These spiders are often found in late summer and fall on large webs spanning openings, such as trails in woods and citrus groves - often quite high - throughout all of Florida. The range extends through the southeastern United States from Texas to North Carolina, the West Indies, Mexico, Central America and South America into Argentina.
Golden-silk spiders are one of the largest spiders in North America, along with Argiope aurantia and Araneus bicentenarius. The adult females range from 24-40mm (1 to 1-2/3 in.) with the males much smaller and usually only noticed hanging out near a female on the web. The large females are distinctive, with a silver carapace and a large dull orange or tan abdomen with light spots. The legs are orange, varying from yellow to brown, with dark hairy bands on the rear and front two pairs of legs.
Captured prey is moved to the hub of the web, which is typically off-center, and wrapped for storage. These spiders will usually only bite if handled, with the bite being painful, but otherwise harmless to humans.
Nephila clavipes is the only member of this genus in the Western Hemisphere. Other Nephilia species can be even larger and are found in the South Pacific, southeast Asia and Madagascar.
Nephila clavipes is a member of the Araneidae - Orb-weavers family.
For more information on this species, visit the following link:
University of Florida IFAS Featured Creatures page for this species
Date record last modified: Dec 22, 2020