spiral orb web at dawn or dusk, commonly in long grass a little above ground level, taking it approximately an hour. The prominent zigzag shape called the stabilimentum, or web decoration, featured at the centre of the orb is of uncertain function, though it may be to attract insects.
When a prey item is first caught in the web, Argiope bruennichi will quickly immobilise its prey by wrapping it in silk. The prey is then bitten and then injected with a paralysing venom and a protein dissolving enzyme.
Further Information: Wikipedia
All images Peter Drury unless otherwise stated