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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Golden Web Spiders

Family Nephilidae

This is a family in the superfamily Araneoidea. It used to be grouped under family Tetragnathidae[1].

This family contains the familiar Golden Web Spiders (Nephila sp.), the females of which are some of the largest spiders in Singapore. There are two Nephila species in Singapore - the Golden Web Spider (N. pilipes) and Batik Golden Web Spider (N. antipodiana). Golden Web Spiders are also known as Golden Orb-web Spiders, Golden Silk Spider, etc. The word 'golden' comes from the perceived colour of the large web they spin. They are common in forested areas, as well as in parks and gardens.Argyrodes spiders live kleptoparasitically with the Golden Web Spiders and can be distinguished from the small Nephila male by the triangular abdomen.

The family also contains two other species in Singapore - Ornamental Tree-trunk Spider and Malabar Spider.

Ornamental Tree-trunk Spider Herennia ornatissima
Batik Golden Web Spider Nephila antipodiana
Golden Web Spider Nephila pilipes
Malabar Spider Nephilengys malabarensis

Golden Web Spider (Nephila pilipes)

This is a large spider more than 3 cm in body length. It was also known as N. maculata. The male, however, is much smaller and is red in colour.


Left: Turut Track ©Steven Chong. Right: Pasir Ris Park ©Melvin Dionio


Mandai. Left: Black morph. Right: typical morph ©Tan KH


Admiralty Park ©Tan KH


Sungei Buloh ©Sylvia Chua


Pasir Ris Park ©Tan KH

Batik Golden Web Spider (Nephila antipodiana)

This is a large spider about 3 cm in body length. It is smaller than the typical Golden Web Spider. It is named for the batik pattern on its abdomen and it is  recognisable by the rows of yellow spots on its abdomen. The male, however, is much smaller and is red in colour.


Female with its tiny mate and her molted exoskeleton. The red triangular spider is Argyrodes flavescens. Botanic Gardens ©Tan KH

Reference
[1] http://tolweb.org/Tetragnathidae/2799

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