Location:  Honduras
September 20, 2010 12:03 pm
hi, i found this spider in my house, Valle de Angeles, Honduras
Signature:  Carlos Cesar Quan Carrasco

Golden Silk Spider

Dear Carlos,
We do not receive many requests from Honduras.  Your spider is
Nephila clavipes, the Golden Silk Spider or Banana Spider.  The female, represented in your photo, is about 50X the size of the diminutive male.  The silk in the web of a Golden Silk Spider is very strong and gold in color, and small birds are known to become ensnared in the webs.  The spider in your photo has not yet reached full size.

Golden Silk Spider

2 Responses to Golden Silk Spider from Honduras

  1. Vern says:

    We have a lot of these spiders in lower Alabama. I was told they were the North American Banana Spider, but I see here you call them Golden Silk Spiders. We have woods behind our house and sometimes we go hiking back there. Occasionally we see these huge spiders with their webs spun across the entire width of the trail, and have actually seen where a bird got ensnared. Next time I go hiking, I am definitely taking my camera.

    • bugman says:

      Hi Vern,
      Thanks for confirming that Banana Spider is a common name for Nephila clavipes, the only name that should be used with this species to avoid confusion. Scientific names, though they are ponderous to use in polite conversation, are the only sure way to identify a species correctly. The scientific names are universally accepted by the scientific community, and they are used regardless of the language being spoken at the time. For the average person, a common name for a species will suffice, however, the same species may have a different common name in English and in French, or in California and Florida. Additionally, numerous species may have the same common name, which is the case with the Banana Spider. In some places, the Golden Silk Spider, Nephila clavipes, is known as a Banana Spider, but the name Banana Spider is also used with the Huntsman Spider, Heteropoda venatoria. It is believed the name Banana Spider refers to the large size and yellow coloration in the former Golden Silk Spider. In the case of the Huntsman Spider, the term arose because the spiders were often present in banana shipments and they would emerge from bunches of banana in grocery stores. Their large size and hairy bodies caused them to be confused with Tarantulas.

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