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Laura, Lumi and Anda, juvenile Banana Spiders or Golden Silk Spiders (Nephila clavipes)
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Behavior of juvenile Nephila clavipes
Twice I have noticed that when I disturb the web, the web suddenly starts vibrating at perhap 5 - 10 Hz (speculation). The web and Laura then instantaneously stop vibrating. It occured to me that perhaps this is a defensive response - that of creating a blurred image seen by a hunter (or me). When the web is perturbed in a hostile manner (i.e. different from motion induced by wind etc) then the juvenile banana spider ( Naphils clavipes) will start a lateral body oscillation at a very high frequency while keeping her legs firmly attached to the web. In addition, she translates her thorax periodically from left to right - shifting the blurred image.
Click to watch the video (and use your imagination)
Watch the growing up of Laura: May 23, 2004
Here I am - very small, about 1 cm in length and about 1-2 mm in diameter. In fact, I am so small that many curious eyes will not find me - which is particularly good when the curious eyes are attached to a mouth that wants to eat me. Frank finds it impossible to focus on me with his camera, using the manual focus which he has yet to master. As I grow, the focus problem will diminish, but for now, it is a contest - can he master the art of focus before I grow sufficiently large to resolve it with my size?
Watch the growing up of Laura: June 3, 2004
Here she is, a week later - and her spinnerette is much more prominant than before. May 31 on the left, Jun 1 on the right. Her legs are beginning to change to the two-tone yellow/brown pattern seen on adults. Her coloration on the ventral side is similar to before and its impossible to crawl behind her web and observe her dorsal side. Comparing this with the above photo - perhaps you can find more changes.
Laura catching and eating breakfast: June 5, 2004

This morning, Laura had repaired her web and then suddenly a small fly collided with her web. She jumped to attention, rushed over to wrap breakfast in some golden silk (left) and then marched back to her central position for a tasty treat (right). In her mouth is the hapless fly and in the lower right, you can see a wrapped wasp, perhaps curing for dinner?

Laura's sister, Lumi resting in the attack position: June 24, 2004 (Lumi, may in fact be a male and misidentified by me)

Here you see Lumi - in the side and from the top. She has grown to about 5 mm. In the left photo, you can clearly see her web. There is a video of her weaving here.

A new member of the family, it must be Alexandra: July 3, 2004. Laura and Lumi are no longer in their webs. Either they have moved or something has happened. Possibly Alex is also a male: compare with from Wild Flowers and their associates

Note the maybe transparent head - with what inside? Her small brain that directs weaving, web repairs and of course, hunting. Usually, this region is white - so perhaps this is only a developmental phase. We shall wait and watch and see if the coloration changes.

Return to Laura's Story or Visit Laura's Video Display of High Frequency Vibration

Copyright 2004 C. Frank Starmer