Nephila clavipes Photo Fiona Sunquist ©
This is a very large, easily to recognize spider. Female golden silk spiders are one of the largest non-tarantula-like spiders in North America. The male – in the background of the photo - is small and drab colored.
The head and thorax of the golden silk spider are marked with dark spots on either side, and the abdomen is marked with white spots. There are orange and black bands on the legs and tufts of black hairs on the first and last pairs of legs. Golden silk spiders spin very large webs, usually 2-4 feet across and sometimes larger. The web is woven with different types of thread and support lines, and is placed to take advantage of insect flight paths. The web is a semi-permanent structure, not taken down and rebuilt every night like many spider webs, but repaired as needed. Some webs have bands of zigzag silk woven into them.
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