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

Golden Silk Spider

Hi Esther,
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.

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