Image Credit: Melody and Preston C. from Kure Beach, NC
Image Credit: James B. from Avon Park Lakes, FL
Image Credit: Cy H., Hancock County, MS
The intimidating and multi-colored Golden Silk Orbweaver is not as mean as it looks and is far more docile than its Brazilian counterpart.
The size of this spider can be frightening. While males remain quite small (up to 1/4 inch), females can grow to become 3 inches. They build webs up to 3 feet in diameter and sit, head-down, right in the center of them. This spider does not hide from its prey.
The Golden Silk Orbweaver is a tropical climate spider. It prefers humidity and it found in the Southeastern U.S.. This "Banana Spider" is not the same species as the aggressive Brazilian banana spider. This North American species is not aggressive and considered relatively harmless. It got the nickname 'banana' because of its body shape. The abdomen of this spider is shaped somewhat like a banana and only the 1st, 2nd and 4th pairs of legs have black tufts of hair on them.
They are found in swamps or shady woods, weaving webs that are on a slight incline as opposed to straight up-and-down with the ground like other orb weavers.
Males are often seen on the side of a female's web, or sitting on her. As an orbweaver, this species rebuilds part of its web every day, though Golden Silk Orbweavers may need a few nights to rebuild the entire massive web.
Scientific Name: Nephila clavipes
Other Name(s): Banana Spider, Calico Spider
Size (Adult; Length): 4mm to 25mm (0.16in to 0.98in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Legs: Spiders have four pairs of legs and these are attached to the cephalothorax.
Pedipalps: Small appendages near the mouth used as taste and smell organs.
Cephalothorax: Contains eyes, head, mouthparts, and legs.
Abdomen: Contains various organs related to digestion, reproduction, and web-making.
Spinnerets: Used in the production of spider silk for fashioning webs or catching prey.
NOTE: Unlike insects, spiders have both an endoskeleton (internal) and exoskeleton (external).