Invertebrate Nephila spp (Golden orb weavers)

Dusty Miller

Alexander Pearce
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Scientific Name: Nephila spp. (not apparent which of the local species. N. pilipes. N. edulis or N. ornata, immature spiders are haredr to identify.)

Common Name: Golden orb weaver.

Other Names: Giant woods spider. Banana spider (generic, Not to be confused with Brazilian wandering spider which also goes by this epithet and is quite deadly

Class: Arachnida

Order: Araneae

Sub-Order: Araneamorphae

Family: Nephilidae (formely in Araneidae, but now given their own family)

Genus: Nephila

Distribution: Nephila occurs worldwide, many species, more discovered every year. As I haven't ID'ed this to species level (it is also immature female, so may have to wait) it is not possible to state a distribution.

Habitat: Open woodlands and eucalypt forest. Anywhere that allows large webs to be constructed. Prefer warmer ares.

Field Notes: Argyrodes spiders are sometimes found stealing food from the webs of Nephila species. Males are very much smaller than females. Females are very large 30- 40 mm, have been recorded over 55 mm. May be eaten (and are in PNG). Bite is likely painful due to size, may cause ulcers for some time). Not especially venomous. Silk is golden and extremewly strong. May be able to catch and hold small birds. Has been recorded eating a finch. Spider may unhoist some lowers parts of the web in high winds. Hatchlings disperse on small parachuites of silk, have been recorded at 30 000 ft, hence a wdie distribution for the genus. Nephila are blind hence I could get close to this very large spider without disturbing it. Nephila are an old design (for Aranaemorphs). Fossils have been found 165 million year old in Mongolia. This fact also probably helps contribute to both their diversity and distribution.

Argyodes spp: http://bushcraftoz.com/forums/showthread.php?2298-Argyodes-antipodianus-(Quicksilver-spider)&p=15003#post15003




Sitting in typical position. Trail of debris is past meals, this is distinctive in Nephila webs.


Underside.


Wrapping a fly it has just caught.


Sucking the juices from the fly after
 
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Hairyman

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The web is so strong that some parts of it may be used to catch small fish.
Watched a mate walk right into one of these years ago, still brings a smile to my face remembering the flailing arms and screaming.
 

Dusty Miller

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Yes, natures kevlar. Awesomely strong with the Nephila species.
 

Dusty

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Scientific Name: Nephila Edulis

Reference: Spiders of Southern Queensland
http://www.findaspider.org.au/index.htm

Photo: by auscraft Location; Gordonbrook Dam, Qld. Jan 2012


DSC_0697.jpg


Found with web during day strung between trees. Large specimen size of hand.

Special thanks to Dusty M for identification and assistance.
 

Dusty Miller

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The male Nephila sits opposite the female on the web.


He is dwarfed by the female. Or as Duece Bigalow would say, "That's a huge b*tch!"
 

Becki

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mamaorb.jpg

mamaweb.jpg

This was one big orb, her web was about 4 metres off the ground and massive, she was there for nearly a whole summer and I haven't seen another one like her since in my area.
Photos taken by Becki @ Moorebank about 2008
 
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Thanks for this post. It really is a fascinating spider and very common.
 

Hairyman

Ludwig Leichhardt
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This female was quit tolerant of the male, letting him walk all over her.
DSCF5845 (640x592).jpg
Eggsac soon?
 
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