Saturday, August 04, 2007

Golden Silk Orbweaver

If you haven't noticed them up to this point, the female Golden Silk Orbweaver's (Nephila clavipes) ever-increasing size is now difficult to miss! The male, at 1/4 the size, is still easily unnoticed (see image of pair).

The Golden Silk Orbweaver is a tropical to subtropical species and likely cannot survive cooler winters beyond the warm, humid states in our area. The female contructs her web out of a thick, yellow silk that feels like a face full of cotton candy when one walks unwaringly through the woods. The spider dines on flying insects that become caught in the web, which is repaired each day with half of the web being completely replaced.

Although the Golden Silk Orbweaver is sometimes referred to as a "banana spider," it should not be confused with the highly-venomous Brazilian Wandering Spider (Phoneutria fera), which also carries the moniker "banana spider." Unless they've stowed away on a banana bunch, the Brazilian spider would not be found in our area.

Spiders, love them or hate them, they eat plenty of insects!


Unknown said...

I have a female who has set up residence outside my kitchen window. She also has an egg sack near by. I was wondering who I can contact to have her moved. I dont want her killed just moved away from my kids.

Swampy said...

The spider is not a danger to you or your children. However, these spiders sometimes build their webs in inconvenient places. For example, the ones in my yard often build a web across the path leading from the back of my house to the street. It is a productive location, because insects also fly through that open corridor. I often don't see the web when I walk the dog in the morning, so I don't appreciate spider's efficient hunting skills.

If you use a stick to gently pull down the web, the spider will not be harmed and will usually build her web in a new location. After all, a great deal of time and energy went into building the web and she cannot capture food without it, so she will abandon an ill-chosen site. In the forest, a web built too low over a trail will be destroyed daily by passing deer, so the spider will build the web higher or in a new location.