During your time in the Gardens this summer you may have noticed two distinct spiders setting up some impressive homes. These spiders would be none other than the Golden Silk Orb-Weaver (Banana spider) and the Argiope (Writing Spider). Each known for their skills at spinning a web these spiders lead the way in spider web design.
The Golden silk orb-weaver gets its name from the beautiful golden threads it spins its web with. The golden color helps the web itself blend in with the surrounding background making it much harder for prey to notice. The species most commonly found in Florida (Nephila clavipes) is sexual dimorphic meaning the female larger than the male sometimes as much as four times the size. Webs from this species of spider can be as long as 4 feet and have a tonsil strength stronger than steel. Although being one of the largest spiders in Florida they are relatively harmless to people. They are only prone to attack if handled roughly and their venom is non threatening to humans.
The other spider you may run into, hopefully not into their web, this summer is the Argiope. The Argiope is in the same family as the Golden silk orb-weaver however spins quite a different web. The most distinguishing feature of the Argiope is the thicker cluster of webbing found in the center of the web usually in the center of the webbing. The reasoning behind the use of this webbing is disputed however, while perched in it’s web it can be found located onto of the thicker webbing. Along with a beautiful design these spiders also take great care of their webbing cleaning often making sure there is no debris in the spindles. The Argiope like it’s relative is also non threatening to human but will bite if threatened or harassed.