Nephila edulisCommon Name: Orb Weaving Spider
Distribution: Occurs in temperate and tropical regions.
Description: Females’ body length up to 40 millimetres long, males to 7 millimetres. The web has a golden appearance in sunlight.
Notes: These spiders have been seen from September, through summer, to the following April.
Only the female spider builds a web. Unlike a lot of spiders, the web is not dismantled but repaired when damaged. The males can often be found on the outer edges of the web. They are small and can be mistaken for baby spiders.
Nephila webs normally contain a string of debris masses which are the remains of insects the spider has eaten. The tendency to produce such a string is rare among orb weaver species so this is a useful identification feature.
The web is very strong and has been known to trap small birds.
Kleptoparasites like Argyrodes antipodianus, Dewdrop Spider, can also occupy the web.
References: Spider Watch, a Guide to Australian Spiders. Bert Brunet. 2000
The Find-a-spider Guide for the Spiders of Southern Queensland, http://www.findaspider.org.au/find/spiders/116.htm.