Home / Orb Weavers / Golden Silk Orb-Weaver (Nephila)

Golden Silk Orb-Weaver (Nephila)

Golden Silk Orb-Weaver is a genus of spiders consisting of 23 different species, spread across different continents of the world. The silk of the web of this spider usually displays a golden sheen, which is visible to the naked eye, from which the genus gets its name. They are called in several other names, viz., Banana Spider, Golden Orb Weaver, Golden Orb-Weaving Spider, Calico Spider, and Golden Silk Spider.

Golden Silk Orb-Weaver

Scientific Classification

Physical Description and Identification

Adults

Size: Females are considerably larger than the males, with the former being around 50 mm, and the latter, only around 8.

Golden Silk Orb Weaver Size

Body Color: The spiders belonging to this genus vary from reddish to greenish yellow in coloration, depending upon the species, with a distinct whiteness on the beginning of the abdomen, as also in the cephalothorax region.

Other Characteristic Features: These spiders build orb webs that are large and semi-permanent. The webs have ‘barrier network’ of threads on either or both sides of the web which act as a defense from predators. These spiders usually spend the entire day and night in their webs in order to gain protection from predators like birds.

Eggs

The females of the golden silk orb-weaver species lay their eggs in clusters during the fall. They are usually laid by the side of a building or structure, or in the trees near to the place where the female has its web. Normally, it lays at least two large sacs each with a diameter of 25 to 30 mm, and containing a few hundred eggs.

Golden Silk Orb Weaver Egg

Spiderlings

Young spiders do not generally build yellow-colored silk. When approached by a predator, the young spiders can demonstrate the former’s vibrational motion. In such instances, the juveniles begin to oscillate their bodies at around 40 Hz. When attacked, they will either escape to a support strand in the web, or jump out of the web after inducing oscillations that helps in jumping.

Golden Silk Orb Weaver Spiderlings

How Poisonous are the Golden Silk Orb-Weaver Spiders

The venom of the species belonging to the genus is fatal in action only to the prey. There have been no reports of it having any notable consequence on humans, if the spiders inflict a bite accidentally.

Golden Silk Orb Weaver Web

Quick Facts

Lifespan The males die in 2-3 weeks after the final molt, while the females live for up to one month
Distribution/Range Found mostly in the SE parts of the US,  Florida, the Gulf States, the northern part of North Carolina, and in South America’s Argentina, as also, some parts of Australia, Africa, and Asia
Habitat Tropical forests as well as close to human habitats and humanmade gardens
Common predators Lizards, birds, some mammals, etc., depending upon their region
Diet Carnivorous; several organisms ranging from small flies and beetles to larger cicadas, locusts, and even small birds, mammals, lizards, etc.
Golden Silk Orb-Weaver Spider

Did You Know

  • The genus name Nephila came from Ancient Greek, meaning ‘fond of spinning’, from the words nein – meaning ‘to spin’, and philos – meaning ‘love’.
  • Due to their strong web structure, tiny birds and bats can also fall trap, and fed upon by these spiders.

Image Credit: Images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com, I.pinimg.com, Alpinetreepro.com, Bugguide.net, Lh3.ggpht.com

Golden Silk Orb-Weaver is a genus of spiders consisting of 23 different species, spread across different continents of the world. The silk of the web of this spider usually displays a golden sheen, which is visible to the naked eye, from which the genus gets its name. They are called in several other names, viz., Banana Spider, Golden Orb Weaver, Golden Orb-Weaving Spider, Calico Spider, and Golden Silk Spider.

Golden Silk Orb-Weaver

Physical Description and Identification

Adults

Size: Females are considerably larger than the males, with the former being around 50 mm, and the latter, only around 8.

Golden Silk Orb Weaver Size

Body Color: The spiders belonging to this genus vary from reddish to greenish yellow in coloration, depending upon the species, with a distinct whiteness on the beginning of the abdomen, as also in the cephalothorax region.

Other Characteristic Features: These spiders build orb webs that are large and semi-permanent. The webs have ‘barrier network’ of threads on either or both sides of the web which act as a defense from predators. These spiders usually spend the entire day and night in their webs in order to gain protection from predators like birds.

Eggs

The females of the golden silk orb-weaver species lay their eggs in clusters during the fall. They are usually laid by the side of a building or structure, or in the trees near to the place where the female has its web. Normally, it lays at least two large sacs each with a diameter of 25 to 30 mm, and containing a few hundred eggs.

Golden Silk Orb Weaver Egg

Spiderlings

Young spiders do not generally build yellow-colored silk. When approached by a predator, the young spiders can demonstrate the former’s vibrational motion. In such instances, the juveniles begin to oscillate their bodies at around 40 Hz. When attacked, they will either escape to a support strand in the web, or jump out of the web after inducing oscillations that helps in jumping.

Golden Silk Orb Weaver Spiderlings

How Poisonous are the Golden Silk Orb-Weaver Spiders

The venom of the species belonging to the genus is fatal in action only to the prey. There have been no reports of it having any notable consequence on humans, if the spiders inflict a bite accidentally.

Golden Silk Orb Weaver Web

Quick Facts

Lifespan The males die in 2-3 weeks after the final molt, while the females live for up to one month
Distribution/Range Found mostly in the SE parts of the US,  Florida, the Gulf States, the northern part of North Carolina, and in South America’s Argentina, as also, some parts of Australia, Africa, and Asia
Habitat Tropical forests as well as close to human habitats and humanmade gardens
Common predators Lizards, birds, some mammals, etc., depending upon their region
Diet Carnivorous; several organisms ranging from small flies and beetles to larger cicadas, locusts, and even small birds, mammals, lizards, etc.
Golden Silk Orb-Weaver Spider

Did You Know

  • The genus name Nephila came from Ancient Greek, meaning ‘fond of spinning’, from the words nein – meaning ‘to spin’, and philos – meaning ‘love’.
  • Due to their strong web structure, tiny birds and bats can also fall trap, and fed upon by these spiders.

Image Credit: Images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com, I.pinimg.com, Alpinetreepro.com, Bugguide.net, Lh3.ggpht.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *