Today I have a Golden orb spider...they are prolific at this time of the year at the lodge. They are large with shiny legs with yellow joints. The female is 20 cm across from toe to toe, the males are small and brown at 5 cm. They are not the largest spider but makes the largest and strongest web. it gets its name from the golden colour of the web. These golden threads shine in the sunlight and attract bees.
Designed to catch large flying insects, the web is slightly angled. The silk is so strong that it can trap small birds which it doesnt eat. These trapped birds can destroy the web by thrashing around. So to avoid such damage they often line the web with husks of insects. They also spin a thick stabelimentum in the middle of the web to strengthen it and make it visible to birds. The silk is almost as strong as kevlar.
The Golden orb spider's venom is generally harmless to humans and rarely bite.
Golden orb spiders are top predators in the insect world.... the more she eats the larger she gets which inevitably results in her having to shed her exoskeleton. This means she moults periodically to grow. The male is tiny enough to live on the females web stealing her food, often without her even noticing him.
When the time comes to breed the small size of the male makes it a daunting task for him...(some are 1,000 times smaller than the female) the male knows that to father young he has to mate with a cannibal.....yes guys she eats him when he runs out of uses....
To avoid going from dishy to dinner, he presents her with a silk wrapped food parcel and mates with her while she is preoccupied with eating it.... Sometimes mating can take up to 15 hours. A heart shaped egg sack is laid in the sand and consists up to 9000 eggs with only a 2% survival rate to maturity.
V2 another view...
V3 a view of the nest and the male above her on the web. You can see the thicker section in the middle of the nest as well as bits of twig and husks she has spread around to make it visible for birds.
These are not the sharpest images as I was far from the web and hand holding the camera in the vehicle.
Have a nice day....I am allowed to fetch Rob and bring him home today