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My front porch is infested with gigantic 'Golden Orb-Weavers'. LOTS of pictures!

Discussion in 'True Spiders & Other Arachnids' started by postal, Mar 23, 2006.

  1. postal

    postal Arachnopeon

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    I had originally posted this elsewhere, when suddenly someone pointed me in the direction of this forum. Well, I figured this as best a place as any that I could post this. :D Enjoy!

    Once upon a time, I had this huge, 'Golden Orb-Weaver' spider, AKA, Banana spider (right?), that came onto my front porch once, attracted by the lights. I figured it might be fun to feed her. So, using left over wax-worms, which I would have used to feed my turtle, I would throw them into the web, and watch as they got ripped to shreds. It was lots of fun, so, I would do it every chance I got. The spider must have reall enjoyed it, because by the time winter came and she finally died, she had laid 5 egg sacs on my front porch. I had no idea what I was getting my self into. The eggs hatched, and little clusters of spiders, so tightly packed together that it looks like a black cloud, appeared and hung around for a month or two. Eventually, they were gone, and I figured that was that. Then suddenly, as summer approached, all the surviving spiders, about 15, came back, almost fully grown, and began picking spots on my front porch and setting up webs. So, I went to petsmart and stocked up on a mother load of wax-worms, and whenever I could, I'd also catch some big grasshopers and moths, and throw them into their webs. Then, something hilarious/awesome happened. I have a set of stairs, that go up to my front porch. One of the spiders, made a web, about 5 feet high, and 6 feet wide, completely closing off my front porch stairs. Man, I had some fun, watching the piza delivery guy, or Fed-ex woman appear, clearly in a daze, walk up the steps and suddenly look up, with an expression of sheer horror. After awhile my mom just took a rope and closed off the front porch, with a sign saying "Front porch wet, use side steps". The front stairs weren't completely useless, though. You could just duck down real low, and slowly crawl under it. Ha, had a lot of fun making a few girls from my school go under it, then shouting "LOOK OUT!" {D . What do they do, you ask, during night/day? Well, at night they hunt, in the day, they re-build there webs. Watching one rebuild it's web, is truly... hypnotic. It just goes round and round and round. It's so entertaining to watch. I wish I had a video camera. :( I so would have recorded it. Why do they have to rebuild there web? Because when an insect crashes into the web, they cut out a 'hole' in the webbing around the insect, then move the insect to the center. The hole has to be rebuilt. Also, they do this in order to get rid of leaves, fuzz, feathers, and anything else that might get stuck in the web, thus limiting the 'sticky-ness' of it.Here's some pictures of the spider that made the web going across my front porch:

    Here it is making the web:

    [​IMG]

    I took this one a few second later. I had my hand behind it, to insure the camera would focus on it. Right as I took the picture, the spider stopped and turned around in mid-air. The result was this awesome picture:

    [​IMG]

    Here's one of it on the side of the front porch stairs:

    [​IMG]

    And here it is eating a wax-worm I threw into it's web:

    [​IMG]

    And now, some pictures of the web:

    [​IMG]

    Here it is a little bit closer:

    [​IMG]

    People that almost ran into it: Fed-ex woman, 3 pizza delivery guys, 2 girls from my school, and a few girl scouts. {D

    One time, a gigantic cicada flew into the web, and the spider killed it. I came back about 15 minutes later with my camera, and took some pictures. It had chewed off the head, and hollowed it out, somehow, and was now procedding to go around the outer edges of where it's head use to be, chewing away at it, kinda like a typewriter. I was close enough when I took this picture, that I could hear it chewing. It sounded like someone stuffing their mouth with potato chips, and then chewing on them, loudly. Here's the picture for this:

    [​IMG]

    This one shows a female spider, a male spider, and a decapitated katydid. Check it out, and notice just how much smaller the male is, when compared to the female! :eek: :

    [​IMG]

    Well, winter came, and they all died out.
    I still can't believe this, it was so funny, and really un-expected: One of the spiders got in a fight with another one for more territory. I'm not sure if it won or not, most likely didn't, because it lost two legs. Well, when natural selection started kicking in, and predators and cold came in, guess who was the last spider standing? That's right, the 6 legged one. I couldn't believe it. It survived for a few monthes after all the others died, before the cold finally got to it. What a fighter :(. All together, they laid about 20+ egg sacs. They'd hatch every now and then, and after a sh#t-load of hatchings, I figured they were all done. Well, recently, they have started hatching again, after a few monthes of inactivity. Here's some pictures I just took yesterday morning:

    Egg sac. As you can see, this is why they are called the 'Golden Orb Weaver':

    [​IMG]

    Egg sac with hatchlings:

    [​IMG]



    Hatchlings, with SHEDDED SKINS scattered around them:




    http://rapidshare.de/files/16159728/P1000124.JPG.html



    And lastly, a super close-up of a cluster of spiderlings:




    http://rapidshare.de/files/16913417/P1000133.JPG.html



    It's a huge picture, and I didn't want to resize it, because you need it to be big so you can see all the little shedded skins clearly.


