Scientific Facts
Web building

Orb Web Weavers


Golden Orb-Weaver 1
Golden Orb-Weaver 2 
Diamond Comb-footed
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Golden Orb-Weaver 1 - Nephila plumipes


This page contains pictures and information of Golden Orb Web Spiders that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
Female body length 20mm, male 5mm
This Golden Orb Web Spider is the largest spider species that found in Brisbane. They are common in bushes and gardens. They build very large and strong yellow silk orb web. Their web is vertical or slightly inclined, usually high above the ground. 
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Their web is usually one to three meters about ground.  The web could be larger than two meters in diameter. When the spider senses any danger, it rushes to the top of the web, 

Adult Female 

The Golden Orb Web Spider is diurnal spider. The web is permanence, usually repair instead of rebuild. The spider wait at the middle of the web from day and night. 
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The adult female spiders are brown to dark brown in colour. They have long legs, black with yellow joints. Their first, second and fourth pairs of legs have a brush of bristles on the tibia. The third pair of legs are the shortest and no brush. The abdomen is long oval shaped and is brown with grey or yellow patterns. Their head is covered with silvery hairs. Their fangs are large and strong. 

Young female 

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Young females have the simular male patterns on abdomen. Those patterns fade away when the female grow up.
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Those female spiders are mature enough to mate, sometimes males can be found on the web. The relatively slim abdomen indicates that eggs are not yet developed inside their body.  


Males are much smaller than female. They are usually seen on the web of adult females. 
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The females are one of the largest web spiders in Australia while the males are only about 1/5 of the female size. 
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On early summer, we sometimes saw the male wandering around looking for female.

The Golden Web 

The golden silk web are very strong. The spiders build large size web over one meter in diameter and usually one to a few meters above ground. They target to capture large flying insects which includes butteries, moths, cicadas and beetle. 
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Their web is often strengthened by supporting silk on either side. Those supporting lines are also used to hang the consumed corpses of the spider. Under the sun their webs are golden in colour.
Check this page for how spiders learn to build web.

Prey Capture 

Unlike the spiders in Araneidae family which first wrap their prey in silk after capture and then bites it, Golden Orb Web spider bites the prey first and then wrap with silk. 
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The spider in above pictures captured a cicada (Tamasa tristigma and a beetle (Diaphonia dorsalis).
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Male and female sharing the prey - honey bee


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Golden Orb Web Spider makes egg-sac with golden silk hided in near by leaves or twists during early winter.

1. Wildlife of Greater Brisbane - Queensland Museum 1995, p29.
2. Coastal golden orb-weaver - The Find-a-spider Guide for the Spiders of Southern Queensland, Dr Ron Atkinson, 2009.
3. A Guide to Australian Spiders - Densey Clyne, Melbourne, Nelson 1969, p69.
4. Australian Spiders in colour - Ramon Mascord, Reed Books Pty Ltd, 1970, p72 (Nephila ornata).

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Last updated: December 01, 2009.