- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Class: Arachnida
- Order: Araneae
- Suborder: Araneomorphae
- Family: Araneidae
- Genus: Nephila
- Species: Nephila clavipes
Common Name (AAS)
Golden Silk Orb-weaver
Other Common Names
Golden Orb-weaver, Calico Spider, Golden Silk Spider, Banana Spider
Carl Linnaeus, 1767
Disclaimer: The following table provides a quick overview of the spider's basic attributes. The physical traits are greatly generalized in order to aid in the identification and sorting of spider species using our search feature. This information is not exhaustive, and keep in mind that traits such as color, markings, and overall size and shape can vary widely within a species due to variables such as the spider's age, gender, diet, hydration level, climate, and habitat. Though experienced arachnologists and hobbyists can often classify spiders rather accurately based on their unique markings and general appearance, it's important to know that scientifically accurate spider identification relies on detailed taxonomic keys and microscopic examinations of a spider's reproductive organs.
- The subfamily this species belongs to, Nephilinae Simon, 1894, was recently restored and transferred back to the family Araneidae from Nephilidae by Dimitrov et al., 2016. The nephilines have also been placed in the family Tetragnathidae in the past.
- The silk of this species is a noticeable golden-yellow color, which is where the common name comes from.
- Three of the four legs have a noticeable “brush” or tuft of black hairs on them. The 3rd leg pair is thinner and shorter than the rest, and does not have the black brushes.
- The web of a female may have multiple small males temporarily living in it. The males are tiny in comparison to her, and mostly black and brown in coloration.
- The giant, orb-shaped web may have a few barrier webs built next to it.
- Unlike many other types of orb-weaving spiders which take down and rebuild their web each day or night, this species only repairs its web as-needed.
- One of the largest orb-weaving spiders in North America.
- Watch for the “Joro Spider” (Nephila clavata) in the state of Georgia: it could potentially be mistaken for this species as it has the same general body shape, but it’s different in coloration and pattern and does not have the brushes of black hairs on its legs. It has been recently introduced to northeast Georgia from East Asia and it appears to have become established.
- Small, silver spiders in the genus Argyrodes (family Theridiidae) may be present in the web of this spider; they are kleptoparasitic, living off of stolen prey items from this orbweaver’s web.