    And that's where I am now. I'll update this once the spiders start returning again. God, there is no telling how many there are gonna be this time.

    So, whaddya think? Awesome? Or am I in way over my head? :D
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2006
  2. crawldad

    crawldad Arachnoknight Old Timer

    Awsome Thread!!

    There is absolutly nothing wrong with you! You have the same fasination as we all do here, WELCOME! I would love to have a few of those if you ever intend to sendsome out. Where abouts are you from, as that spider is not found here that I know of. Again, excellent job, and welcome!
     
  3. Since I was 5

    Since I was 5 Arachnosquire

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    Thats what you gotta dfo to keep em away?
     
  4. postal

    postal Arachnopeon

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    Thanks! I'm from Florida. Sadly, the parent spiders, shown in the pictures, have all died out. All I have left, are many egg sacs, and many, many, MANY, hatchlings. I'm hoping this summer they came back again. They most likely will, since they already have once before. Once they do, I'm gonna try and record some videos of them eating, and rebuilding their webs.

    I still love how the last spider to die, was the 6 legged spider. So awesome.
     
  5. bistrobob85

    bistrobob85 Arachnoprince Old Timer

    AAAAh, lucky you!!!! I really wish i could have a few of those golden silk spiders... If i'm not mistaken, they are nephila clavipes?!?! Correct me if i'm wrong :). $%/"$%"$/ do i love those things...
     
  6. Cheshire

    Cheshire Arachnoking Old Timer

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    If they do come back, I sure wouldn't mind a big female
     
  7. postal

    postal Arachnopeon

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    Yep, that's what they're called. Heh, they sure are fun to watch.

    Info about them:
    http://creatures.ifas.ufl.edu/misc/golden_silk_spider.htm
     
  8. padkison

    padkison Arachnoangel Old Timer

    You've got a cool mom.

    We all want some of those babies to seed around our houses.

    Start taking orders!
     
  9. luna

    luna Arachnoknight Old Timer

    this is the funniest thing I have read in a while!

    Your entire story made me laugh... best of luck with this summer's brood!!!

    I would love to have them on my front porch too.
     
  10. PA7R1CK

    PA7R1CK Arachnobaron Old Timer

    Amazing pictures! Very beautiful spider:clap:
     
  11. Jimmy James

    Jimmy James Arachnopeon

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    Yeah, I'd like one of those too. :D
     
  12. P. Novak

    P. Novak ArachnoGod Old Timer

    WOW those are awesome, id love to own one!!!!!!!! Is there any possible way you can get a juvi one and ill buy it form you.
     
  13. postal

    postal Arachnopeon

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    Heh, sorry, but right now all I got is hatchlings and egg sacs. I believe Summer is when they'll return, hopefully.

    Err, yeah, just noticed I left in a lot of facts that's probably 'commen sense' for you guys, why the rebuild web, and when, etc. Meh, oh well.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2006
  14. P. Novak

    P. Novak ArachnoGod Old Timer

    ohh alright, when you get juvis do you think you could sell me some?
     
  15. ErikH

    ErikH Arachnoangel

    Wow! That's pretty cool. We have alot of different orb-weavers in Illinois, most of which I do not know the proper names for, but none quite like that.
     
  16. ShadowSpectrum

    ShadowSpectrum Arachnoknight Old Timer

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    That's really cool :) Kind of a coincedence, I discovered an old eggsac and a ton of spiderlings in a treestump in my backyard yesterday. I plan on checking on them every now and then, watching their growth and seeing what kinda of spider they are.
     
  17. Cheshire

    Cheshire Arachnoking Old Timer

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    You live just in the next state over. We have Agriope species over here. That's the closest we have to compare to these. Most of the others are Araneus sp. (SP?) Nephilia are awesome because they have some of the strongest webs in the animal kingdom.
     
  18. postal

    postal Arachnopeon

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    If I'm not mistaken, that's because of the 'gold silk' they lace their webs with, right?
     
  19. Cheshire

    Cheshire Arachnoking Old Timer

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    I'm not an expert on the chemistry of Nephilia webs, but I hope this answers a question or two, if not...I'm sure you'll find this interesting reading anyways:

    http://www.loc.gov/catdir/samples/prin031/00036687.pdf#search='spiderweb%20chemistry'
     
  20. Captante

    Captante Arachnoknight Old Timer

    Its threads like this that remind me why I joined this forum ... great read, I really enjoyed it!