The Golden Silk Spider, scientifically known as Trichonephila clavipes, is a fascinating species native to southeastern states like Florida. These large spiders exhibit striking orange and brown hues and are easily recognizable due to the feathery tufts on their legs.
They are known for creating beautiful, golden-colored webs during the late summer and fall seasons. Despite their captivating appearance, Golden Silk Spiders can be a nuisance for hikers and hunters who often encounter their large webs in densely vegetated areas.
Some key features of the Golden Silk Spider include:
- Large size (females usually larger than males)
- Orange and brown coloration
- Feathery tufts on legs
- Golden silk webs
A comparison of Golden Silk Spiders to their closely related cousin, the East Asian Joro Spider, highlights some similarities and differences. Both species belong to the group of large spiders called golden orb-web weavers and make enormous, multi-layered webs of gold-colored silk. However, the Joro Spider is native to East Asia, while the Golden Silk Spider is found across the southeastern United States 1.
Golden Silk Spider Identification
Color and Size
The Golden Silk Spider, also known as Trichonephila clavipes or the Golden Silk Orb-Weaver, is a large spider known for its distinct colors. The spider exhibits a combination of orange, yellow, and brown hues, especially on its abdomen. The females are notably larger than the males.
- Female body length: 24-40mm
- Male body length: 5-6mm
Here are some notable physical characteristics of the Golden Silk Spider:
- Abdomen: The abdomen is elongated and contains yellow spots on a dark brown background.
- Legs: The spider has eight legs with a unique appearance, featuring feathery tufts of hair on their surface.
The chart below compares some key aspects of the Golden Silk Spider’s appearance.
|Color||Orange, Yellow, and Brown|
|Abdomen||Elongated with yellow spots on a dark brown base|
|Legs||Eight legs with feathery tufts of hair|
In summary, you can identify a Golden Silk Spider by its distinctive color, elongated abdomen with yellow spots, and hairy legs.
Habitat and Distribution
United States and Central America
The Golden Silk Spider, Trichonephila clavipes, is commonly found in the southeastern United States, particularly in states like Florida and North Carolina.
In Central America, their distribution extends to countries like Guatemala and Panama.
- Preferred habitat: They typically inhabit warm, humid environments, such as gardens and forests.
South America and the Pacific
In South America, the Golden Silk Spider ranges from countries like Argentina to the northwestern coast.
Their habitat extends to the far reaches of the South Pacific, including islands such as Madagascar and New Guinea.
- Versatility: These spiders adapt well to various environments, from tropical rainforests to dry deserts.
|United States||Southeastern states||Florida, North Carolina|
|Central America||Through Panama||Guatemala, Panama|
|South America||Northwestern coast||Argentina|
|South Pacific||Islands, Madagascar||Madagascar, New Guinea|
- Key Features:
- Inhabit warm, humid environments
- Adapt well to various environments
Web and Silk Properties
Structure and Appearance
The golden silk spider, also known as an orb-weaving spider, creates a unique type of web that displays an asymmetrical orb shape. The spider typically waits near the top of the web, making it a semi-permanent structure 1. The web itself has a signature golden hue, hence the name “golden silk spider” 2.
- Unique asymmetrical orb structure
- Semi-permanent (not destroyed periodically)
- Distinctive golden hue
Strength and Applications
Spider silk, especially from the golden silk spider, is known for its exceptional strength and stretchiness. These properties make it resilient and one of the strongest materials known 3. In comparison to steel, spider silk of the same weight has greater tensile strength 4. Here are some applications of spider silk:
- Web building and capturing prey
- Sperm transfer in reproduction
- Lining hibernating, molting, or living chambers
- Constructing egg cases
- Draglines and mating bowers
- Wind-borne travel in spiderlings
The versatility of spider silk offers potential uses in various fields, such as creating fishing nets (due to its strength and underwater durability), as well as in medical advancements (biodegradability and biocompatibility with human tissues) 5.
|Steel||Strong||Low||Construction, infrastructure, automotive and aviation|
|Spider Silk||Exceptional (Greater than steel at equal weight)||High||Web building, prey capture, reproduction, living chambers, egg cases, draglines, mating bowers, potential medical applications|
Diet and Prey
The Golden Silk Spider, also known as the Trichonephila clavipes, has a preference for flying insects as its primary source of nourishment. These spiders are experts at catching a variety of winged victims.
Golden Silk Spiders typically target:
These skilled predators craft their webs to strategically capture their prey. Once ensnared, they immobilize the insect by injecting venom.
|Prey||Attraction for Spiders||Cons for Spiders|
|Flies||Abundant and easy to catch||Lower nutritional value|
|Bees||Nutritious and high in protein||Can potentially sting the spider|
|Mosquitoes||Widespread, especially in humid areas||Smaller size, less sustenance|
|Butterflies||Visually appealing prey||Might escape due to size|
|Dragonflies||Good source of protein||Difficult to catch, strong wings|
|Grasshoppers||Large and filling||Might escape because of size|
The Golden Silk Spider’s diet is diverse and opportunistic. They take advantage of their environment to feed on a wide range of flying insects, ensuring a consistent source of nutrients.
Reproduction and Life Cycle
Golden Silk Spiders exhibit fascinating mating rituals. Males are much smaller than females, and they approach females with caution. They perform a delicate dance on the web to avoid being mistaken for prey and eaten by the female. Males also deposit their sperm onto the female’s abdomen, using a specialized organ called a pedipalp.
Eggs and Offspring
Female Golden Silk Spiders, also known as Banana Spiders, lay their eggs around August or September. They create a protective egg sac made of silk and cover it with a layer of their golden silk. Some key features of their reproduction are:
- Females can lay up to 3,000 eggs in one sac
- Egg sacs are about the size of a small orange
- The color of the egg sac helps camouflage it among leaves
Adult females guard their egg sacs to ensure the survival of their offspring. The baby spiders or spiderlings hatch within a few weeks and are covered in a dense layer of fine hair. They remain close to the egg sac until they are ready to disperse and build webs of their own.
|Size||Larger (body length up to 1.5 inches)||Smaller (body length 0.2-0.35 inches)|
|Color||Brighter, often yellowish-orange with black markings||Duller, typically brownish or grayish|
|Role||Build webs, lay eggs, guard offspring||Transfer sperm, dance to attract females|
It’s important to note that Golden Silk Spiders are generally not harmful to humans. Their venom can cause localized pain and redness, similar to a bee sting, but it’s not severe or dangerous unless the person is allergic. The spiders will bite only if threatened or mishandled.
Encounters and Safety Precautions
People often encounter the Golden Silk Spider during the late summer and fall in southeastern states. The spiders commonly build their large golden webs in low shrubs, where hikers and hunters might come across them. To avoid unpleasant encounters with these spiders:
- Be observant while walking in wooded areas
- Carry a walking stick to clear webs ahead of you
- Wear long sleeves and pants to protect your skin
The Golden Silk Spider is not venomous, and its bite is considered harmless to humans. However, if bitten, some individuals may experience localized pain and redness at the bite site. Comparing this species to other spiders, the Golden Silk Spider is less likely to cause medical concerns:
|Spider Type||Bite Effects||Medical Concern|
|Golden Silk Spider||Localized pain, redness||Low|
|Brown Recluse||Necrosis, severe pain||High|
|Black Widow||Neurotoxic, severe pain||High|
In most cases, a bite from a Golden Silk Spider does not require medical attention, and over-the-counter pain relief can manage the symptoms. Remember, it’s essential to:
- Remain calm and avoid panicking if bitten
- Keep the bite area clean with soap and water
- Apply a cold compress to the bite site to reduce swelling and pain
- Consult a medical professional if the symptoms worsen or don’t subside after a day or two
Importance for Ecosystem
The Golden Silk Spider, also known as Trichonephila clavipes, plays a crucial role in maintaining the ecosystem balance. One of its main contributions lies in pest control.
