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The web and predation of the Giant golden orb-weaver spider.

June 22, 2018

Commonly found in forests, with the huge impressive webs hanging between trees, the web is vertical with a fine irregular mesh and not symmetrical, with the hub usually nearer the top. Here a spider repairs her web.

I had often wondered why there was so little detritus and debris in such large webs, and this is because many of the spiders build a new web each day. A lot of the orb-weaver spiders as evening approaches will consume the old web, rest for approximately an hour, then spin a new web near the same location.

 

Araneid webs are constructed in a stereotyped fashion. A framework of nonsticky silk is built up before the spider adds a final spiral of silk covered in sticky droplets. Generally, orb-weaving spiders are three-clawed builders of flat webs with sticky spiral capture silk. The building of a web is an engineering feat, begun when the spider floats a line on the wind to another surface. The spider secures the line and then drops another line from the center, making a "Y". The rest of the scaffolding follows with many radii of nonsticky silk being constructed before a final spiral of sticky capture silk.


Characteristically, the prey insect that blunders into the sticky lines is stunned by a quick bite, and then wrapped in silk, like this grasshopper below, one image following the other. Click the image for a full view.

If the prey is a venomous insect, such as a wasp, wrapping may precede biting and/or stinging. Look at how well this wasp is wrapped below.

 

Nephila pilipes is the local species of the golden orb-web spider. This creatures is also different to other spiders as rather than egg sacks being hung in the web, this spider digs a small pit, which is then covered with plant debris or soil.

 

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