Golden Orb-Web Spider - Nephila pilipes
Walking through the Southeast Asian rainforest, you might glimpse this large spider, with its bright yellow markings and its large orb web. The spider sits in this strong web day and night, feeding whenever prey gets caught.
Check me out: My first pair of legs is long—reaching roughly twice the length of my body.
Species range: From northern Australia through Southeast Asia, eastern India and parts of China and Japan.
Habitat: Terrestrial; from rainforest trees to gardens, with webs even attached to buildings at times.
Should you worry? No. This spider is not aggressive and very rarely bites humans. Even if it did, the venom is harmless.
Fun fact: Spiders of the genus Nephila, like the one on display here, are sometimes called “golden orb spiders,” for their giant webs tend to gleam yellow in the sun. Why? Females of some Nephila species use silks containing yellow pigments in their constructions. Because flowers and new leaves are often yellow, some scientists think the color in a web may help attract insects that either pollinate or feed on plants.
See this and other arachnid species in the exhibition, Spiders Alive! open now.