The Golden Orb Weaver weaves a web six times the tensile strength of steel, and could potentially be used in creating bulletproof clothing for police or VIPs.
Golden Orb Weavers, also known as giant wood spiders, banana spiders and golden silk orb-weavers, are found in many places throughout the world. The species found in Costa Rica is known as Nephila Clavipes, and can be found throughout North and South America in the coastal regions. Other species in the same family of spider are found in Australia, Asia and Africa.
Golden Orb Weavers inhabit mostly coastal regions, and spin their large golden webs in forests and sparsely forested areas.
Mating & Reproduction
Females are around 3 to 4 times larger than male Golden Orb Weavers. The males enter the females’ webs in order to mate with them. They do this while the female is feeding to avoid being attacked by the female. After being impregnated, the female weaves an egg sac with hundreds of spiders inside.
The young spiderlings look remarkably similar to Orchard Spiders, and the only way the two species are differentiated is by the webs they weave. The young Orchard Spiders weave a more uniformly shaped web than the young Golden Orb Weavers. The Golden Orb Weaver spiderlings are also unable to weave the large golden colored webs of their parents in adolescence.
The Golden Orb Weavers get their name from the color of the web they weave. They weave a golden colored web as a way to disguise the web from prey when the sun is rising or waning, and the colors cast off by the sun’s rays are similar to that of the spider’s silk. Golden Orb Weavers eat insects such as bees, flies, grasshoppers, butterflies and wasps, and even have been known to eat small birds and snakes.
Golden Orb Weavers expel a certain toxin which drives ants away from entering their webs. They are somewhat venomous, but not considered very dangerous to humans in regard to their bite.
The uses of Golden Orb Weaver silk, due to the incredible strength and flexibility of its chemical make-up, have been tested in regards to clothing, weapons defense and surgery. Most attempts at using the silk for making garments on mass scale have been unsuccessful, but some basic individual garments have been rendered from using thousands of spiders.
Locations in Costa Rica: Tortuguero National Park, Palo Verde National Park, Corcovado National Park, Cahuita National Park, Manuel Antonio National Park
Diet: insects, small birds, small snakes
Habitat: coastal tropical forest
Size: females length=4.8-5.1 cm Males length=2.5cm
Species: Nephila Clavipes