Golden Silk (Banana) Spiders
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Banana Spider - Golden Silk Spider Photo Gallery

Golden Silk Spiders Nephila clavipes --the harmless Banana Spiders.  Their bite is milder than a bee sting. Do not confuse them with the aggressive brown banana spiders from South America who are VERY DANGEROUS!

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Check out our latest article:
Golden Silk Spiders and Hurricane Warnings this is an html web presentation but you can also download a printable PDF version by clicking here: Golden Silk Spiders and Hurricane Warnings 043007.pdf

Yellow Silk Spiders are beneficial harmless spiders

If you want to discourage them from living in an area, just pull down their webs, (a broom is a good tool for this job) they will usually go away.

Golden silk spiders are very non-aggressive, and in all my years here, I have only heard of 2 people being bitten. They got a welt that went away in a couple of days. They normally do not bite unless you smack them first.  If one lands on you, all they want is "off". 

 


Click the picture for a larger image

Golden Silk (Banana) spiders are the largest non tarantula spiders in North America.  Here in Florida, I have many with bodies the size of my little finger, and leg spans of over 5 inches. They are gentle and tremendously beneficial because of all the insect pests that they eat.   They often share their webs with male yellow silk spiders.

Here is a lady golden silk spider with her lunch. After a light snack, this girl wrapped up this meal for later. No doggy bags here!  They eat almost all kinds of insects, even dragon flies, grass hoppers and locusts.  Their natural enemies are wasps.  I encourage them to build webs above my grain bins and in the rafters of my barn - they are wonderful natural fly traps.

Golden Silk Spiders  are consummate web builders. Their webs have a roundish or "orb" shaped center like a fishnet, and since the silk is bright yellow they are very visible.  Here in Florida, a single banana spider can place a web across a 12 foot wide trail overnight.  The bright yellow web, is usually about 6 - 9 feet above the ground (just in the face of horse and rider) and normally has an area from 8 to 36 square feet. 

The golden silk spider is banana yellow and so are their webs; hence the name, Banana Spider.  Yellow Silk Spiders are "Orb web" weavers, not wanderers. Don't confuse them with the aggressive and dangerous brown Brazilian Wandering Spiders (Phoneutria fera et al) who are also called banana spiders.  These are imported into the US in banana bunches and have a neurotoxin venomous bite like a black widow. 

Lady banana spider with her mate. She is the big one; he is tiny.  The mating rituals of the Golden Silk Spiders are most interesting.  He will court her for days, stroking her body gently from time to time with his legs.  Yellow silk spiders mate face to face upside down.

Often a lady yellow silk spider will have several suitors.  She may allow them to hang out in her web for days if she has plenty of food stored to share.  Lady silk spiders also don't necessarily eat their mates.  I have often observed these spiders living together for the entire Fall season as she grows huge with her eggs.

Yellow silk spiders found in Florida to the Carolinas, the West Indies, Central America and into South America down to Argentina.  There are even larger cousins in the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, and Madagascar, where the natives consider them a food source!

Click on a small image from the strip to download the large version below.

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I am NOT an “expert” on Golden Silk Spiders, I live with them at my farm and enjoy them. The link below is the answer to your question from an “expert” at a university.

bulletA good resource for facts about the golden silk spider:
http://creatures.ifas.ufl.edu/misc/golden_silk_spider.htm
bullet For information on Dangerous Spiders click here!
 

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Last modified: January 26, 2013