Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Golden Orb-Web Spider of Costa Rica

Golden Orb Spider

While visiting Jaco, Costa Rica, I got to watch a golden orb-web spider spin it’s delicate, silken web and another spider eat its juicy meal. This particular species above is Nephila clavipes (nickname banana spider). They colonize Central and South America. Their range in the United States is in the Coastal Southwest and then inland from North Carolina to Texas.

These large spiders do not wander from their webs to chase after food, but let the food fly to them. The spider above was consuming a meal while I watched it and then accidentally dropped the food! It was funny to watch the spider chase after its lost meal in frustration. It did manage to catch the food, but then dropped it again loosing it for good.

The female of this species has a body size of about two to three inches. This does not include the legs! The male is much smaller than the female, which you will see at the end of the video, I created below.

spider 2 body

This is another Golden orb-web spider I saw in Costa Rica. It was not quite as large as the first spider above, but it was just as brightly decorated. Its body was colored with orange, yellow, and black, which were arranged in a unique pattern. Amazingly, these two spiders were the only spiders I saw while in Costa Rica. Spiders must hide well because I was expecting to see some giant tarantulas!

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