Golden silk spider in exhibit

Golden Silk Spider

Scientific Name

Nephila clavipes

Class

Arachnida

Order

Araneae

Range

Puerto Rico and the southeastern United States through Argentina and Peru

Habitat

Forest areas along trails and clearing edges

Estimated Wild Population

n/a
Golden silk spider in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Not Listed IUCN Conservation Status: Not Listed

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Physical Description

Golden silk spiders are mostly yellow with an elongated abdomen and long, hairy legs that detect web vibrations. Females can grow six times larger than males. These weaver spiders rely on their webs to collect food and water, as well as breed. Females build and relocate their web repeatedly over their lifetime while males travel from web to web in search of a mate. After breeding, females lay silk-wrapped egg cases filled with hundreds of eggs. Spiderlings will feed immediately after hatching by first eating their own egg yolk, and then each other and small insects. Only a handful of spiderlings from each egg case live to maturity.

Interesting Fact 1

Their 'dragline' strand is strong enough to trap small birds, which can ultimately destroy the web by thrashing around. To avoid such damage, they line their web with insect husks, which make their web more visible.

Interesting Fact 2

Males pluck the web and vibrate their abdomen to stimulate mates.

Interesting Fact 3

These arachnids are attracted to vibrations on their web, which are often a sign of a trapped insect trying to break free.

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