Nephila clavipes

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Nephila clavipes
Golden silk spider - Nephila clavipes.jpg
Female feeding (bottom) and male (top)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Suborder: Araneomorphae
Family: Nephilidae
Genus: Nephila
Species: N. clavipes
Binomial name
Nephila clavipes
(Linnaeus, 1767)

Aranea clavipes
Aranea spinimobilis
Aranea longimana
Epeira clavipes
Epeira plumipes
Nephila wilderi
Nephila wistariana
Nephila concolor
Nephila thomensis

Ventral view of female
Mature female Nephila clavipes from Davie, Florida.

Nephila clavipes (Lat. clava = club; pedis = of or pertaining to a foot {genitive case of pēs}) is a species of golden orb-web spider. It lives in the warmer regions of the Americas. The large size and bright colours of the species make it distinctive. The female is much larger than the male.

In the United States, it ranges throughout the coastal southeast and inland, from North Carolina to Texas. Its distribution in many regions seems localized, and it may be completely absent (or just hard to find) over wide areas. Conversely, in some arboreal or swampy nooks, adults and their webs can be found in large concentrations, especially near the coast. Golden orb-weavers are especially numerous in the time after summer and before fall in the Southeastern and Southern United States. This species is widespread — and often common — in large parts of Central America and warmer regions of South America.

The web of a mature female can reach one meter in width, the yellow threads appearing as a rich gold in sunlight. Males come into the female's web for copulating. After mating, the female spins an egg sac on a tree, laying hundreds of eggs in one sac. The spider will only bite if pinched and the venom is usually relatively harmless and only leads to slight redness and localized pain.[1]

The silk of N. clavipes has recently been used to help in mammalian neuronal regeneration. In vitro experiments showed that a single thread of silk can lead a severed neuron through the body to the site from which it was severed. This single thread has a tensile strength of 4×109 N/m2, which exceeds that of steel by a factor of six. Best of all for these experiments, it is not recognized by the immune system, and so, is not rejected by the host body.[2]


  1. ^ Weems, Jr., H.V., and G.B. Edwards, Jr. 2001
  2. ^ Allmeling et al. 2006


  • Allmeling, C.; Jokuszies, A.; Reimers, K.; Kall, S. & Vogt, P.M. (2006): Use of spider silk fibres as an innovative material in a biocompatible artificial nerve conduit. J. Cell. Mol. Med. 10(3): 770-777. PDF - doi:10.2755/jcmm010.003.18
  • Borror, D. J. 1960. Dictionary of Word Roots and Combining Forms. Mayfield Publishing Company, 134 pp.
  • Cameron, H. D. 2005. Chapter 73 — An etymological dictionary of North American spider genus names, page 73 in D. Ubick, P. Paquin, P.E. Cushing, and V. Roth (eds.) Spiders of North America: an identification manual. American Arachnological Society, Keene (New Hampshire).
  • Weems, Jr., H.V., and G.B. Edwards, Jr. 2001 (2004 revision). golden silk spider. on the UF / IFAS Featured Creatures Web site

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