SEVEN LEGGED BANANA SPIDERS

Mike Gau le

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I am not into SPIDERS but found these on my property today and was curious as to why they only have seven legs. Any ideas? The pictures aren't great, I will try to get better tomorrow or Wednesday, it's raining and dark now, sorry.
Thanks,
Mike
 

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BobBarley

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Looks to be some sort of orbweaver, get a better pic later if you can. It has seven legs because it lost one, whether in a bad molt, a predator, or something else, I can't say. If my eyes aren't lying there's also a male on her web at the top of the pic?
 

chanda

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As Mike Gau le said in the title, they appear to be a pair of "banana spiders" - Nephila clavipes, also called Golden Orb Weavers or Golden Silk Spiders for the yellow/gold color of their silk.

Were both spiders missing legs? I can see that the female is short one, but I can't tell if the male has a full complement or not. It's pretty common to see spiders with a missing leg or two. They can lose them during a bad molt, an attack from a predator, or even an attempted mating that turned rough. Some spiders will also intentionally shed a leg (autotomy) if it is badly injured or damaged, trapped, or as a distraction to allow them to escape a predator. Fortunately, they can afford to lose a leg or two and still function normally with the remaining legs.
 

Tenevanica

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As Mike Gau le said in the title, they appear to be a pair of "banana spiders" - Nephila clavipes, also called Golden Orb Weavers or Golden Silk Spiders for the yellow/gold color of their silk.
I thought of Nephila clavipes, but I didn't think their range extended to California.
 

chanda

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I thought of Nephila clavipes, but I didn't think their range extended to California.
They don't (but I really wish they did!!!) In any case, OP is in Louisiana, which is in their range.
 

Tenevanica

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They don't (but I really wish they did!!!) In any case, OP is in Louisiana, which is in their range.
LOL, I thought the LA was for Los Angeles! Yes then, that species is totally a possibility with the OP's location!
 

Mike Gau le

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The male has seven legs also. How long between miles to tell if they will grow the legs back? Should I leave them where they are or capture them? Thanks for all the info! Mike
 

chanda

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The male has seven legs also. How long between miles to tell if they will grow the legs back? Should I leave them where they are or capture them? Thanks for all the info! Mike
You should leave them where they are. Like many orb weavers, they make huge webs to catch their prey. If they are unable to create a proper web, they will starve to death. Unless you plan on releasing them somewhere really spacious - like a greenhouse - they are unlikely to have enough room in any sort of cage, tank, or container to make an adequate web.

Both of your spiders appear to be mature which means that they will not grow back the missing legs. While some long-lived spiders like female tarantulas will continue to molt and grow for many years beyond reaching sexual maturity, Nephila spiders (and most if not all orb weavers) are short-lived, dying shortly after they have mated and laid their eggs. They only regrow lost limbs during a molt. Once they reach maturity, they stop molting/growing and any lost limbs remain lost. A juvenile Nephila, on the other hand, can regrow lost limbs over the course of several molts.

Fortunately, they are fully capable of getting around, spinning webs, capturing prey, mating, and evading predators with their remaining legs. A seven-legged spider can survive quite nicely in the wild. It's only when they start getting down to 4 or 5 legs - especially if they're mostly all on one side - that they are at a really significant disadvantage.
 

The Snark

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Took this pic back in August last year. We just saw him, or one identical to him, a week ago.
 

Crone Returns

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My friend from Australia sent me a picture of a biiiig web, approx. five by six. Feet. The female Nephila clavipes wasn't all that big, but that web was!

Probably glad the spider wasn't comparable to the web.
 

Mike Gau le

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You should leave them where they are. Like many orb weavers, they make huge webs to catch their prey. If they are unable to create a proper web, they will starve to death. Unless you plan on releasing them somewhere really spacious - like a greenhouse - they are unlikely to have enough room in any sort of cage, tank, or container to make an adequate web.