- It feeds on various insects, including mosquitoes and flies.
- By consuming these pests, it helps reduce their population, ultimately improving human health and crop production.
The protein found in these spiders is also noteworthy. Their silk glands produce a unique, liquid protein, which turns into exceptionally strong and elastic fibers when stretched. Spider silk has impressive properties:
- Greater tensile strength than steel of the same weight.
- Highly elastic, which means it can stretch without breaking.
Due to its extraordinary features, researchers are interested in utilizing spider silk for various applications. Potential transportation improvements include:
- Lightweight, strong materials for vehicles and aircraft.
- Developing impact-resistant windshield glass.
A comparison between the silk of Golden Silk Spider and steel:
|Golden Silk Spider Silk||High||High||Light|
To summarize, the Golden Silk Spider contributes significantly to ecosystem balance, pest control, and novel material development for various industries. Its exceptional silk properties offer exciting opportunities for future innovations.
Conservation and Threats
The Golden Silk Spider, also known as Trichonephila clavipes, is a large orange and brown spider found in Florida and other southeastern states1. Although it may be despised by hikers and hunters for its large golden webs, this fascinating creature plays a vital role in maintaining the ecosystem balance.
Molting is a process in which the spider sheds its exoskeleton to grow larger. This is a vulnerable time for the Golden Silk Spider, as it is more prone to predation and environmental threats. Understanding molting can help in conservation efforts for this species.
Some of the threats faced by the Golden Silk Spider include:
- Habitat loss
- Pesticide exposure
- Climate change
To protect the Golden Silk Spider, various measures can be taken:
- Limit pesticide use in their native habitats
- Preserve and restore natural ecosystems
To understand the importance of these conservation efforts, let’s compare their benefits and drawbacks.
|Limit pesticide use||Protect spiders and other species||May affect crop protection|
|Preserve ecosystems||Maintain biodiversity||Requires resources and funding|
In conclusion, the Golden Silk Spider plays an essential role in our ecosystem. Understanding its threats and taking relevant conservation measures is crucial to protect this striking species.
Golden Silk Spider vs Other Species
Argiope aurantia, also known as the black and yellow garden spider, is a showy spider often noticed in late summer. The females have a body length of just over one inch. Some key features of Argiope aurantia include:
- Orb-weaver spider
- Bright color pattern
- Trademark zig-zag pattern in web
In contrast to the golden silk spider, Argiope aurantia has a more pronounced color pattern and a smaller body size.
Comparison of Golden Silk Spider and Argiope Aurantia:
|Feature||Golden Silk Spider||Argiope Aurantia|
|Body length||Larger than Argiope Aurantia||Approximately 1 inch|
|Color pattern||Orange and brown hues||Bright black and yellow|
|Web construction||Large golden webs||Zig-zag pattern in center|
Araneus species are part of the Araneidae family, along with the golden silk spider and Argiope aurantia. A notable example of an Araneus species is the giant wood spider, found in Australia’s forests. Some characteristics of Araneus species are:
- Cylindrical body
- Inconspicuous color patterns
- One generation in temperate North America
Araneus species differ from the golden silk spider in body shape, color patterns, and habits.
Features of Araneus Species:
- More inconspicuous than golden silk spiders
- Commonly found in temperate North America
The golden silk spider has a distinct appearance with its orange-banded legs and leg hair brushes, which resemble gaiters. In comparison, Araneus species have a more cylindrical body and inconspicuous habits, making them less noticeable in their environment.
Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.
Letter 1 – Banana Spider from Puerto Rico
Ed. Note: October 5, 2010
This past weekend, we really wanted to link to this old posting, but alas, we could not locate it. Our webmaster tracked it down and it seemed it did not make our major website migration just over two years ago. We suspect this is not the only missing gem, but the perk that comes from resposting it is that the photo can be greatly enlarged with our new technology.
(11/10/2003) Unidentified Spider from Puerto Rico
While staying in Puerto Rico two summers ago, my boyfriend caught this freeloader living in his apartment without paying rent. Do you know what kind it is?
Jennifer & Donny
Dear Jennifer and Donny,
First let me say yours is one of the most beautiful photos we have ever received. Thank you for sending the image of a male Heteropoda venatoria, also called a Banana Spider. The female is a more robust spider with shorter legs. This is the spider that is responsible for the rumors that tarantulas come into the U.S. with bananas because they are often spotted emerging frrom a bunch of bananas in a fruit store in the North. This Giant Crab Spider is usually the culprit. The species is found in all tropical regions, its range extending clear around the world. It is very abundant in all tropical seaport towns, being transported in trading vessels. Its chief food is cockroaches. The female carries her eggs beneath her body. According to this site it is also called the Huntsman Spider.
Letter 2 – Banana Spider from Guam: Argiope appensa
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)
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.”
Letter 3 – Golden Silk Spider from Jamaica
Subject: Large Jamaican spider
Geographic location of the bug: Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Time: 01:38 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Hi bugman,
Wondered if you might identify this large spider spotted in Jamaica during a trip in December. There were many of these spiders on the property but this was the largest that I could find. Its body was maybe an inch and a half, with long thick legs. Interestingly, much of the web, especially the thickest strands, were yellow!
Thanks in advance!
How you want your letter signed: Kyle
This lovely lady is a Golden Silk Spider in the genus Nephila, but she doesn’t look like Nephila clavipes, the only member of the genus found naturally in the New World. All other members of the genus are found in Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands. Perhaps her markings are due to the Jamaican individuals having a closed gene pool, and they are developing into a subspecies, since the image on Sharp Photography looks exactly like your individual. The name Golden Silk Spider refers to the very strong gold colored silk spun by members of the genus. Golden Silk Spiders might bite if provoked, but they are considered harmless.
Letter 4 – Golden Silk Spider from Namibia
Location: Namibia (see above)
November 15, 2011 12:44 pm
Can you please name these.All pictures were taken in April 2011 in Namibia.
The cricket was taken in the Etendeke Mountain camp close to Palmwag. The other 2 images were taken at Durstenbruck farm north of Windhoek.
Signature: Roger Pinkney
Your photos are beautiful, but this is a tall order. We identified this Golden Silk Spider in the genus Nephila quite quickly, however, we expect your other arthropods will take more time. We have always called spiders in the genus Nephila Golden Silk Spiders because their very strong webs are spun of golden silk. We have a single new world species, Nephila clavipes. We found Nephila senegalense pictured on the Spider Club of Southern Africa website, and armed with that name, we found this beautiful stamp on the Stamp Collectors Catalogue. We will attend to your other identification requests in the morning.
Dear Daniel, Many thanks for your 3 messages and all the details they contain. I’m not e-maiing from Namibia but from the U.K. but the delay in responding is because we don’t have the computer on daily. I’ve attached to this message 2 more photos not for identification as I believe they are of a Death’s Head Hawkmoth Caterpiller but I hoped you might like to see them or use them.
I wonder however if I may submit 2 further pictures for identification, again both taken in Namibia.
Kind regards, Roger.
Hi again Roger,
We will try our best to identify anything you send to us if time allows. Our readership enjoys reading about details surrounding particular sightings, and that is what your original email was lacking because you attached three completely different and unrelated (except for being from Namibia) creatures. In the future, please limit the attached photos to a single species per email and please use our standard form. If you can recall the time of year, time of day or any other relevant details, that would be wonderful. You may also add details regarding the three previous photos by attaching comments to the postings we have already made.
