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Golden orb weaving spiders are large arachnids. They get their name from the golden silk they use to weave their large, orb (circular) shaped webs up to 1 m in diameter.
Their scientific name is Nephila plumipes.
Female and male spiders look different.
Female golden orb weaving spiders are large with a grey to brown coloured abdomen, and long brown-black legs, often with yellow stripes. Their abdomens can grow up to 4 cm long.
Males on the other hand are tiny, reddish-brown coloured spiders with an abdomen size of up to 6 mm long.
Golden orb weaving spiders are found all over Australia in open forests and shrubland. They can also be found in dense vegetation and near small waterways. Their webs are often found between bushes and trees.
Golden orb weaving spiders eat other invertebrates such as flies, beetles, locusts, wood moths and cicadas. Their webs are also strong enough to catch small birds and bats, the spider may also wrap these up and eat them too.
Birds and parasitic wasps are the main predators of golden orb weaving spiders. The wasps land on the web and entice the spider to the edge by pretending to be an insect caught in the web. They then paralyse the spider to take and keep it in their nest to feed their young.
Golden orb weaving spiders are opportunistic feeders. They weave a large web, using their extremely strong silk, up to 1 m in diameter and wait for their prey to get stuck to it.
Golden orb weaving spiders will also construct a “barrier network” of silk threads on one or both sides of their web to protect them from bird attacks. They will also vibrate their webs to distract potential predators.
A number of tiny males may live at the edges of a female’s web, waiting for a mating opportunity. A male will move carefully towards the female on the web. If the female acts aggressively he will move away again, however if she doesn’t then mating will begin.
The female will wrap her egg sack in silk and then hide on a tree away from the web, disguised in a curled leaf or bunch of twigs.
The Invertebrate Explorer digital book explores the incredible world of Australian invertebrates.
Students can use the book to investigate classification, features, adaptations and habitats of a variety of Australian invertebrates through narrated videos, stunning images, interactive activities and detailed text.
This book was designed by teachers to support the NSW Science and Technology K-6 Syllabus and NSW English K-6 Syllabus.
Content supports living world, Australian animals and class studies on invertebrates.
Field of Mars Reserve
East Ryde NSW 2112
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We’d like to acknowledge the Wallumedegal Peoples of the Darug Nation, the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we stand and pay our respects to Elders past and present.
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