Nephila edulis

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Nephila edulis
Female Nephila Edulis SeanMcClean 2007.jpg
Female Nephila edulis, Perth, Western Australia.[1]
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Suborder: Araneomorphae
Family: Nephilidae
Genus: Nephila
Species: N. edulis
Binomial name
Nephila edulis
(Labillardière, 1799)

Aranea edulis
Epeira edulis
Nephila imperatrix
Nephila eremiana

Nephila edulis is a species of large spider of the Nephilidae family. It is referred to the common name edible golden silk spider or golden silk orb-weaver.[citation needed] They are commonly found in Australia, where it is found in both tropical and temperate regions, and in parts of New Guinea and New Caledonia.

It has a large body size variability, females can reach a body length of up to 40 millimetres, males about 7 mm. The cephalothorax is black with a white pattern on the back, and a yellow underside; the abdomen is grey to brown.

The web is about 1 metre in diameter and protected on one or both sides by a strong "barrier" web. N. edulis breeds from February to May, and produces an average of 380 eggs.


The species name edulis means "edible" in Latin. While it is not entirely clear why this particular species is considered edible, it is known that several Nephila species are considered a delicacy in New Guinea, where they are plucked by the legs from their webs and lightly roasted over an open fire.[2]

The species was first collected and named by Jacques Labillardiere, in Relation du Voyage à la Recherche de la Pérouse (1799),[3] becoming the second Australian spider to be described by a European naturalist.[4]

Further reading[edit]

  • Uhl, G. & Vollrath, F (2000). Extreme body size variability in the golden silk spider (Nephila edulis) does not extend to genitalia. J. Zool. Lond. 251:7-14 PDF
  • Vollrath, F., Madsen, B. & Shao, Z. (2001). The effect of spinning conditions on the mechanics of a spider's dragline silk. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 268:2339-2346 PDF doi:10.1098/rspb.2001.1590


  1. ^ Golden orb weavers Ed Nieuwenhuys, Ronald Loggen 1997, 2002, Jurgen Otto 2005. Retrieved 2007-04-07.
  2. ^ Meyer Rochow, V.B. (1973). Edible insects in three different ethnic groups of Papua and New Guinea. Am J. Clin. Nutr. 26:673-677.
  3. ^ Labillardière, J. 1799. Relation du voyage à la recherche de La Pérouse, fait par ordre de l'Assemblée constituante. Paris Vol. 2 pp. 240-241
  4. ^ Davies, Valerie Todd; et al. (30 Mar 2006). "Order Araneae: Spiders". Australian Faunal Directory. Government of Australia. Retrieved 2009-03-06. 


Images of N. edulis
Side view, Sydney female 
Back view, Sydney female 
Bottom view, Sydney female 
Back view, Western Australia female 
A Queensland female and a locust fight in its web 

External links[edit]