Master Weaver

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Nephila on her magnificent wheel-web

Recently my morning routine has involved checking on a Golden Orb spider (Nephila pilipes) which has, after trying several positions around the house, constructed a web under the eaves outside one of our sliding doors.  As it is a door which is rarely used she has not been disturbed by us.  However, during the night her web is vulnerable to collisions by insectivorous bats hunting for insects attracted by our lights.  In the morning she is frequently busy repairing her web and yesterday major repairs were underway as there was very little of the main wheel remaining.

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Although her movements were not fast she didn’t stop until the work was complete. 

The spider uses her tarsi to draw the silk from her spinnerets – it is fascinating to watch the action.  Spiders are able to produce silk in various qualities depending on what part of the web is being constructed or whether it is being used to wrap up some prey. She works deftly with never a moment’s hesitation about where the next section will fit!

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Nephila pilipes drawing silk out of her spinnerets

It is fascinating to watch the web creation process.   Nephila works with such precision and at such a steady pace that by the time I returned to check on her after breakfast it was completed and she was resting in the centre, waiting for her prey.

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Nephila pilipes is found in northern Queensland, Papua New Guinea, Polynesia, Malaysia, Bali and India.  They are completely harmless to humans and would only bite in self-defence if seriously threatened.

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