Letter 5 – A pair of Banana Spiders cohabitate
Can you tell me if this is a banana spider or orb spider or if they are two different spiders?
We love your photograph. These are Banana Spiders or Golden Silk Spiders, Nephila clavipes. It is a pair. The male is much smaller than the female, often a mere 1/100 of her body weight. He shares a web with her, and this cohabitation must have some symbiotic significance other than just proximity for mating. Perhaps he gets protection and also benefits from the insects trapped in her web. Banana Spiders are in the group known as Orb Weavers.
Letter 6 – A Pair of Golden Silk Spiders
Subject: Paramours of the arachnid persuasion
Geographic location of the bug: Columbia, South Carolina, USA
Time: 11:32 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Hello, Bugman! I wanted to share this photo I took of (what I’m pretty certain are) Golden Silk Orbweavers. This lovely lady and her paramour have made their rather extensive home just outside my bathroom window. Her web is about 4 or 5 feet at its widest, plus the attaching guylines. Her body is about 3″ long and her legs make her even larger. He, on the other hand, barely makes it to 2″ with his legs. Her silk is a gorgeous yellow and looks quite fine in the sun.
How you want your letter signed: Lissa Sprenne
Thanks so much for submitting your excellent images of a pair of Golden Silk Spiders, Nephila clavipes. Your images nicely illustrate the beautiful golden color of the web. The female Golden Silk Spider is approximately 50 times larger than her diminutive mate.
Letter 7 – Argiope appensa in Guam: Banana Spider
Spiders in Guam
I live in Guam and have these wonderful spiders living in my carport. I would like to know if the spider is male or female. Also, is the little one the offspring, rather than simply caught in the web? I hope these photos are clear enough. I’ve enjoyed watching two of these spiders grow from tiny to this size (approx 3.5 inches in span) in the course of five months, but others never seem to make it past infancy (or what I presume is infancy due to their size). Regards,
This is a pair of Argiope Spiders. The female is the larger of the two and the male shares her web. We did a google search of “Argiope Guam” and were led to a Wikipedia page describing and picturing Argiope appensa. Argiope appensa is one of at least three unrelated spiders commonly called Banana Spiders. According to Wikipedia: “Females reach a body length of up to 7cm and are strikingly black and yellow, while the brown males reach only about 2cm.  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. A. appensa is almost certainly one of the large species which were encountered there in vast numbers, much to his horror, by nature writer David Quammen (who is extremely arachnophobic) during his trip doing background research for the book The Song of the Dodo, as he vividly recalls therein.”
Letter 8 – Banana Spider
Attached are photos of a spider a worker at a local grocery store found in a bunch of organic bananas. He said the sider was inside a egg pouch with the spiderlings. He froze and destroyed the egg sac after he removed the adult. Is this a banana spider?
There are several unrelated spiders known commonly as Banana Spiders, including Golden Silk Spiders in the genus Nephila and Huntsman Spiders. One of the most commonly encountered Banana Spiders is Heteropoda venatoria, also known as a Giant Crab Spider. It looks like the spider in your photo might be a female Heteropoda venatoria.
Letter 9 – Banana Spider
Golden Silk Spider?
Hi from Georgia, and thanks for the site! We’ve recently stopped using chemical pesticides around the house, and we’ve seen a proliferation of lots of unusual characters, most of whom are harmless and interesting, and your site has been very helpful. Just this morning as I was taking a look at our power meter, I almost ran into this magnificent but scary creature, who has built a huge web outside the garage overnight. He’s 2 1/2-3 inches long and seems quite content even as I took his picture; however, I wouldn’t really want to have a closer encounter with him. From your site, I’m pretty sure he’s a Golden Silk Spider, but he is quite large so thought I’d confirm. Should he be relocated? I also just thought you might want to take a look at him…don’t know if he’s common for this time of year, and he is an especially good looking fellow in my estimation.
Yes, SHE is very attractive. Your Golden Silk Spider is also commonly called the Banana Spider, and the scientific name is Nephila clavipes. These are Southern spiders and autumn is the time they are maturing, growing to their adult size, and consequently attracting more attention. The female spider is often 100 times larger than her diminutive mate who usually lives on the periphery of her web. About 100 years ago there were experiments in using the silk of this spider, which is very strong, in textiles. It proved cost prohibitive.
Letter 10 – Banana Spider, AKA Golden Silk Spider
Subject: Banana Spider
Location: South East Texas
August 13, 2014 6:44 pm
Not sure if it’s actaully called a Banana Spider but that’s what we call them in my area. We have many of these in the yard. Our yard is a like a spider wonderland!
Signature: S. Miller
Dear S. Miller,
Your spider is Nephila clavipes, and Banana Spider is one common name, though the more widely used common name is Golden Silk Spider because of the strength of the silk, which is gold in color. Though they might bite if carelessly handled, these Banana Spiders are considered harmless.
Letter 11 – Banana Spider: Immigrant from Columbia
Spider from Columbia made it to the USA!
April 22, 2010
I work in a facility in the USA where we ripen bananas. First off, this is one tough spider. It has traveled thousand of miles at sea, was jostled around within a 2000lb pallet, suffocated with ethylene gas for 24 hours which is used to replace oxygen and start the ripening process of bananas, dodged fork lifts with banana pallets on them only to be swept out of a ripening room by me. I stopped the instance I saw the dust pile moving and quickly got two cups and a bunch of tape to snatch this spider up. It isn’t in the best of shape which I blame myself for but it’s still kicking! I believe it is of the huntsman group. As far as I can tell it is not a Brazilian Wandering Spider. Leg span from front to back is about 1 1/2 inches. it has been given a meal worm and a cricket but hasn’t snatched either up. Any info would be great!
COLUMBIA (but discovered in the states)
The Huntsman Spider Heteropoda venatoria has multiple common names including Banana Spider, the most appropriate name for your individual. Banana Spiders got this common name many years ago exactly because they entered distant lands on banana boats, often cropping up in grocery stores when the shipment was delivered. They are often mistaken for Tarantulas. The Banana Spider now has a nearly worldwide distribution, especially in warm port towns where it can survive and reproduce. The Banana Spider is harmless, and it is a shy nocturnal hunter that does not build a web and will eat all the night prowling Cockroaches it encounters. Compare your photos to this one on BugGuide where it is indicated: “Non-native, introduced from Asia, possibly on bananas. Apparently spreading into the US from warmest areas.” We love your eye witness account.
Letter 12 – Cloth spun from Golden Silk Spider webs
Cool article: cloth spun from spider’s silk
September 23, 2009
I thought you might enjoy this article–beautiful cloth woven from silk that was harvested from orb weaver spiders.
We should have some very old postings in our archive on textiles woven from the silk of the Golden Silk Spiders in the genus Nephila. Thanks for the awesome link.
Letter 13 – Freeloader Flies share meal with Golden Silk Spider
Do Spiders regrow Legs? & what are these flies?
June 5, 2010
Recently had a small lynx spider on a plant in my yard (spring) missing several legs, I also noticed a golden spider missing legs in a web in winter last year. I’m curious do spiders regrow limbs lost? And also the same golden spider species seems to have flies on it or on its prey in the web, I have never seen this before and the flies seem to not care they were on a spider, and in its web..
Any idea what the flies are doing and what kind of flies they are..
