Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wildlife on Wednesday ... Nephila pilipes - Golden Orb Web Spider

It's delightful to be back for another Wildlife on Wednesday post.  Thankfully my computer didn't die ... a lovely surprise!  Anyway ... back to the wildlife.

Just recently we have noticed this rather fabulous spider at our place.  It was my hubbie who first discovered it ... just outside his workshop.  It was hard to miss!!

The size of this creature really took our breath away.  It was enormous ... nearly 20 cms ... and it's web was around a metre across.  Some days later, it had moved up to the courtyard garden ... and I almost walked straight into it's web whilst watering my potted plants. I was intrigued, so I just had to do some research to find out about this marvellous thing.
Nephila pilipes was formerly known as Nephila maculata.  It's a tropical spider and the most striking of three Nephila species found here in Queensland with the distinguishing yellow patches on the joints.  The common name ... Golden Orb Web spider ... apparently comes from the colour of the web displayed in the sunlight.

The photos show the underneath view of the female ... the females are giants compared to the males.  There were two males living on the web with this female and they were hard to spot.  If you look very carefully at the photo above, you might notice one of the males near her back leg on the left hand side of this shot.  It's a little speck of orange!!  I can imagine that mating would be a herculean task!

Now for a short video showing the female dining on it's captured prey.  The fantastic orb web is designed to catch large flying insects ... although small birds and bats can sometimes be caught!  I did try to zoom in on the males that accompanied this female ... but I'm afraid the vision is rather blurry and out of focus when I zoomed in on them.  Hopefully, you will still enjoy the clip.

19 comments:

  1. Hi Bernie
    Fascinating….. but by the time I got to the end of the video clip my feet were off the floor and I was sitting as far back in the chair as I could.

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  2. Great Video Bernie! The kids would love to see this. We studied spiders every October (fit in with Halloween) and the children were fascinated with everything we learned about them.

    Eileen

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  3. Sue ... lol, well I'm glad you got to the end of the clip at least. She really was magnificent to see close-up. She's not harmful ... although I couldn't imagine ever touching her.

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  4. Hi Eileen ... I was hoping this lady would hang around for a while longer so I could show her off to my grandchildren who will be visiting in a week's time for the school holidays. Unfortunately she's already moved home ... and I haven't been able to find her yet.
    Still ... at least I can show my precious ones the video clip. I'll show some of the students with learning difficulties at school as well ... the boys will love it!!! Great reward for working hard on their reading and phonics!

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  5. Hi, Bernie! Fantastic wildlife shots. I'm loving the yellow patches at the leg joints...like knee patches on jeans! :) This spider is definitely huge. Great photos but I'll admit that I skipped the video.

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  6. Kimberly ... you've missed out on great vision of her long, long legs reaching out to grab the poor little parcel of insect prey!! I was just fascinated by the whole thing.
    Love your comment about the 'knee patches on jeans' ... that's exactly what they look like. Trendy lady!

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  7. Bernie that spider has amazing legs. Great viewing on the video too. I hope your spider was full up and that the other little one got to finally escape from that web.

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  8. What an impressive lady she is! I honestly can't get over the the size difference between the males and females in this species. I think the males are lucky not to end up being mistaken for a snack!

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  9. Bernie thanks for that informative post - we often see these in our garden, and I would never have known the male was the tiny little orange spot! Great video!

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  10. hey Bernie, long legs... sexy ;-) Good idea to put a white paper at the back!

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  11. Great video! I love the Nephila genus. It's great to see another version from across the world. We have N. clavipes here in Florida, and the gold-shimmery web is so stunning. I love these beautiful visitors in my garden. That male looks much tinier in comparison than the male of the American cousin.(http://gardeninpeace.blogspot.com/2010/08/into-swamp.html)

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  12. Hello Bernie - glad you are back after your house cleaning! What a big and beautiful spider - I noticed the male moved to a safe distance as she started to feast. Your Grandchildren will be thrilled with this video

    Laura

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  13. I made myself look even though I am an antipodean arachnophobe Bernie! Interesting post and I can even admit that it is a beautiful spider...but it still made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end!

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  14. I love how your pictures show the beauty of this spider. I do enjoy observing spiders, when they do not jump out at me unexpectedly :-)

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  15. okay Bernie...that is a pretty spider...but I think I would need a change of pants if I ever came across one!!! SCARY!

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  16. You're kidding right? Is that real footage or part of a sci-fi film you posted? Seriously amazing video of an amazing spider. Wow.

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  17. I do love a good spider. At first I didn't realize you were holding up the paper to highlight the spider. I thought it was a printout!

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  18. Almost ran straight into a one of their webs today at the Chiang Mai zoo today. Absolutely ENORMOUS spider!

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