The Golden Silk Orb-Weaver

This is the largest spider that I’ve seen in a long while. It is the Golden Silk Orb-weaver (Nephila clavipes). I found it just outside my bedroom window. It is a female spider as they usually grow to a size of 3 inches, while the males grow to only ¼ inch.

The web consist of yellow threads that shine like gold in sunlight. It is the largest and strongest spider web known – running up to 6m high and 2m wide (approx. 20ft high and 7ft wide) and lasting for several years.  The silk of this spider web is so strong, it can trap small birds. Argyra Orchard SpiderI understand that the Golden Silk Orb-weaver is not aggressive and will only bite when you pinch it. Its venom is harmless to humans, but will cause redness, slight pain and blisters. It may also trigger an allergic reaction in Asthmatics.

I also read that the silk web of this spider has been used to make fishing lures, traps and nets; and it is being considered to assist surgeons join severed neurons (nerve cells).

Amazingly, the web of this Golden Silk Orb-weaver has also been used to make cloth and an embroidered cape.  View more details of this cape on the website of the Victoria and Albert Museum in the United Kingdom @ http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/g/golden-spider-silk/

 

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