Polk County, Florida, USA
Hi Again Dee,
The flies with your Golden Silk Spider are Freeloader Flies in the family Milichiidae. According to Dr. Irina Brake who coined the English name Freeloader Flies on her Milichiidae online website, some members of the family “are kleptoparasitic, feeding on the prey of spiders or predaceous insects.” On the Biology of Milichiidae page, Dr. Brake indicates: “Another very interesting feature of Milichiidae behavior is kleptoparasitism or commensalism. Species of several genera suck at the prey of spiders or predatory insects such as Reduviidae, Asilidae, Mantidae, or Odonata. Mostly they are attracted to predators feeding on stink bugs (Pentatomidae) or squash bugs (Coreidae) (Frost 1913, Robinson & Robinson 1977, Sivinski & Stowe 1980, Landau & Gaylor 1987). In almost all cases it is only the females that are kleptoparasitic. In some cases a close association between milichiid and predator has been postulated, because it was observed that the fly “rides” on the predator for some time, staying with the one predator rather than changing between different predators (Biró 1899, Robinson & Robinson 1977).” Regarding the leg regeneration question, we have seen images of a Fishing Spider with several smaller legs, and the hypothesis is that if a spider loses its legs while very young, stunted legs may regenerate. Alas, older spiders will not regenerate their legs.
Thank you so much for your time and all your information, I’m very surprised that my ant is a fly hehe…
I guess you get an idea in your head of what a fly looks like and assume them all too be the same, or very similar.
In regards to the Freeloaders and Spider Limb regrowth, again i thank you for your time and information…
I’ve never seen flies do that so its really interesting to actually see them near spiders like that.
Its sad to know that adult spiders don’t regrow their limbs, I guess like everything they learn to adapt with their missing legs and get on with their life..
I appreciate all your help time and effort
Input from Dr. Irina Brake
June 7, 2010
the flies on the Golden Silk Spider photo are too small for me to say
anything. The ones on the pod boring bug look like Chloropidae.
Letter 14 – Golden Silk Orbweaver or Golden Silk Spider from India
Golden Orb Weaver?
Mon, Nov 10, 2008 at 8:19 PM
I found this spider when I went rafting in Rishikesh, India. Have tried looking for it online but could not find anything specific. Came across your site and I think it is a wonderful way to learn and teach! Keep up the good work. Hoping you can help me with my picture.
While we are not certain of the species, we can tell you that your spider is a Golden Silk Orbweaver or Golden Silk Spider in the genus Nephila. This genus of spiders has very strong golden silk and attempts were made in the past to weave it into fabric.
Letter 15 – Golden Silk Spider
What kind is it?
This spider was on a huge web outside my inlaws’ house among trees and underbrush in NC. It was approximately 3 1/2 to 4″ long with the legs. Can you please tell me what it is? Thanks!
Sneads Ferry, NC
We haven’t posted a new photo of a Golden Silk Spider in quite some time. The Golden Silk Spider, Nephila clavipes, gets its name from the color of its very strong silk. It is sometimes called a Banana Spider, but that common name is also used on unrelated species.
Letter 16 – Golden Silk Spider
Spider – Volusia Co
I’ve changed my mind about the sz of the spider – it’s front legs are about 2″ long! It may be closer to 4″ in sz. I kept looking – may be a golden orb spider. Would still like to know what’s happening in the 4th pic where it looks disjointed?? Thanks
This is a Golden Silk Spider or Banana Spider, Nephila clavipes. The image in question shows the molting process. As an arthropod grows, its exoskeleton does not, and it needs to be shed to allow for growth. Immediately after molting, the insect is soft and vulnerable, and often hides until its new exoskeleton has hardened.
(08/16/2007) Nephila spider: edible!
Hope this note finds you and Lisa Anne well. I recently learned that the formidable-looking Nephila are eaten somewhere in Asia, I think it’s either India or Malaysia. Somewhere I’ve got a grainy black-and-white picture of a bundle of these spiders tied together by their legs in the marketplace. I’d go get the picture but we’re in another state now and I don’t want to delay writing to you. I haven’t yet deliberately eaten a spider. Best,
Letter 17 – Golden Silk Spider
Help! What’s this bug?
I’ve searched the spider section of your website to identify this spider that I came face to thorax with this afternoon. She (or he) has made a comfortably large web among the christmas lights hung on our palm tree. We live in South Florida only about 30 feet from a giant nature preserve, so bugs & critters are not uncommon, but this guys made the hair on my neck stand up and I’ll admit I screamed! I watched her for a while and witnessed her having a few meals… I did consider (kindly) making her move elsewhere because I have toddler who likes playing in our yard by that tree. Can you tell me more about this spider? My guess is that it’s a Nephila Claripes as you identified for someone else. What I really want to know is if this is a harmless spider or one of the more aggressive variety. We’ll have to get pretty close to her in only a few weeks when we take our lights down! Thanks in advance for your help!
Brook, Delray Beach FL
Congratulations on properly identifying your Golden Silk Spider, Nephila clavipes. This is not an aggressive species, but many spiders are capable of biting people if they are provoked. The venom is not considered dangerous. We do not believe your spider poses any significant threat and she will rarely, if ever, stray from her web. By the way, one of the distinguishing differences between spiders and insects, in addition to spiders having 8 legs and insects having 6, is that the head and thorax of the spider is fused into the cephalothorax, while the head and thorax of insects are distinct.
Letter 18 – Golden Silk Spider
This spider has been growing in our window for about 9 weeks. We have tried to identify it but haven’t been successful. Here are a half a dozen small images that may help. We have the same as 10 MP if you want copies. These were taken in Beaufort, SC on August 3, 2008. Thanks for your reply
This is a female Nephila clavipes, also called a Golden Silk Spider or Banana Spider, though several unrelated spiders are also known as Banana Spiders. This species has marked sexual dimorphism, with the male spider being about 1/100 the size of the female. The silk of their webs is reported to be so strong that the spiders can snare small birds.
Letter 19 – Golden Silk Spider
gulf coast of FL
I noticed a lot of large intricate webs at a park along the gulf coast of Florida. After searching, I finally found the culprit. When the sun hit it, the color appeared to be more golden or yellow. I was wondering what kind of spider this was.
Jeanne – Long Island
This is a female Nephila clavipes, commonly known as the Golden Silk Spider. The male is diminutive. The common name comes from the unusual color of the silk. There was an attempt to use the silk of this spider for textiles, and though the resulting fabric was very strong, the labor involved proved cost prohibitive. The other common name for this species is Banana Spider.
Letter 20 – Golden Silk Spider
Picture of a Golden Silk Spider
Hello Bug Folks!
We were hiking yesterday near Savannah, GA when we came across this beauty. She was huge! I thought she was some sort of Argiope, but when I poked around your site, I was able to ID her as a Golden Silk Spider. I’m an avid What’s That Bug reader, but this was the first time I’ve gotten to use you for identification. Thanks for providing a great service, and I hope you like the photo. By the way, I know you folks are amazingly busy, but is there any way you could set up an RSS feed for your page? I don’t think they’re terribly difficult to do. If not, I’ll just keep stopping by every day to see if there’s anything new. Thanks again,
Thank you for sending in your fabulous image of a Golden Silk Spider, Nephila clavipes. We will check with our web host about the RSS feed you mention.
Letter 21 – Golden Silk Spider
Hi Bugman, I was wondering if you could tell me the name of this spider. We took a picture of it in the Cuyabeno Reserve which is a part of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador. It was hanging out on a post in the campground we were staying at. Thanks for your help,
This is a female Golden Silk Spider, Nephila clavipes. According to Wikipedia, it is the only New World species in the genus. These spiders build orb webs out of extremely strong golden silk. They are also found in parts of the South (as far North as North Carolina and as far West as Texas), generally in swampy areas.
Letter 22 – Golden Silk Spider
Golden Silk Spider…and Its Web Full of Prey!!
I am an amateur photographer and a huge fan of your awesome website. I currently live in southwestern Mississippi and a few days ago my dad found an enormous (for a bug) spider which your site helped me identify as a Golden Silk Spider. It’s between an inch and two inches long and has spun a giant web…which is situated ever so conveniently across the place where we walk very often.
