Oh, what a joy! It's the next generation of argiope spiders in front of our house. Once again, the tomato plants are the habitat of choice. In this case, the tomatoes are "volunteers" from last year's grape tomatoes.
So it's kind of funny--the tomatoes are offspring from last year's, and the argiopes are no doubt the daughters of last year's argiope. (Remember her? We were pretty sure a praying mantis got her at the end of last season. I've written a number of posts on this loyal and interesting species--Argiope aurantia.)
There are two young argiopes that we've found (so far). Counting the outstretched legs, their bodies cover an area about the size of a quarter. They're still just kids, at this point!
You can really see the delicate beginnings of the pattern on the opisthosoma (a.k.a. the "abdomen"). And aren't her striped stockings cute? She'll wear those all her life, too.
And there's something visually poetic about the spiny little hairs on the legs of argiopes, and the hairlike trichomes on the tomato stalks.
(My "little friends" . . .)