The Find-a-Spider Guide

The Find-a-Spider Guide    The Find-a-Spider Guide    The Find-a-Spider Guide    The Find-a-Spider Guide
Find a spider by...     common name     location       species       family       webs and egg sacs     photos

Golden orb-weaver

Fact Box
Nephila edulis (JS)
formerly Nephilidae
Body length:
female: 23 mm
male: 6 mm
In a large yellow web strung between dead tree branches or onto electricity poles; the males tend to occupy the edge of the female's web
Not aggressive (the spider normally runs to the top of the web when alarmed) and not considered very toxic but potentially able to cause necrotising arachnidism, though this almost never occurs
Nephila edulis
Click to enlarge
Female, close up
Click to enlarge
Male and female
Click to enlarge
Male, close up
Click to enlarge
Egg mass

This species exhibits striking sexual dimorphism, the small male often waiting on the periphery of the web. An important characteristic of the female is the present of black brushes along the legs.

The web is remarkably strong and has a characteristic yellow colour as does the fluffy egg sac which tends to be left in the tree the spider was using for support. Nephila webs normally contain a string of debris masses which are the remains of insects the spider has eaten. The tendency to produce such a string is rare among orb weaver species so this is a useful identification feature.

In many parts of south-east Queensland this species is present in very large numbers, especially throughout the warmer months of the year. It is common for a single dead tree to have as many as 30 individual golden orb-weaver webs attached to it.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: Nephila plumipes and Nephila pilipes

Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 13 May 2016.