Anyway, I got out and took several pictures of it which I have attached to this e-mail. Interestingly, the pics look almost exactly like the one you have on your first spider page, but mine are much clearer, so I thought you’d like them for your archives.
I know you are very busy, but if you could answer a question for me I would greatly appreciate it: Are these spiders aggressive, and is there any particular reason it would start clicking its jaws at me? When I got too close to it it started wiggling its mouth-parts around…very menacing, considering it’s a spider.
Thanks as always for your wonderful site, and enjoy the photos!
Tori Myers, 13
Thanks for sending us your beautiful photo. We tend to define aggression as actively trying to threaten or inflict harm. Orb Weaver Spiders sit in their webs, and the behavior you describe is more defensive than offensive. We have not gotten any reports of anyone being bitten by a Golden Silk Spider, but they are large spiders with strong jaws and the possibility does exist.
Letter 23 – Golden Silk Spider
Golden Silk Spider
July 26, 2009
I took this picture today and I was excited that it turned out so nicely. I wanted to share it with other bug enthusiasts.
He (or she) is hanging around in my back yard and is welcome to stay as long as he/she likes.
Thanks for sending us your photo of a female Golden Silk Spider, Nephila clavipes. The female is about 100 times the size of the male who would probably go unnoticed except that a male or males are often found sharing the web of a female. We also just posted a photo of a relative in the same genus from Indonesia.
Letter 24 – Golden Silk Spider
Golden Silk Spider from Mexico
September 25, 2009
I just moved to a new house and it’s not on downtown so there’s a lot of vegetation and bugs.. I have found lots of this spiders and browsing your site i get to the conlusion that’s a Nephila clavipes, am i right? hehe well, I have my sister and my newborn nephew living with us and i want to know if this spider can be a danger for the little baby.. I never found one of this inside the house, they’re always in their spiderweb and I must say: That’s a strong spiderweb!! … I killed 2 of this on my garden the day I moved in but on an impulse of fear (you know, i’m not familiar with insects)… now.. if they’re not dangerous maybe i can live with that … because a new one showed up today and his web is amazing and I don’t want to kill her (it’s a female, right?) and excuse me for being such a coward, but my sister was very very scared of this
Fortin, Veracruz, Mexico (Gulf of mexico)
Your identification is correct, and you have nothing to fear regarding the Golden Silk Spider. They are harmless to humans, but they will help to control flying insects that might be a problem, like mosquitoes and biting flies. We would encourage you to educate your sister and to live in harmony with these beautiful spiders. Yes, their webs are incredibly strong.
Letter 25 – Golden Silk Spider
December 8, 2009
We came across a huge spider, approx 4 inches, on a huge spiderweb up in a tree. We were hoping you could help identify this arachnid and tell us if it is poisonous. Thanks!
Alex & Mom
Dear Alex & Mom,
This beautiful spider is a Golden Silk Spider. It is a female and she is harmless. The male is a mere 2% of the female’s body mass. The strong golden silk of the web gives the spider its common name. In some areas, the Golden Silk Spider, Nephila clavipes, is known as a Banana Spider.
Thanks so much for your information! You guys are very helpful!
Letter 26 – Golden Silk Spider
Spiders Galore at Delray Oaks Natural Area
Location: Delray Beach, Florida
April 7, 2011 12:21 pm
Hello What’s That Bug! I love your site. I am the volunteer coordinator for the Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management – so I am outside a lot working with dedicated volunteers who want to protect the county’s natural resources. Obviously, we come into contact with lots of bugs. I always head to your website when I have a critter I can’t identify. I know this spider – golden-silk spider. I thought you might like this picture since you can clearly see the spider is spinning silk to fix her web. I watched her remove a twig that had fallen into her web – she cut it out and then proceeded to repair the area where the stick was. So cool! I also came across lots of crab-like spiny orb weaver spiders and orchard spiders – those guys were way too small to get a good photo. Keep up the great work!
Signature: Ann Mathews – Senior Environmental Analyst
Thank you so much for your kind letter. We really love your photo of a female Golden Silk Spider, Nephila clavipes.
Letter 27 – Golden Silk Spider
Subject: Golden Silk Orb Weaver
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
June 28, 2012 9:44 am
These pictures are of the Golden Silk Orb Weaver.. one of the larger ones ive seen.. I would guess the leg span to be 5-6 inches… quite impressive.. feel free to use any and all of the pictures.
Even More pics!! They are known to people down here as Banana Spiders.. but that is not accurate.. These spiders are actually very very very gentle and would tolerate walking on your hand. They are GREAT for gardens and yard. Their webs can become HUGE.
Signature: Anthony Argenti
We apologize for the delay in getting back to you. We noticed your emails more than a week ago, but we were away when they arrived and we needed to play major catch-up. June is also a very busy month for us and we cannot even read a fraction of the mail we receive. We went through your four emails and selected our favorite photo to post with your email. Thank you for helping us let people know that those Golden Silk Spiders are massive, they are harmless to people. They do have very strong silk and we would not discount that they might be able to ensnare small birds in their webs. It is also worth noting that your photo is a female Golden Silk Spider and that diminutive males are about 1/50 of the size of a female.
Letter 28 – Golden Silk Spider
Subject: Beautiful Golden Beetle
Location: Central Florida, USA
November 10, 2013 12:51 am
My aunt found this beetle while on a trip to Florida. This was found in early November north of Tampa. I’m curios to find out what it is and so is she.
Signature: Curiously, Mindy the bug lover
While we agree that it is beautiful, and “golden” is part of its common name, this is not a beetle. Your aunt sent you an image of a Golden Silk Spider, Nephila clavipes, the only member of its genus found in the U.S. Golden Silk Spiders spin exceedingly strong silk that is golden in color, and a beautiful shawl was spun from the silk of a close Asian relative of our native Golden Silk Spider.
Awesome. Thank you. Hard to tell in that photo, but on a second look I did count 8 legs! Thanks again for such a rapid response and the info
Letter 29 – Golden Silk Spider
Subject: Big Spider
Location: Meridian Mississippi USA
October 17, 2014 12:57 pm
I Found this spider on a web behind my house. What the heck is it? It looks dangerous!
This Golden Silk Spider, Nephila clavipes, is sometimes called a Banana Spider. As you have indicated, they are large spiders, and though they might bite a person if carelessly handled, they are not considered dangerous. Like most spiders, they do have venom, but the venom will only have a very localized reaction similar to a bee sting. Golden Silk Spiders are known for spinning an extremely strong silk to construct their webs, and the silk has a golden color. The strength of the silk enables them to snare large winded prey. Golden Silk Spiders are also known for their extreme sexual dimorphism. Your individual is a female, and she is about fifty times the size of her diminutive mate.
Letter 30 – Golden Silk Spider from Java
Subject: Golden SIlk Orb Weaver
Location: East Java, Indonesia
March 29, 2016 12:04 am
Hi, I’m an amateur photographer and I found this Golden Silk Orb Weaver on a mango tree, all I know is that it is of Nephila Genus but I can’t find out about the species. Here’s the story :
The female spider is roughly about 3,5 – 4 inches long (including leg span), I also spot a smaller yet looked very different most likely to be the male roughly about 1 – 1,5 inches long including leg span. It has about 0,75 m x 1 m wide shiny golden web on one side of the mango tree. I also managed to get a sample of her silk which looks very pretty and shiny.
I’m very curious about the species.
