The Giant Golden Orb Weaver, ( Nephila Inaurata )
The Nephila spiders contain some of the largest species of true spiders in the world. These large orbweavers produce the strongest silk and make the largest Orb webs, some webs reaching seven foot in diameter.
Nephila Inaurata is a large species from Africa which I am breeding at the moment, an amazing thing about the Nephilas is the size of the male in comparison to the giant female. The female can have a legspan of six to seven inches where as the males leg span is rarely over one inch with the female being almost one hundred times his weight. The reason for this is to give him a chance at mating with the hungry female. The male is below the usual accepted prey size that the female catches in her huge web which gives him a chance to get closer while she is usually eating some unfortunate insect.
Two years ago I was lucky enough to see the Giant Nephila Madagascarensis species which have virtually taken over the island of Mahe in the Seychelles. Some of the huge webs contained small bats and birds that had been caught in the strong silk. These are not webs to walk into as the female staysin the centre of the web at all times prior to laying her egg-sac and she has a good set of fangs on her.