Subject: Is it a Golden Orb Weaver with Prey?
Location: Washington-on-the-Brazos; Washington County, Texas
September 7, 2014 8:47 pm
We visited the beautiful and historic Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park today, and saw this large spider hanging from the porch roof at the home of the fourth (and last) President of the Republic of Texas, Doctor Anson Jones.
The docent said she had been told this is a banana spider with an egg sac. I believe it may be a Golden Orb Weaver with wrapped prey, but I didn’t want to disagree with the kind woman donating her time as docent, especially since I have very limited knowledge of the subject.
I don’t know what the possible prey is, perhaps bumble bees (there were many).
Thank you for any information. I appreciate your help.
We agree with your identification and we believe the docent is wrong, though common names often apply to numerous different, often unrelated species, and we have never heard Golden Orbweavers called Banana Spiders. There are two different species that we know of that are called Banana Spiders: the Golden Silk Spider, Nephila clavipes, and a Huntsman Spider, Heteropoda venatoria. The zigzag pattern in the web, known as a stabilimentum, is characteristic of the Golden Orbweaver, Argiope aurantia.