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webs and egg sacs
Northern (giant) golden orb weaver
Nephila pilipes (QM) |
formerly Nephila maculata
female: about 40 mm|
male: 5-6 mm
In the centre of a large orb web in green shrubs; the smaller male is often seen on the edge of the web
Unknown; not aggressive and probably harmless to humans but handle with caution
This is perhaps the most colourful of the three Nephila species found in Queensland. Its legs are relatively longer and more slender than for the other two species. Other distinguishing features are the discrete patches of bright yellow on the undersides of many leg joints and the red colour of the palps.
As is probably true for all Nephila species, the male is much smaller than the female and does not look much like it. Its plain brown colouring and erect leg
spines are not characteristics of the female. There is a slightly twisted needle-like appendage projecting back from the bulb at the end of the male palp and this
is another diagnostic feature of Nephila males.
Unlike the other common Australian Nephila species Nephila pilipes is claimed to lay its eggs on the ground in leaf litter rather than binding the fluffy egg mass onto a dry twig well above ground level.
Nephila pilipes is primarily a tropical spider but is occasionally found in rainforest areas of southern Queensland.
Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: Nephila plumipes and Nephila edulis.
Email Ron Atkinson for more information.
Last updated 13 May 2016.