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Irina, a Golden Silk Spider (Nephila clavipes) and friend, Slava
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Name: Irina and boy friend, Slava
Species: Golden Silk Spider (Banana or Calico) Spider (Nephila clavipes) Nephila clavipes
Kingdom:Metazoa (multicellular animals)
Phylum:Arthopoda (arthropods)
Class:Arachnida (spiders, harvestmen, scorpions, mites)
Order:Araneae (spiders)
Family:Tetragnathidae (long jawed orbweavers)
Genus: Nephila
Range: Southeastern United States, Central America, Northern South America
Color: Yellow, Orange and Brown (female); Dark Brown (male)
Size: 24 mm to 40 mm in length (female)
Commonly Found During: Late Summer to Early Fall
Prey: Small to Medium-Sized Flying Insects (flies, bees, wasps, moths)
Defense Mechanism: Bite (non-poisonous; will only bite if provoked)
Reference: Florida Nature

Nephila clavipes: July 2004

After my adventure last year with Natasha (Nephila clavipes, banana spider, golden silk spider) in our garden, a number of my colleagues became infected with a new sort of spider curiosity. It seems that we are finding orb weaving spiders everywhere we look. This year several folks near my neighborhood found golden silk spiders in their yard and invited me for a look and photos. First (July 2003) there was Sandy who found that her back yard was becoming a sort of hang out for golden silk spiders. Then John (July, August 2003) found some very interesting social arrangements in his back yard, a beautiful (and large) female with 3 male admirers. More recently (Oct 2003), a wonderful golden silk spider appeared on the side of the Cannonboro Inn. So I went to make some photos. To my amazement, at Sandy's there were several couples - male and female. What was interesting what that in every case (3), the male was oriented perpendicular to the female, as if not quite sure whether he could turn his back or not. In one case, we saw the remains of a dinner spider. Similarly, at John's the male's are all located above and more or less perpendicular to the female. Here are the preliminary images. From Sandy's the lady is Irina and her boy friend is Slava, and from John's I found Natalia and her male friends, Vadim, Vladimir and Vasili.

Couples of Nephila clavipes (or more)

Here is the ensemble (a trio) of Natalia, and her three boy friends, Vadim, Vladimir and Vasili, as seen in John's bamboo patch, demonstrating the overall orientation of male(s) and the female. Only two males (Vadim and Vladimir) are shown here. This photos were made in very low light at 6pm, in John's bamboo patch. The exposure was 1 sec at f 5.6 to get enough depth of field to see both Natalia and one of the males (Vladimir). The camera (Nikon 5700) was mounted on a tripod and I used a 3 sec exposure delay to avoid vibration. Only the afternoon breeze was working against me.

Shown below are two males, oriented both above and perpendicular to the much larger female. Click on an image for the full presentation

Visit the photos of me and my boy friends --->

Sandy has a remarkable collection of spiders that thrive in her yard. Click to visit Argiope Aurantia

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