Ultimate Golden Silk Orb Weaver Guide (Banana Spider Facts)

There are four different types of spiders that are referred to as banana spiders.

These are the: 

  • Cupiennius salei spider of Mexico and South America
  • Brazilian wandering spider
  • Argiope appensa, hailing from the islands in the western Pacific
  • Golden silk orb weaver
ultimate golden orb silk weaver guide

Of the four mentioned types of banana spiders, this article will cover the golden silk orb weaver along with its impressive traits and amazing facts that you probably didn't know before.


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What Are Banana Spiders?

Dubbed as the architects of the arachnid world, the banana spiders are best known for their ability to spin sturdy spider webs and produce golden silk coloring. 

Scientifically known as Nephila clavipes and otherwise known as the giant wood spider, golden orb-weaver, and golden silk spider, this gold-spewing arachnid typically thrives in countries with warm climates.

Experts believe that the golden color of their silk has two major functions. One is to attract its prey more efficiently into its sticky trap. The other is to provide a camouflage cover against its adversaries in the food chain. 

Read more: How banana spiders differ from common household spiders

Check out this video by Nat Geo Wild for a detailed look at the golden silk orb weaver and additional interesting facts.

Banana Spider Habitat

This type of banana spider prefers regions with a tropical climate. The arachnid favors humidity and spins its web where there is an abundance of a wide variety of flying insects.

Golden silk orb weavers are often found in dry open forests, swamps, and areas that are densely populated by trees and shrubs which are essential for the spider to secure its web.

Most of the time, webs of banana spiders are built at human eye level. In some cases however, golden orbs can also be seen along tree tops.

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How to Identify a Banana Spider

As clarified earlier, there are four specific types of spiders that share a common name of banana spider. In this article, you will be guided through the process of identifying the golden silk orb weaver.

ultimate golden silk orb weaver guide

Banana Spider Size

Male banana spiders are quite small growing to only about 1/4 of an inch or a little over 6 millimeters.

The female spiders on the other hand are a bit scary in their sheer size. Also known as the giant wood spider, adult female golden silk orb weavers can grow to as much as 2.7 inches in body length (legs not included). 

Banana Spider Color

It's quite easy to identify the banana spider in its habitat. Apart from its giant shining orbs (one meter across) and scary size, golden silk orb weavers have a rather attractive appearance.

The spider is predominantly reddish to greenish yellow in color accented with white patches along its large abdomen. 

Banana spiders, particularly the females, have long legs that can grow to as long as 2-3 inches. These legs have patches of hair (essential for picking up vibrations) in particular segments and come in stripes of yellow and red. 

Banana Spider Webbing

Considering its sheer body size, banana spiders are capable of yielding wide webs that can run up to a meter across. In the forest, the orb's support strands can extend to as much as several more meters.

Banana spiders are also capable of excreting a golden coloring fluid which it uses to strategically coat its complex but sturdy web. When struck by sunlight, the orb a golden yellowish glow which attracts its prey.

The orb is also maintained and renewed by the spider daily or every other day.

ultimate golden silk orb weaver guide

Diet and Feeding Behavior

Just like the most of its orb yielding brothers and sisters, the banana spiders rely mainly on its ability to sense the slightest vibrations in its web to determine if whether or not it's time to feed. 

The spider has patches of black hairs on its 1st, 2nd, and 4th pairs of legs which are essential in picking up vibrations. 

Because of its large web and body size, the banana spider is capable of trapping and consuming a wide spectrum of small to medium sized insects which include grasshoppers, moths, mosquitoes, bees, and butterflies.

Do Banana Spiders Eat Mice?

Their strong and sturdy orbs and sheer body size (female banana spiders) also make them capable of adding small birds, bats, and small snakes into their diet.

However, there are still no known records that indicate the golden silk orb weaver's craving for rodent cuisine. 

Considering the mouse's agility and the concerned spider's feeding behavior, it seems impossible for the two creatures to meet on a dinner table. Yet there are other types of spiders, like the Brazilian wandering spider, which are able to hunt down these common household pests.

Read more: Mouse in the house? Here are 5 ideas to keep mice away

How Do Banana Spiders Get Around?

Golden silk orb weavers are not really fond of moving around too often. In fact, with their webs established, these spiders stay in their nests from day through night waiting for their next meal to come. 

