Orbweaver from Rwanda

We live in Rwanda and saw this on a walk in Kibuye. Is it a golden orb weaver? It was BIG!
Location: Kibuye, along Lake Kivu, Rwanda
October 26, 2010 4:57 am
We saw this yellow and black orb weaver on a walk near Lake Kivu in Rwanda. It’s abdomen was about the size of a small chicken egg. The silk on the web was golden coloured. The whole spider and legs would have nicely spanned an opened hand. It was beautiful. Our kids were fascinated (as were we!) I wish we could have gotten better scale for you. The web was between two hedges, about 5 feet off the ground. The spider was eating something at the time, so we enjoyed observing for a while. Sorry about the dark and blurry photos. We’ve tried searching online, but haven’t quite found much like it! We’d appreciate your help!
Signature: The Jelsma family in Rwanda


Dear Jelsma family,
Based on the color of the silk and the size of the spider, we suspect this Orbweaver is one of the Golden Silk Spiders in the genus
Nephila, but its coloration and markings are unfamiliar to us.  We will attempt a proper identification, but we will post the image and letter first in the event our readership is able to provide any clues.

Thanks so much for your quick reply! What a beautiful spider!
I took some video of it, with my hand as near as I felt gutsy enough to put it! (With the kids in the background saying: “No, mom, No mom…NOOooo…” Just to show some scale. It is one of the largest spiders we’ve seen here, as well as one of the most beautiful!
Thanks Daniel!
Jocelyn Jelsma

2 thoughts on “Orbweaver from Rwanda”

  1. A complete guess here… possibly a juvenile or sub-adult form of Nephila fenestrata (commonly known as the Black Legged Nephila).

  2. This is Nephila turneri, the eastern morph with uniformly black legs. This species occurs in equatorial West and Central Africa and also in Uganda. Interesting to see a specimen from another African state. Nephila spiders are not dangerous to humans.


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