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Golden silk spider

Trichonephila clavipe, or golden silk spider
Joselito de Guzman
Wikimedia Commons
Trichonephila clavipe, or golden silk spider

Trichonephila clavipes (formerly known as Nephila clavipes), commonly known as the golden silk orb-weaver, golden silk spider, or banana spider (a name shared with several others), is an orb-weaving spider species which inhabits forests and wooded areas ranging from the southern US to Argentina. It is indigenous to both continental North and South America. Known for the golden color of their silk, the large size of their females, and their distinctive red-brown and yellow coloring, T. clavipes construct large, asymmetrical circular webs attached to trees and low shrubs in woods to catch small- and medium-size flying prey, mostly insects.

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Rudy Mancke served as naturalist and co-host of South Carolina ETV's <i>NatureScene</i>, which began its long run in 1978. His field trips, broadcast nationwide, earned him a legion of dedicated viewers. Rudy's knowledge of the complex inner-workings of different ecosystems and his great admiration for the natural world make him the perfect guide. In fact, the National Wildlife Federation and the Garden Club of America honored his commitment to resource conservation with special awards. After retiring from SCETV, Rudy went on to become naturalist-in-residence at the University of South Carolina, Columbia. He hosted SC Public Radio's <i>NatureNotes</i> from 1999 until his death in 2023 at age 78.