Do They Jump?

Apart from their main orbs, banana spiders also spawn complex networks of barrier threads that provide protection from larger predators. These threads are spun in various directions to cover the spider's flanks.

In the face of imminent danger, the golden silk orb weaver will jump away. But when cornered, these spiders will just stay and stand its ground.

Do They Swim?

Banana spiders don't swim at all. Most of the time, they lie in wait within their orbs for their next meal. Like most spiders, they simply crawl their way among trees in search of more suitable nesting grounds.

Do They Crawl Across Banana Trees?

Golden silk orb weavers have earned the nickname banana spider for two main reasons. One is that their golden silk coloring fluid resembles a shade similar to bananas.

The other reason is that these spiders are also often found nesting between banana trees which are a dominant fruit tree among tropical countries.

However, this isn't always the case. The golden orb weaver spider got its banana spider nickname due to its body shape and color.

Will Banana Spiders Bite You?

Compared to the Brazilian wandering spider, the golden silk orb weaver is a far less venomous spider. A spider bite from this type of spider is not something to worry about since it is not potent enough to be lethal.

But what are the chances that a golden silk orb weaver will bite you? Learn more in the following video.

People who get bitten by golden silk orb weavers will most likely experience a painful sore and blister that will definitely go away after one or two days. 

In some cases however, bites from this specific type of banana spider can cause an allergic reaction to some people. In a scenario where difficulty in breathing takes place, it is important to seek immediate medical attention.

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Banana Spider Reproduction

Adult female banana spiders that have already molted are quite moody. Their male counterparts actually have to do a lot of courting work to get the females into the mood of mating.

Otherwise, female banana spiders will take the males as their next meal rather than their mating partners.

During mating, the males release an ample amount of sperm that will be used accordingly to germinate her eggs. Female banana spiders produce at least two egg sacs at a time that can accommodate up to 3,000 eggs. The egg sacs are secured by a silk platform in places hidden from predators. 

After their final molting stage, female banana spiders have about a month to live while the males can only last for only 2 to 3 weeks. This leaves the young banana spiders to live out on their own and do well in the wild.

Banana Spiders Across the Globe

Golden silk orb weavers prefer warm and humid weather. This preference simply brings them to regions with a tropical climate.

Banana Spiders in the United States

In the US, golden silk orb weavers can be found across the southeastern coastal states of the country. These spiders have also penetrated further inland stretching from North Carolina to Texas.

Are There Banana Spiders in California?

There are 50 species of spiders found in California and the banana spider is not one of them. If you are in the state, you should however watch out for the Western black widow, the desert recluse spider, and the Chilean recluse spider.

Are There Banana Spiders in Michigan?

The banana spider is not present in Michigan. However, the state is home to the cross orb weaver, the black and yellow garden spider, the dark fishing spider, and thirty-three other species.

In Alabama?

The banana spider can be found in Alabama along with the southern black widow and the brown recluse spider.

In Florida?

The golden silk orb weaver is among the largest spiders found in Florida. However, it is only second to the Huntsman spider that can grow up to 6 inches across. Other giant spiders in Florida include the wolf spider and daddy long legs.

In Louisiana?

Louisiana is a southern coastal state that belongs in the subtropical region. It is home to a variety of medium to large spiders including the golden silk orb weaver or the banana spider.

International Banana Spiders

Banana spiders are also scattered in the African and Asian regions. However, records indicate that the highest concentration of this species is found in Australia and Madagascar.

Final Facts About Banana Spiders

Apart from their magnificent webbing skills and colorful physical features, the golden silk orb weaver still has a lot of interesting facts up in its sleeves. 

  • As far as fossil evidences are concerned, this banana spider has been on Earth as early as 165 million years ago, making them the oldest of their kind.
  • The genus name of the spider is Nephila clavipes which means fond of spinning.
  • Silk of these spiders is strong and sturdy enough to be used to produce various textiles.
  • The orb of a banana spider provides a favorable sanctuary to a variety of kleptoparasitic spiders which help maintain the cleanliness of the entire nest by eating trapped smaller insects.

These spiders are a favorable garden and yard companion because of their contribution to eliminating a spectrum of insect pests. So, think twice before ridding your yard or garden of a golden silk orb weaver.

They tend to do more good than harm.

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