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Critter Corner

 

Golden-silk Spider
© Brian Kenney

 

Golden-Silk Spider

Family: Araneidae, Orb Weavers Description Male 1/8" (4 mm), female 7/8-1" (22-25 mm). Female's cephalothorax pale gray with 3 black spots on each side; legs dark with brownish bands and conspicuous tufts of black hair on 1st and last pairs of legs. Female's abdomen brownish green, spotted with white in irregular pattern. Male's body color drabber; legs also have tufts of black hair. In both sexes abdomen is 2 1/2-3 times as long as it is broad.

Food: Flying insects.

Web Strong, slightly inclined orb with notchlike support lines. Web may measure 2-3' (1 m) across.

Life Cycle Female attaches elongated egg mass to undersurface of leaf and then rests nearby. Spiderlings disperse, each to make web elsewhere. At first, they build only 2/3 of a web, leaving the top somewhat irregular across from principal support line.

Habitat: Shaded woodlands and swamps.

Range: Southeastern United States. (Very abundant in woodlands and home gardens in and around Mobile)

Discussion: During the day the spider hangs head downward from the underside of the web near the meshlike center or hub. The spider repairs the webbing each day, replacing half but never the whole web at one time.

(Information and photo courtesy of enature.com)