Argiope spiders are a genus of spiders in the orbweaver, or Araneidae family. As with most orbweavers, argiopes construct large webs which they use to capture their prey. The web is constructed beginning with a basic Y shape. Then a series of non-sticky threads are added to produce a foundation for the web. Lastly the spider will add a spiral of sticky capture web. Sitting in the middle of the web, or sometimes hidden, the spider will scurry across the non-sticky webs and inject the marooned prey with venom. With more dangerous prey they may wrap it before biting it for safety reasons.
The silver garden argiope is found in tropical and sub-tropical climates in North and South America. Since most adults can not live through a frost you find them in the southern US, Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. Most of the silver garden argiopes spotted, including this one, are females. Females get much larger then males. They spin their webs in gardens and fields typically between plants or grasses. Their webs often have an X shaped stabilimentum in the center. There are several theories for this pattern such as a means to help camouflage the spider, a warning to larger creatures that the web is there so they do not accidently destroy it, or a lure for prey. These pictures were taken down in south Texas. Here in Minnesota you can find the banded and garden argiope but it is too cold here for the silver argiope to survive.