The banana spider (Trichonephila clavipes), also known as the golden silk orb weaver, is an impressive-looking tropical species that can build large webs. It can bite, but it has venom that causes only a mild reaction in healthy adults. Banana spider fl are infamous for showing up in shipments of bananas and being misidentified as the dangerous Brazilian wandering spider (Phoneutria fera). However, these misidentifications are not entirely without foundation.
The female banana spider fl can grow to 1-3 inches in length, while the males are only about half that size. Females are elongated with yellow spots on orange or tan bodies, while the males are dark brown and often go unnoticed. These bright-colored arachnids have an average lifespan of up to one year, which is pretty typical for many spider species. During this time, they’ll experience life as an egg, a curious spiderling, and after several molts finally become a mature adult.
Despite their scary appearance, Banana Spiders are typically shy and avoid confrontations with humans. However, they may bite if provoked or cornered. Typically, a bite from this type of spider will produce slight pain and redness at the bite site, similar to a bee sting. The scientific name of the Banana Spider fl is Trichonephila clavipes, although it used to be known as Nephila clavipes and Phoneutria clavipes.
Golden Silk orb
They are also referred to as Golden Silk orb weavers, Calico spiders, and Writing Spiders. Spider belong to the Nephila family of spiders, which are known for their large, intricate webs. They are common throughout the South, but they tend to prefer warm, humid regions with open spaces and plenty of sunlight. They are especially abundant in Florida. Banana spider can also be found in North Carolina, Texas, and other southern states.
Banana spider fl have evolved over time to thrive in various habitats, from tropical forests and mangroves to agricultural fields and urban gardens. They’re able to catch a wide variety of pest insects and even reptiles. This species has a unique hunting strategy that allows it to ensnare prey more quickly than other orb-weavers. They construct webs of three concentric circles with radiating spokes extending from each circle’s center.
These spiders wait patiently for hapless creatures to blunder into their traps, then capture them by using their front legs to grasp the prey and their rear legs to hold on to the spokes of their web. They can also feel vibrations through their bodies to detect prey. They can control how ultraviolet light reflects off the stripes of their skin, which helps attract prey to their webs.
When building their webs, banana spiders prefer somewhat hidden locations like forests, tall grasses and bushes or areas frequented by people at night, such as near streetlights or over water. They’re nocturnal hunters and are unlikely to invade houses, but they often build their webs in places that humans frequent during the day, such as along hiking trails or in backyards.
Female banana spiders lay between six and ten egg sacs per season. Once the eggs hatch, baby spiders share a communal web for about a week, then start weaving their own sticky homes. Young spiders molt between seven and 12 times before reaching maturity. Once they reach breeding age, they’ll stop molting.
Banana Spiders are opportunistic predators that feed on flying insects such as moths, butterflies, flies, crickets and grasshoppers. They also capture non-flying insects that inadvertently become ensnared in their webs. The unique, golden-colored silk produced by these spiders is incredibly strong and flexible. In fact, there is interest in using this silk for various types of textiles.
Like many other insect-eating spiders, Banana Spiders rely on their webs to intercept and capture prey. Their complex webs are positioned in areas where prey is abundant. This includes forests, tall grass, and bushes. Their orb-shaped webs can be especially effective in capturing insects that fly through these areas.
To attract and mate with a mature male, a female Banana Spider will produce a courtship display. This involves displaying specific behaviors or vibrations to convey her readiness for mating. Mating usually results in the transfer of sperm from the male to the female through specialized structures within her genital opening. After a successful mating period, a female will produce egg sacs that she will guard diligently.
The primary threat to Banana Spiders is habitat loss due to deforestation and urbanization in their natural habitats. They are also vulnerable to the overuse of pesticides in agricultural areas, which can reduce the insect populations they depend on for survival. They are also impacted by climate change, which can alter the temperature and precipitation patterns in their natural environment.
Despite their common name, banana spiders are not all the same. In fact, the term “banana spider” can refer to several different species of golden orb-weaver spiders. The different species look very similar and live in warm tropical areas around the world. These spiders don’t bite people unless threatened. Their venom is designed to immobilize insects and doesn’t have much effect on healthy adults. The only time that a banana spider should be considered dangerous is if the venom enters a human who is allergic to it. In the wild, banana spiders are mostly found in bushes, wooded areas, and along hiking trails. They are nocturnal hunters and primarily feed on flying insects, including flies, beetles, locusts, dragonflies, grasshoppers and mosquitoes. They also eat other arthropods, lizards, and snakes.
The spiders typically build their webs in humid habitats with some leaf cover. Their large, asymmetrical webs can span up to 1.5 meters across. The spiders create a course, non-sticky weave as their base and then fill in the gaps with a sticky silk. Occasionally, parts of the banana spider’s web are stolen by kleptoparasitic (robber) spiders of the genus Argyrodes. This can affect their ability to capture insects and forces them to expend energy in creating new webs. Female banana spiders produce up to seven egg sacs in a season, each containing hundreds of eggs.