Golden Orb Weaver

This iconic spider grabs everyone's attention. Mostly due to it's size, but also because of the beauty of it's golden web [hence the common name]. The theory, according to those who research such things, seems to be that the golden colour of the web acts as an attractant to their prey.

However, like almost everything that is 'known' about the natural world, no one is really certain; it may just be a chemical reaction with the air when spun. Great theory though.

Golden Orb Weavers are a relatively common sight for most people who live in or visit the Central to East Coast of Australia - with their size and concomitantly large web, they are a little hard to miss.

Nephila spp.

Their reputation has been enhanced somewhat by the publishing of pics in the media of these spiders eating birds, although it should be noted that the birds, (Yellow Bellied or Allied Sunbird) in question are around the size of the major thumb muscle of an adult man ... context is important eh?.

Argyrodes sp

This incredible little spider [above] actually lives on it's own little web spun interlaced with it's rather foreboding nest-mates. They are scavengers and actively steal a meal from between the jaws of the much larger Orb weaver.

The image below shows the orb at about 50% grown - note the male upper left.

The Orb weaver may in total be larger than the complete and whole spread of an adult mans hand - you really have to ask yourself if there aren't less terrifying ways of getting a feed?!

There is some ambiguity as to the toxicity of a Golden Orb Weavers bite. To insects [and obviously other small animals that it ensnares], it's lethal. To people the jury is still out. Some people have little or no symptoms [except suddenly being able to breakdance when they walk into it's web], for others a bite may require treatment.

The general consensus seems to be that these extremely beautiful spiders are reluctant to bite and pose little threat to people, so don't squash em okay?.

Orb Weaver Fact
The Orb Weaver often unwittingly shares it's web with scavenging spiders [Argyrodes spp] and the male of the Orb Weaver [see pic] is tiny in comparison to his mate.