What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Confused. . . .
I just recently moved to Guam and it seems all the locals call this a banana spider. I did today actually see a real banana spider. So the leads me to wonder, what spider is this? Golden orb weaver or a St. Andrews Cross Spider? I was a little confused after reading about them on your "spiders" page.
Mike (from Guam)

Hi Mike,
Your confusion lies in the use of the common name Banana Spider. We know of three spiders that share this common name, Nephila clavipes (AKA Golden Silk Spider), Heteropoda venatoria (AKA Huntsman Spider), and your spider, Argiope appensa. According to Wikipedia: “On Guam , where A. appensa is ubiquitous, it is frequently visited by Argyrodes argentatus . Locals there refer to A. appensa as banana spiders . Following the introduction of the brown tree snake and the subsequent extinction or near-extinction of many of the island’s small birds, spider populations on Guam exploded decreasing predation and competition.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

3 Responses to Banana Spider from Guam: Argiope appensa

  1. Hey there. I am just a little confused. I read that article on “Wikipedia” and am left wondering, is this spider also commonly referred to as a “Saint Andrew’s Spider”? I wonder this because of the image above makes it look as such, I want to get a “Saint Andrew’s Spider” as a pet, but from what I saw on shows (fictional) and read online it seems to be a dangerous spider and thus if it is so dangerous I am not sure if I want to get one and keep in anymore. Thank you for all the help.
    Sincerely, Nathan.

    • bugman says:

      Hi Nathan,
      The spider most commonly called a St. Andrew’s Cross Spider is Argiope keyserlingi, and it is an Australian species according to the Australian Museum website. The common name refers to the X shaped stabilimentum woven into the spider’s orb web. Several other species in the genus Argiope spin a web with the X shaped stabilimentum, and they might also be called St. Andrew’s Cross Spiders, like this tentatively identified Lobed Argiope from Zimbabwe we just posted. Members of the genus Argiope might bite if provoked or carelessly handled, but they are not considered particularly dangerous. Orbweavers are short-lived spiders, and we believe most members of the family live a single season, which is probably the best reason to eliminate them as pets. You did not provide us with your location. We would not recommend importing a nonnative Argiope as a pet, but you might try keeping a local species in captivity.

  2. Dear bugman,
    Thank you for telling me this. I will certainly keep it in mind. 😀
    Sincerely, Nathan Neumiller

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