Golden silk orb weavers
The Golden Silk Orb Weaver Spider belongs to the genus of Nephila. The word ‘Nephila’ originates from ancient Greek terms meaning ‘fond of spinning’. They are a genus of spiders that are known for their impressive webs. Nephila spiders are the oldest surviving genus of spiders, with fossilised specimen found and known from 165 million years ago. The genus of Nephila has striped legs that are specialised for weaving webs.
The name of the Golden Orb actually refers to the colour of the silk that the species produces and not the colour of the species itself. The yellow threads of their web shine like gold in the sunlight. An adaptation of the species of Golden Orb is making zig-zag patterns in their webs that are made of a stronger, thicker and darker material. They are found in warmer regions of the world, around Australia, Asia, Africa and America.
Golden Orbs are found in woodlands, forests, sand dunes and mangroves. The Australian based Golden Orb has been known, on windy, rainy days, to dismantle the lower part of its web to allow strong wind to flow through, without breaking it as they are known to occasionally catch prey as big as small birds.
The venom of a Golden Orb is causes harm to some animals but is not dangerous towards humans. Its neurotoxic effect is similar to the Black Widow spider but not nearly as dangerous. A bite on a human from a Golden Orb will cause redness, pain and blisters that appear in the first 24 hours. In some humans, a bite from the spider may rarely cause an allergic reaction that triggers respiratory problems in asthmatics. This is because the genus of Nephila possess strong chelicerae.

By Arielle Balyck
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