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A Guide to Common Singapore Spiders
by Joseph K H Koh
  Golden Web Spider
Nephila pilipes (Fabricius) 1793
close-up of bodyThe first, second and fourth pairs of legs of juvenile females have dense hairy brushes at the tibiae, but these hairs are shed as the females approach maturity.

Classification: Family Araneidae, Orb-Web Spiders.
Habitat: Common in primary and secondary forests, waste-land and gardens.
Female: 30-50 mm.
Male: 5-6 mm.
Distribution: Singapore, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, India, China, Japan, Northern Australia.
webThe female spins a strong, vertical web with a golden tinge. The web is not a symmetrical orb, but the hub (centre) is usually nearer the top. The mesh is fine, and it remains small at the edge of the web because the radial threads (equivalent to the spokes of the wheel) split into branches as they spread out from the hub towards the periphery.

Closer examination of the web will show that the mesh may be highly irregular because the golden sticky line which spirals its way towards the hub often follows a zig-zag course.

close-up showing the tiny male on female's abdomenThere appears to be a gap in every few whorls of golden spirals, giving an appearance of staves of music scores on the web (most noticeable in the part of the main web immediately below the spider in the picture above). Sometimes, the main orb-web of the spider is protected by barrier webs on both sides, as shown in this picture.

The male (right, on the female's abdomen) is much tinier than the female.

Before laying eggs, the female digs a pit on the ground and produces her egg-sac there. The egg-sac is then covered with plant debris and soil.

For more about tiny spiders that live in their webs:
Silver Comb-Footed Spiders
(Argyrodes argentatus)
Spit-Faced Silver Spider (Argyrodes fissifrons)
  From "A Guide to Common Singapore Spiders" by Joseph K. H. Koh
BP Guide to Nature Series published by the Singapore Science Centre and sponsored by British Petroleum
© 2000 Joseph K H Koh