An insect whose name is "banana spider" surely can't be that scary, right? Yellow stands for optimism and happiness after all. Also, how dangerous are bananas? It's true that a female banana spider is extremely frightening to someone who happens upon it unexpectedly.

Banana Spider Facts

How does a banana spider look?

The banana spider, or Nephila clavipes, is also known as the golden silk spider, writing spider, calico spider, and golden orb weaver. Regardless of the name you give it, the spider you usually imagine is likely to be a female banana spider. It is commonly believed that the females and males of these arachnids are one species, but they're sexually dimorphic, which means they look so dissimilar.

As far as banana spider size is concerned, females are much larger than males. Males are usually only about .02 inches long, while females can grow up to 3 inches long. Each is slender, but the colors are different. Males are usually unnoticeable because they are dark brown and have yellow spots on their abdomens. On every leg, except the third, the females have brown and orange bands with furry tufts.

Banana spider web

Often times, banana spider webs can reach a diameter of 6 feet. The intricate designs on these webs make them extremely strong. These giant webs are often built by female banana spiders in forest areas. Even their yellow color can be adjusted according to the local light conditions to make the web more difficult to see. As a result, webs can be less noticeable to hikers, which is primarily for the purpose of keeping prey off-guard.

How Do They Build Their Webs?

Golden orb gets its name from the yellow silk of the banana spider's web. Sunlight makes silk appear golden, and the webs are extremely intricate. One meter wide ones are possible.

Researchers say the yellow coloring serves two main purposes: First, the bright silk strands attract and trap bees. Secondly, in shadier, darker conditions, the color blends into the foliage.

Spiders build non-sticky spirals and then fill in the gaps with sticky silk. As a result, banana spiders can vary their web colors to maximize their light and color sensitivity. In order to capture prey, the web needs regular maintenance.

Are banana spiders poisonous?

The banana spiders are very shy, despite how threatening they may appear. The spider only bites if it feels threatened, as many species of spider do. There will generally only be slight pain and redness at the bite site from a banana spider bite, which is milder than a bee sting. Its venom is usually too mild to cause significant harm to a healthy adult human. A medical professional should be consulted if you experience more severe symptoms.

The egg sacs of banana spiders and their reproduction

The reproductive window of a female banana spider is small. Her last molt takes place 4 days after she stops eating and repairing her web. While waiting for the molt to occur, a mature male will move in and become friendly with her. The female is sexually receptive for only a few days after her molt. You need to act soon! Females are prevented from eating their suitors because of their arousal.

Following all of this, the female spins multiple egg sacs onto the side of the tree, each holding several hundred eggs. Neither banana spiders nor their adults live long after their last molt. They reproduce once every year. Males survived for only 2 to 3 weeks after the molt, whereas females survived for about one month.

Spiders that prey on bananas

Fortunately, banana spiders do not hunt humans as prey. Small and medium sized insects may not have the same luck. It is possible to catch bees, grasshoppers, flies, wasps, mosquitoes, and moths in banana spider webs, which are a key part of the lunch menu.

Florida banana spiders

Banana spiders prefer warm climates, as previously mentioned. This is why they are frequently found from North Carolina to Texas in the Gulf states. Because banana spiders grow best in humid environments, Florida is the ideal place to find one. A larger number of banana spiders can be found near swamps or near the coast.

In spite of the death of nine banana spiders put aboard the Columbia Space Shuttle as part of the AstroSpider experiment by STARS, there were enough left to continue to grow the population. 

Facts About Banana Spiders

  • Banana spiders also go by the names golden silk orb weaver, giant wood spider, and writing spider.
  • Not including their legs, they grow up to about two inches long. The female is larger than the male. Some of them measure over five inches long, including their legs.
  • African banana spiders, Asian banana spiders, Australian banana spiders, and banana spiders in the Southeast United States ranging from Texas to North Carolina.
  • They use golden silk for their webs.
  • After mating, the female usually eats the male.
  • The spider genus that they belong to is the oldest currently extant. Fossil remnants date back 165 million years.
  • Golden silk can be used for textiles, including a shawl woven in 2004 and a cape in 2012.
  • Using the silk of spiders, fishermen make balls in the Indopacific Ocean. In the ocean, the balls unravel and create a net for catching fish.
  • The bite area is red, blistered, and painful.
  • They are known by their Latin name, Nephila clavipes, which means "lovers of spinning.".