Thursday 29 March 2012: Golden orb weaver spider
I have had to back blip yesterday, with an explanation of what went wrong over here.
Well, here it is, the golden orb weaver and a decent size specimen at that. From the 90mm long carton, I estimate the longest leg to be around 90mm, but I have recorded 105mm in the past, so they do get bigger than this.
It is easy to see why it is called the golden orb weaver, the web is a rich golden color, especially vivid when it catches the light. The yellow and black markings make the creature look decidedly dangerous, but is in fact quite harmless. Like all spiders it is poisonous, but the list of spiders considered dangerous in this world is surprisingly small.
Blippers have asked about the dangers from insects and snakes. I have tried researching the insects poison ratings, but came up dry. It would be nice to know, but it would not slow me down any. Snakes were a bit easier to research and as I remember, there are three main bad boys, but I have even forgotten about those and need to refresh my memory.
This very large spider is actually still very quick on it's web. While photographing, I accidentally touched it with the carton and got a free demonstration of it's speed, gave me quite a start!
Unlike the St Andrews cross spider, that I have blipped in the past, which wraps it's food before injecting, this spider bites first and then wraps. Small stuff, it just eats straight away. The small insect that she was chewing on was actually caught during the shoot. I would imagine the web of a large specimen would be capable of ensnaring a small bird, but doubt if the spider would be strong enough to deal with it. More reading required, it has been a while.
Like with many spider species, the male is diminutive in comparison to the blipped female. There were actually three males on the web, same shape but plain red in color and about ½ inch long.
The white carton really messed up the exposure and I did have to work on rescuing the spider from the murky shadows and pull the carton back from gross over exposure, but apart from that, there is no other PS jiggery pokery going on here.