Evolving Thoughts

Orb spiders


I love golden orb spiders – they are among the prettiest spiders you will find in Queensland, and the largest [click on the pic for information]. You’ll come across them in the oddest places, too. I once nearly stepped on one on a footpath (sidewalk to non-English speakers) in the business center of Brisbane. I shepherded it to safety, of course.

Now their reputation has taken a hit: just because someone photographed one eating a mid sized bird that got caught in its web. Sure, they can get bigger than your hand, but they aren’t aggressive, and their trick is to spin a really strong web. I know a guy who swears he got knocked off his motorcycle when dirt riding near Alice Springs by an orb web. If a bird gets caught in one of those, it would be a silly spider that didn’t wait for it to get exhausted and wrap it up for dinner. But if you meet one, or hit its web, do not worry. It’s not one of the million nasties that will kill you if you dare to visit Australia. Even we Australians will kill you. Don’t visit. Really. It’s ours I tell you…


  1. #1 Chris Harrison
    October 26, 2008

    As a biology major, I try to suppress my distaste for certain living creatures. I was on the verge of actually liking spiders, but then I saw this, and all that progress was erased.

  2. #2 Joseph Hewitt
    October 26, 2008

    That is gorgeous. Here in Korea, we have some large yellow spiders which are kind of shaped like that. The largest ones I’ve seen have been about as long as the width of my palm. I don’t know what kind of spider they are, unfortunately.

  3. #3 llewelly
    October 26, 2008

    Yeah, those are some beautiful spiders – and it’s been known for decades that they occasionally eat birds. Sad they’re getting a bad rep through incompetent reporters.

  4. #4 Shawna
    October 27, 2008

    I know this is totally irrelevant, but does the spider pictured here have only seven legs or what? And hopefully that will slow the bugger down enough so as to NOT escape the confines of Oz, right??… this all said from the safe distance of Michigan!

  5. #5 scrabcake
    October 27, 2008

    Awwww. I used to have to walk through the park over in New Farm to get to uni, and these things love to build their webs at about face height and camp out right in the middle of them. I think they get some kind of perverse spider joy from perhaps landing in your face. I’m ok with spiders and even interested in them as long as they are not in my hair (literally). So look out!

  6. #6 c.glen
    October 27, 2008

    I’ve read somewhere stories of native peoples north of Australia (can’t recall exactly who) used the webs somehow as simple light weight nets…

  7. #7 andi
    November 27, 2008

    i think?? i have seen one of these spiders in rio de janeiro…at the side of the sugar loaf mountain theres a place called praia vermelha…here there is a place you can walk up the side of a hill…i regularly cycle to the praia and walk up the hill…2 weeks ago i went early and at about 6:30am i saw this spider in a web…and then after a moment taking lots of photos because it was the first interesting spider i had saw here in nearly 3 years…i saw another…slightly larger…and after taking yet more photos i walked back to the praia…and saw a few more but smaller than the original one…im sure its a type of orbweb because of the body shape…it looks like these ones…and the web was so strong when i used a stick to remove a thread of web just to get close enough to take a photo…i stillhave the photos in my camera and will next time i go out there take more photos if i see the spiders again…putting the camera about 10cms away from the underside of this spider made me a little uneasy…but afterwards i was ecstatic…what a find if it was an orbwebspecies…i can send photos to anyone who is interested…

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