Golden silk spider in exhibit

Golden Silk Spider

Scientific Name

Nephila

Geographic Range

North and South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East

Diet

Insects and other small prey
Golden silk spider in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN IUCN Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN

About This Animal

Nephila spiders are a group of spiders that includes some of the largest web-weaving spiders in the world. Golden silk spiders, also known as golden orb weavers, are black and yellowish-orange in color and named after the color of the silk they spin.

Females are much larger than males and can have body lengths of 2 inches and leg lengths of 6 inches. The females build orb webs with a circular structure that they live on. Males generally live on the webs of juvenile females.

Golden silk spiders mate in the late summer. Females then lay egg sacs attached to leaves, which they tie to twigs. Young spiders, or spiderlings, remain in the sac throughout the winter, emerging in the spring when warm weather or rainy seasons arrive. They stay together for about a week and disperse after that. They grow through molting—shedding their external skeletons.

There are 14 Nephila spider species on the IUCN Red List, and all are listed as being of Least Concern. However, some species do have decreasing populations due to habitat loss by deforestation.

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