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Golden Silk Spider

Golden Silk Spider

Golden Silk Spider Fact Sheet

  • Latin Name

    Nephila clavipes
  • Class

    Arachnids
  • Order

    Araneae
  • Range

    Found in the southeast United States through Argentina and Peru, but are most common in Puerto Rico.

  • Status

    Golden silk spiders are considered a Species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

  • Habitat

    These spiders live in forest areas along trails and clearing edges. They prefer areas with high humidity and relatively open space.

  • Niche

    Golden silk spiders, much like other species of orb weaver spiders, rely on their webs. They use it as a home, to collect food and water, and to breed. Their webs have many different strands. The spider's prey accidentally lands on the stickier strands. The vibrations caused by the impact, as well as the insect's attempts to break free, then lead the spider to its meal.

    The web also collects rainwater and morning dew, providing a water source for the spider. Males even travel between webs to find an appropriate female to mate.

    The spider's 'dragline' strand is so strong that it can trap small birds, which then destroy the web by thrashing around. To avoid such damage, the spiders leave a line of insect husks on their web, similar to stickers on glass doors.

  • Life History

    On the web, mature males position themselves approximately 5 centimeters above the female to guard her from predators. Females are only sexually receptive for about two days. Males use a particular plucking of the web and abdomen vibration to stimulate the female, as well as prevent them from becoming prey. Females relocate their web and change partners multiple times throughout their lives while males continue traveling between their webs in search of another mate.

    Egg cases, filled with hundreds of eggs, are wrapped in silk and deposited away from the main web in a more protected area. Spiderlings will begin to feed immediately after hatching. First, they eat their own egg yolk. Then, they eat each other and small insects. Only 10-20 spiderlings from each egg case live to maturity.

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