uncatalogued Nephila species, or Argiope ocula?
October 4, 2011 1:23 pm
Taiwan is full of amazing animals. Is this critter an example of Nephila, and if so, has the species been identified? Or is this gorgeous beast an Argiope ocula? I was very interested in the post by bugman on January 17, 2011, and the following discussion regarding genus and species. My first impression is that the spider in this picture and the spider in bugman’s picture are not the same genus -despite the similar translucent red legs. Bugman’s spider strikes me as Argiope, whereas this one appears to be Nephila. What do you think?
Signature: Dane Harris
We agree with your speculation that this is a Golden Silk Spider in the genus Nephila, and not Argiope ocula, the Taiwanese spider we posted in January 2011. Golden Silk Spiders take their name from the beautiful golden silk they spin, one of the strongest fibers that has been woven into clothing. You can read about the shawl that was woven by Golden Silk Spiders from Madagascar on the Ecouterre website. Your spider doesn’t look too different from the Australian Nephila rufapoda on the OzarkWild website that states this in its totality: “Nephila rufapoda Ross 2003 is about the biggest spider in Australia : with RED LEGS bigger than male handspan, totally new to science and a sensation, now in captivity, has bred and awaiting 2000 babies… I’ve just finished 494 night walks on a 3 year research project and what an incredible experience…
Nephila Rufapoda…locality Kuranda rainforest, 17 degrees south of equator, leg span 200mm, leg thickness letter ‘o’, large orb web high in canopy, (which is why not seen before). Eats small birds and cicadas, males 5mm rusty brown, related to other Nephila orb weavers but larger. At last count there were 28,700 spiders known from Australia BUT only 7,000 have been described. It costs up to $1,500 to describe a species and can take 3-4 years to get published. By ROSCO Dr R J Ross”