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Golden Orbweavers

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

Nephila is a genus of araneomorph spiders noted for the impressive webs they weave. Nephila consists of numerous species found in warmer regions around the world. They are commonly called golden silk orb-weavers, golden orb-weavers, giant wood spiders, or banana spiders.

Nephila spiders vary from reddish to greenish yellow in color with distinctive whiteness on the cephalothorax and the beginning of the abdomen. Like many species of the superfamily Araneoidea, most of them have striped legs specialized for weaving (where their tips point inward, rather than outward as is the case with many wandering spiders). Their contrast of dark brown/black and green/yellow allows warning and repelling of potential predators to which their venom might be of little danger.

Rudy Mancke served as naturalist and co-host of South Carolina ETV's NatureScene, which began its long run in 1978. His field trips, broadcast nationwide, have 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. Since retiring from SCETV, Rudy has gone on to teach at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.