Yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia)
Southlake, Texas: August 27, 2002

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This photo was taken by G. H., of Southlake, Texas, on or about August 27, 2002.  Southlake is located northwest of the DFW International Airport, some 225 miles north of Austin. This spider had set up its web in the back yard, near the children's swing set, and close to the swimming pool. For that reason, G. H. was faced with the choice of either leaving it unmolested, where it might pose a bite risk (is such a risk associated with this spider?) to his children, or moving it, which would risk injury to the spider. 

The home whose back yard hosts this spider is also up for sale, and G. H.  was concerned that prospective buyers might be troubled by seeing so large a spider there. 

That's a tough decision. My advice to G. H. was to weigh all the options and do what seemed best. It is such a beautiful specimen, and I could not help but hope out loud that he might choose to spare its life by, perhaps, posting a small sign nearby informing prospective home-buyers of the spider's Latin name, and mentioning its preference for grasshoppers and other insects that chomp on flowers.