Both of your spiders appear to be mature which means that they will not grow back the missing legs. While some long-lived spiders like female tarantulas will continue to molt and grow for many years beyond reaching sexual maturity, Nephila spiders (and most if not all orb weavers) are short-lived, dying shortly after they have mated and laid their eggs. They only regrow lost limbs during a molt. Once they reach maturity, they stop molting/growing and any lost limbs remain lost. A juvenile Nephila, on the other hand, can regrow lost limbs over the course of several molts.

Fortunately, they are fully capable of getting around, spinning webs, capturing prey, mating, and evading predators with their remaining legs. A seven-legged spider can survive quite nicely in the wild. It's only when they start getting down to 4 or 5 legs - especially if they're mostly all on one side - that they are at a really significant disadvantage.
You should leave them where they are. Like many orb weavers, they make huge webs to catch their prey. If they are unable to create a proper web, they will starve to death. Unless you plan on releasing them somewhere really spacious - like a greenhouse - they are unlikely to have enough room in any sort of cage, tank, or container to make an adequate web.

Both of your spiders appear to be mature which means that they will not grow back the missing legs. While some long-lived spiders like female tarantulas will continue to molt and grow for many years beyond reaching sexual maturity, Nephila spiders (and most if not all orb weavers) are short-lived, dying shortly after they have mated and laid their eggs. They only regrow lost limbs during a molt. Once they reach maturity, they stop molting/growing and any lost limbs remain lost. A juvenile Nephila, on the other hand, can regrow lost limbs over the course of several molts.

Fortunately, they are fully capable of getting around, spinning webs, capturing prey, mating, and evading predators with their remaining legs. A seven-legged spider can survive quite nicely in the wild. It's only when they start getting down to 4 or 5 legs - especially if they're mostly all on one side - that they are at a really significant disadvantage.
You should leave them where they are. Like many orb weavers, they make huge webs to catch their prey. If they are unable to create a proper web, they will starve to death. Unless you plan on releasing them somewhere really spacious - like a greenhouse - they are unlikely to have enough room in any sort of cage, tank, or container to make an adequate web.

Both of your spiders appear to be mature which means that they will not grow back the missing legs. While some long-lived spiders like female tarantulas will continue to molt and grow for many years beyond reaching sexual maturity, Nephila spiders (and most if not all orb weavers) are short-lived, dying shortly after they have mated and laid their eggs. They only regrow lost limbs during a molt. Once they reach maturity, they stop molting/growing and any lost limbs remain lost. A juvenile Nephila, on the other hand, can regrow lost limbs over the course of several molts.

Fortunately, they are fully capable of getting around, spinning webs, capturing prey, mating, and evading predators with their remaining legs. A seven-legged spider can survive quite nicely in the wild. It's only when they start getting down to 4 or 5 legs - especially if they're mostly all on one side - that they are at a really significant disadvantage.
I will try to get a picture of the web tomorrow it's huge, I guess as can be expected. I'll leave them alone as long as I don't need the equipment the web is attached to. I'm sure if they are happy there they will respin the web.
 

The Snark

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I'm sure if they are happy there they will respin the web.
They will repair the web to some degree. If destroyed they will usually make a new one, usually significantly smaller, once or twice.
The web roughly reflects the age and health of the Nephila. The later in the year, the more ratty and damaged the web will become. This is especially so after mating. If the web is heavily damaged or destroyed late in the year they will often abandon it and give up the ghost.
 

schmiggle

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I read somewhere that spiders (presumably not all, but some group) build webs just as efficiently with six as with eight legs. They've basically got two spares.
 

The Snark

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I read somewhere that spiders (presumably not all, but some group) build webs just as efficiently with six as with eight legs. They've basically got two spares.
I've read something similar. 4th pair, web handlers. 2nd pair auxiliary web handlers. 3rd pair stabilizers, usually the strongest pair with the most mechanical advantage. 1st pair, utility and sensors having much more sensory nerves than the other pairs. The third pair is often used to hold and control guy lines but can be used as web handlers.
PS Watching a Nephila make her web is Web Building 101. It's so easy to see each operation and how it is done. Mesmerizing.
PPS It can't be that hard making a web, right? Look at macrame. Stretch out the material and tie knots. Simple. Now try it when all your cords are elastic.
 
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