Signature: A17N Photography
Dear A17N Photography,
You image showing the underside of this Golden Silk Spider does not reveal the markings, but one species found in Java, according to Getty Images, is Nephila pilipes. It appears that there are two smaller spiders directly above the female at the top edge of your image, just above the tangle of golden silk that gives this distinctive genus its common name.
Letter 31 – Golden Silk Spider
Subject: What big spider is this?
July 31, 2016 4:08 am
I saw this spider this morning on Wrightsville Beach, NC. It’s thorax is about 1.5 to 1.75 inches and the legs extend another 1.5 inches.
A multicolored thorax (brown with white spots) and legs with dark fur on the joints.
Love to tell the kiddos here at the beach house what kinds of spider they found.
Signature: Curious Beach Bum
Dear Curious Beach Bum,
This Golden Silk Spider, Nephila clavipes, gets its common name from the color of its incredibly strong silk. North Carolina is the northernmost point of its range, according to BugGuide, which continues as far south as Argentina. More information is available on BugGuide where it states: “Like other spiders, this one will bite in self-defense, especially if you go out of your way to provoke it (in particular, by handling or picking it up). Spiders have venom which enables them to incapacitate their prey. However, the bite of most species is described as much less severe than a bee sting.”
Letter 32 – Golden Silk Spider
Subject: Golden Silk Spider respite
Location: Charleston, SC
October 18, 2016 5:21 pm
Thought you might enjoy this image. This gal had been residing beside the house for some time when we had an unexpected cold spell. She was pretty lethargic in the web and I thought she might fall prey to a blue jay or something. So, I brought her inside for a couple of days until it warmed back up. She seemed fine when I took her back out, she remade her web and, I think made an egg sack (her abdomen had diminished greatly in size one day not too long after). Here’s to hopes for the next generation.
Signature: Norm Shea
Letter 33 – Golden Silk Spider
Subject: Very large spider
Location: south Mississippi
October 22, 2016 3:32 pm
I’m wondering what this spider is. Living in Mississippi, I have seen 3 of them so far and always around fall. This one is very large! The leg span could easily spread across my palm (about 3in across, 4in length), possibly grab around it a little. It’s abdomen is approx. 2-2 1/2 inches long, not including the head part. As you can see it seems to be a tan-ish color with yellow spots and yellow and black legs. Not sure if you’ve ever played Zelda, but the head part looks like the “skull spiders” on the game. We’ve just been referring to it like that Lol The web it’s made is huge, at least 3ft for just the circle. Happy to say it’s not running around or bugging anyone, yet. It’s web has been down a couple times (not by us, sticks and weather), it keeps rebuilding it right where it’s been, guess it’s eating well there. Is it poisonous? Should I be worried? I have 3 kids that love watching it but just want to be sure it’s safe.
Autumn is the time that Orbweavers, that only live for a year, reach maturity and as they reach full size, become much more visible. Your individual is a female Golden Silk Spider, Nephila clavipes, and though large individuals might bite if provoked and though they have venom, they are not considered dangerous. Orbweavers are not aggressive, and they are relatively helpless outside of their webs, so they rarely leave the web. Teach your children to respect this stunning spider, and we don’t believe you will have any need to worry.
Letter 34 – Golden Silk Spider
Geographic location of the bug: Jesup ga
Time: 06:27 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: I don’t know what this spider is I’ve never seen it in my life
How you want your letter signed: Thank you
Commonly called a Golden Silk Spider, Nephila clavipes might bite if carelessly handled, but it is not an aggressive species and its bite is not considered dangerous.
Letter 35 – Golden Silk Spider
Subject: Pretty spider
Geographic location of the bug: Anastasia island, Florida
Time: 08:43 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: I’m pretty sure I know what this is, but would like a second opinion please!
How you want your letter signed: JPerry
The Golden Silk Spider, Nephila clavipes, takes its common name from the golden color of the incredibly strong silk with which it weaves its web.
Letter 36 – Golden Silk Spider
Subject: What is this?
Geographic location of the bug: Alpharetta GA
Time: 12:16 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: What is this? They’ve recently popped up everywhere!
How you want your letter signed: Regards, Devon
This is a Golden Silk Spider, Nephila clavipes, a species known for its very strong silk webbing that is golden in color. Because of their shape and color, they are sometimes called Banana Spiders, a common name also shared with an unrelated Huntsman Spider.
Letter 37 – Golden Silk Spider from China
Subject: Golden Silk Orb-Weaver
Location: Southwestern Shaanxi Province, China
September 24, 2013 12:48 am
I also found this spider in our bike shed. I think she’s a golden silk orb-weaver in the genus Nephila, probably Nephila clavata. She’s a beautiful specimen and quite a size- her legspan must a good 4 inches!
She also seemed to have quite a lot of debris (uneatean prey, bits of leaf, dustballs etc.) in her web. Due to the sheltered location out of the wind I wondered if it might be some kind of web decoration?
Signature: Paul UK
We agree that this Golden Silk Spider is most likely Nephila clavata. We do not believe that Golden Silk Spiders reconstruct their webs entirely each night, so the web could contain considerable debris.
Letter 38 – Golden Silk Spider from Colombia
Subject: John alexander salazar
Location: sur america-Colombia-cali-univalle
March 4, 2017 4:48 pm
hello mr.bugman, I have a question about a species of pehila found in my university, I know that in my university there are nephilas clavipes, but I would love it if I could get out of doubts about this species.
Signature: Nothing special
Dear John alexander,
The detail in your image is not ideal for species identification, but it is our understanding that the only native Golden Silk Spiders in the New World are all Nephila clavipes.
Letter 39 – Golden Silk Spider from Argentina: Nephila clavipes vespucea???
Two pics from Argentina
Hi, we spotted this great spider last weekend in El Palmar National Park in Argentina.
Andrés & Gabriel
Hola Andrés and Gabriel,
Your spider is a Golden Silk Spider, named because of the color of its silk. There is only one species reported in the new world, Nephila clavipes, so we are pretty certain that is your spider. The coloration is a bit different from the specimens we generally receive from the southern U.S., with the abdomen appearing brown instead of yellow. The species is distributed from the southern United States down to Argentina, and including the Caribbean. Wikipedia mentions an Argentine subspecies, Nephila clavipes vespucea, but does not picture it. A brief internet did not produce a photo of Nephila clavipes vespucea, but perhaps a faithful reader will discover an image and send us the link.
Letter 40 – Golden Silk Spider from Australia
What kind of spider is this?
April 23, 2010
I was on a uni field trip in the Toomba Nature Refuge/ Great Basalt National Park in Queensland, Australia (April 2010) and I almost walked straight into this guy’s web. The spider was quite big, I’d say a bit smaller than a person’s hand length. The area was grassy eucalypt woodland and it was early in the morning. In the picture the spider has a big parcel in its hands. Not sure what it was, just assumed that it was food. Anyway, his colouring is pretty awesome!
Great Basalt National Park, QLD, Australia
Collectively, Spiders in the genus Nephila are known as Golden Silk Spiders because of the color of the silk they spin. Australia has several species in the genus Nephila and we believe your spider is Nephila edulis, based on the Brisbane Insect website, which indicates the spider is commonly called the Golden Orb Weaver, a name shared with the OzAnimals website. On Wikipedia, the Latin meaning of the species name edulis is translated to edible, and there is mention of this spider being roasted and eaten in New Guinea: “While it is not entirely clear why this particular species is considered edible, it is known that several Nephila species are considered a delicacy in New Guinea, where they are plucked by the legs from their webs and lightly roasted over an open fire.”
Letter 41 – Golden Silk Spider from Brazil
Brazilian Big Spider
February 5, 2010
I found this Spider on the top of a tree where i work, it is big, something like 3 to 4 inches…
Unfortunatelly i can’t get closer or get shots from other positon…
Is it an Nephila SP?
