Black-and-yellow Garden Spider Argiope aurantia

There are five species of Argiope in the United States. We have two of them in Arkansas. This is the most common. The other is the Banded (Argiope trifasciata) and it is slightly smaller and has gold bands that run all the way across the dorsum of that hefty abdomen. Argiope argentata lives in Florida, Miss., Louisiana in the warmer band of states. It has the same silvery thorax but a wide abdomen.

Yes, that is a full-sized Cicada in this web. I am convinced the Argiope will take anything that comes. And this is the genus that occasionally takes hummingbirds if it can get them. Also easily manages Green Tree Frogs that make wayward leaps. They are in the Orb Weaver group and make excellent webs which often have the zig-zag of denser white in the center (known as the stabilimentum).

The proof of Norm's dangerous Argiopes. He rescues the humming birds. And lets the frogs go. I detect some Order favoritism. 

The dragon down. What will they not take? I can't tell which dragon. Very yellow. I will accept guesses. 

Argiope juveniles in July, like this one, construct small webs with a widened stabilimentum (all that zig-zaggy work). Males make small webby disasters near the large females. Adults die in winter and the young hatchlings first appear in May.

Argiope trifasciata, the Banded Garden Spider, from Bob's county. Note the straighter abdominal markings and the much more numerous leg bands. Otherwise fairly similar habits.