Thanks for your time!
Luiz Fernando R.
Brazil, SP, São Paulo
You are correct. This is a Golden Silk Spider in the genus Nephila. According to available information, the only New World species is Nephila clavipes which is also found in the Southeastern United States. It is possible to see the golden color of the silk in your photograph.
Letter 42 – Golden Silk Spider from Cambodia
Subject: What’s that bug?
March 18, 2013 5:15 am
I shot these pictures in Angkor Wat, July 2012. I don’t even know if it’s an insect or a Nephila pilipes-like spider: it seems to have six legs but silk seemed to be emanating from its behind; it could also have been dragging something else’s silk, not sure. Do you have any idea?
Paul van Hemert
You are correct that this is a Golden Silk Spider in the genus Nephila. It is missing a few legs.
Letter 43 – Golden Silk Spider from China
spider ID in China
I live on a small island in southeastern China. I often go hiking, and I come across this spider quite often. It’s certainly the largest spider I’ve ever found, and I’d like to know more about it for safety’s sake and also just out of curiosity. I browsed through the spider sections on your site, and I’m wondering if it’s a "Nephila clavipes." I’ve attached a picture of it. By the way, I think whatsthatbug.com is an excellent resource. It has helped me many times, especially since I’ve been living here (and don’t speak the language very well). Thanks for sharing your expertise! Best,
Nephila clavipes, the Golden Silk Spider, is a New World species, but there are many more members of the genus in Asia. The closest we can find is an immature specimen on Wikipedia of Nephila pilipes which ranges in Japan ,China ,Taiwan ,Singapore ,Myanmar ,Sri Lanka ,India ,Papua New Guinea , and Northern Australia.
Letter 44 – Golden Silk Spider from China
hi, i found this spider at the top of the great wall
in a out of the way section. hope you can tell me
about it. it was 6-7 inches from top to bottom. thank you.
This is Nephila clavata, one of the Golden Silk Spiders, so named because of the color and strength of their silk. In addition to China, this species is also found in Taiwan, Korea and Japan.
Letter 45 – Golden Silk Spider from China
I spent a month on a panda reserve in the south west of the peoples republic of china. All thoughout my time there I liked looking at these colourful spiders that were all about the place. I just want to know the name really. If it’s on your site already and i missed it sorry. If you can give me any help thanks a bunch. All the best,
This is one of the Golden Silk Spiders, named because of the strong golden colored silk. There have been attempts to use the silk commercially as garment material, but spider silk is not as easy to harvest as the silk of the domestic Silkworm. Your species is Nephila clavata and it ranges from India to Japan where it is known as a Joro Spider.
Letter 46 – Golden Silk Spider from China
SE Chian Spider
I was recently visiting an area in the hills of SE China (near Macao) when I came across these spiders. There were many of them once we started looking around. We had to watch for them as they were just off the path and about head height. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks,
This is a female Golden Silk Spider in the genus Nephila. We believe it is Nephila pilipes.
Letter 47 – Golden Silk Spider from Columbia
Dear Sir – I have another bug for you. This photo was also taken in central Colombia, near the city of Cartago(Very warm climate, 1000 meters above sea level) It was roaming the dinner table, it is almost palm size. I hope you tell me what is that bug. Pohoto taken by Alberto Botero. Thanks,
Hi again Martin,
This is a female Golden Silk Spider in the genus Nephila. We have one species in the southern U.S., Nephila clavipes, but we suspect your specimen is a different species.
Letter 48 – Golden Silk Spider from Gambia
Help identifying African spider
Sat, Oct 25, 2008 at 10:04 AM
I took this photo in The Gambia last week and am having trouble identifying it. It looks a little like the Golden Orb Weaver but the marking look a little different.
Your spider is a Golden Silk Spider in the Genus Nephila. There is currently a photo making the rounds on the internet of an Australian Nephila species, probably Nephila maculata, that has captured a bird, a Chestnut Breasted Mannikin, in its web. Several readers have sent us that photo but we don’t publish third party photos unknowingly without getting the photographer’s permission. Telegraph.UK.co calls that spider a Golden Orb Weaver, but using common names can cause confusion since that common name refers to a different species, Argiope aurantia, in the U.S. We like Golden Silk Spider since the color of the silk is really Golden. Wikipedia refers to the Nephila species as the Golden Silk Orb-Weavers. There was an effort at one time to weave the silk of the Nephila species into fabric because of its strength. The strength of the silk allows the Golden Silk Spider to occasionally capture a small bird. The silk of the American Golden Orb Weaver is also quite strong, and we have photos submitted to our site of an Argiope aurantia feeding on a hummingbird. The only American species of Nephila is Nephila clavipes, also called a Banana Spider, but that common name also refers to other species of spiders. All we can say for certain regarding your lovely photo is that it is in the genus Nephila, and that we prefer the common name Golden Silk Spider.
Letter 49 – Golden Silk Spider from Gambia
spider think its a golden silk but not sure
January 7, 2010
hi i was out in the gambia in october 09 and these spiders were everywhere just wanted to know what they are and if there dangerous or not as i do go out to the gambia alot now.
You are correct. This is a Golden Silk Spider in the genus Nephila. All spiders have venom, but only a few species are dangerous to humans, and the Golden Silk Spiders are not considered dangerous. It is possible that they might bite, though reports are very rare. Reactions to the bite will vary with the individual, but again, the bite of the Golden Silk Spider is not considered dangerous.
Letter 50 – Golden Silk Spider from Haiti
August 28, 2010 6:22 pm
While in Haiti I was amazed to see this lovely spider hanging out beside the path. I looke at your site and it seems that you do not have any from Haiti. Is this in fact a Golden silk spider? Or am I incorrect?
You are correct. This is Nephila clavipes, the Golden Silk Spider, and it is the only New World representative in the genus.
Letter 51 – Golden Silk Spider from Honduras
September 20, 2010 12:03 pm
hi, i found this spider in my house, Valle de Angeles, Honduras
Signature: Carlos Cesar Quan Carrasco
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.
Letter 52 – Golden Silk Spider from Indonesia
Identify this Indonesian Spider!
July 25, 2009
This spider was hanging on a web between a tree and a powerline. It was pretty far away, so I couldn’t tell how large it was. It seemed to be much larger than my palm though.
This is a Golden Silk Spider in the genus Nephila. We believe, based on an Indonesian Website we located, that this is Nephila pilipes. The website indicates: “Nephila pilipes is a species of golden orb-web spider. It can be found in Japan, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, India, Papua New Guinea, and Northern Australia. It is commonly found in primary and secondary forests and gardens. Females are large and grow to a body size of 30-50mm, with males growing to 5–6 mm.” Your specimen is a female.
Letter 53 – Golden Silk Spider from Japan: Joro-Gumo
Man eating spiders in Japan
April 1, 2010
On a trip to Miyazaki, Japan, there were only two animals in sight: giant crows and these large spiders. A lot of them were perched at human head level on webs 2 feet tall and 5-6 feet wide between trees in a sparse forest. Poking at a web, I was frightened by both the strength of the thread and the ferocity of the spider suddenly running at me. I know the pictures aren’t great, but you can see the shape of the abdomen and the stripes on the legs. Including legs, perched on the web, you’re looking at about a 5 inch diameter, give or take.
Golden Silk Spiders in the genus Nephila, like the one in your photo, are large and scary, but they pose no threat to humans. As you observed, the webs are extremely strong, and the silk is golden in color. Golden Silk Spiders have been known to snare small birds in their webs, and the birds are eaten with the same relish the spider exhibits with a fly. The female Golden Silk Spider can reach 100 times the mass of her diminutive mate. Male Golden Silk Spiders often occupy the same web as the female. Your photo appears to document just such a pair. We believe your spider is Nephila clavata, or joro-gumo in Japan, according to the cyberoz website.
Letter 54 – Golden Silk Spider from Mozambique
Spider of Mozambique
Wed, Feb 4, 2009 at 9:01 AM
Hey, I don’t normally ask for help becuase I’m britty good at identifying bugs myself(not to brag) but this species turned out to be a tough one, even if you can give me a family it belongs to, better yet, a genus, I would be grateful.
Here’s a web site were the picture is and it shows exact coordinates were the picture was taken.
This is some species of Golden Silk Spider in the genus Nephila. We haven’t the time to identify the species as we must rush to work to give our students their final examination today. Golden Silk Spiders have extremely strong webs and can catch small birds.
Letter 55 – Golden Silk Spider from Nepal
Subject: Nephila Pilipes
Location: Nepal – Himalaya
December 24, 2012 1:12 pm
These photos were taken in Nepal, October 2012, by a trekking friend. I believe this is Nephila Pilipes – golden orb-web spider. Beautiful! Thought I’d share in case these come in handy for your photo library.
This is definitely a Golden Silk Spider in the genus Nephila, but there appears to be two possibilities on the species identification. Wikipedia has a very similar image identified as Nephila pilipes, however, FlickR has an image identified as a Giant Wood Spider, Nephila maculata, possibly N. pilipes, and iStock PHoto has an image also identified as Nephila maculata. None of those sources are associated with reputable scientific data, so an actual identity cannot be confirmed by us beyond the genus level. Your photos are quite beautiful and nicely illustrate the golden color of the extremely strong silk spun by members of this genus.
Letter 56 – Golden Silk Spider from Taiwan
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”
Letter 57 – Golden Silk Spider from Taiwan
red-legged Nephila image on Google Image search results
October 14, 2011 10:18 am
I’m going to guess that this is NOT the sort of question that normally interests you guys, but I’m running into some odd (I think) data manipulation with regard to my image, and Nephila rufapoda in general. If you don’t mind, I’m going to send you a second image of the same red-legged Nephila from Taiwan. If you decide to publish that and comment on it, then I would expect it to turn up in Google Image search results -as did the first image of the same spider. It would be interesting to find out whether or not the image was subsequently removed.
I’m not usually like this, by the way. This is my first internet mystery.
Signature: Dane Harris
unidentified species of Nephila
October 14, 2011 10:24 am
I have a second picture of that unidentified Nephila species from Taiwan. My friend Thomas Evjue has pointed out that the pedipalps on the critter in my picture are red, whereas the pedipalps in the only picture of Nephila rufapoda are black after the first joint. Is that enough of a difference to denote a different species, or could the difference be explained by geographic isolation?
Signature: Dane Harris
Hi again Dane,
We cannot say for certain if this is Nephila rufopoda, a subspecies or a different species. Thanks for sending another photo to accompany your previous photo.
Letter 58 – Golden Silk Spider in Australia: Nephila ornata possibly
A sizable new spider at our backyard.
February 21, 2010
Hi Bugman, here are a couple of photos of a species of spiders I don’t remember seeing at our Sydney backyard before. Would you be able to id it, please.
Goodness gracious Ridou, you are keeping us busy,
This beauty is a female Golden Silk Spider in the genus Nephila. There are numerous species in Australia, and we are not certain exactly what species this is. The Spiders of Australia website has several identified and unidentified members of the genus. We believe this might be Nephila ornata based on images posted on the Nature Stuff website.
The Brisbane Insect website has nice images of several other members in the genus.
Letter 59 – Golden Silk Spider in Indonesia
Hi there Bugman.
I spotted this 7″ – 8″ spider while I was travelling through Malaysia a couple of years ago. I believe it to be some kind of golden weaver because of the very visible colour of the silk in the photo, which I was told by an Australian guy who knows about spiders. I would love to more about this particular genus of spider as I’ve had no luck in finding matching spider images on the net.
This spider is in the genus Nephila, the Golden Silk Spiders. We believe this is a female Nephila clavata, the Golden Orb Web Spider, which we have identified in Korea and also ranges in China. If not Nephila clavata, it is a closely related species. The silk truly does look golden in your photo.
Letter 60 – Golden Silk Spider from Madagascar
Subject: Nephila madagascarenis
Location: South-East Madagascar
March 1, 2017 4:36 pm
Came across this site while researching, couldn’t help but notice you were missing the Madagascan Golden Orb Weaver. I went to Madagascar last year and I was lucky enough to see a few of these beauties. Nephila is my favourite genus of spider and being from the UK, I don’t have any native to my area, so I was looking forward to seeing this, even more so than the lemurs! Please enjoy this snap, apologies for not so great picture quality.
Thanks so much for providing your image of a Golden Silk Spider in the genus Nephila from Madagascar.
Letter 61 – Golden Silk Spider from Mexico
Subject: Huge spider
Location: Mexico, Guerrerero State
December 2, 2015 2:01 pm
This guy is 4 inches across. Several of them in my friend’s garden making webs 10 feet across.
The Golden Silk Spider or Banana Spider, Nephila clavipes, is not an aggressive spider, nor is it dangerous, but it is capable of biting a human if provoked. This spider is known to have extremely strong webs spun with golden silk. Your individual is a female. The males are considerably smaller than the females and they can often be found living in the web with the female.
Letter 62 – Golden Silk Spider from Singapore
Subject: Nephila from Singapore
Geographic location of the bug: Singapore
Time: 06:22 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: I read about the uncatalogued Nephila spider from Taiwan that was submitted by Dane Harris in 2011. Could you please help me identify a similar-looking spider from Singapore? Thanks
How you want your letter signed: TanHK
We located this image on FlickR, also from Singapore, that identifies a similar looking Golden Silk Spider as Nephila piplipes, but we suspect that is a misspelling of Nephila pilipes as a nearly identical image is posted to Wikimedia Commons. Most images identified as Nephila pilipes, including on iNaturalist, look quite different.
Letter 63 – Golden Silk Spider from Sumatra
Subject: Sumatra Spider
Location: Sumatra, indonesia
March 22, 2016 6:53 am
Saw this spider in Sumatra, any chance anybody can identify it.
This Golden Silk Spider is absolutely gorgeous. She is a member of the diverse genus Nephila that is characterized by having very strong, golden silk that can be woven into a resilient garment. We will attempt to identify her species at a later time.
Update: Your spider might be Nephila pilipes. According to iGoTerra, the species is also called a Giant Wood Spider.
Letter 64 – 1 Million Spiders Make Golden Silk for Rare Cloth
January 16, 2010
We just received this link via email, and though we knew about the strength and beauty of spider silk, we thought our readership might enjoy reading about this textile that is on display.
Letter 65 – Silk Spider from Zambia
While walking on a path overlooking Victoria Falls in Zambia I walked face first into this spider’s web. The web was very strong and an interesting yellow colour. After checking out some of the pictures on your site I am guessing that it is a banana spider. Do we have them over here? Please let me know what it was that almost made me jump over the edge of the falls.
Awesome images. The Banana Spider you saw on our site is Nephila clavipes, the Golden Silk Spider. Your spider definitely looks like a close relative in the same genus.
Letter 66 – Silk Spider, Nephila clavipes
I took this pic at my mother’s house in Mobile, AL, about 2 yrs ago. I was just wondering if you knew what it was. the body was between 1-2 inches and the spider itself would take up most of my hand.
Your spider is an Orb Weaver known as the Silk Spider, Nephila clavipes. It gets its common name from its strong gold silk. It is also called the Banana Spider.