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Nephila inaurata (red-legged golden orb-weaver spider) is a species of golden orb-weaver spider. It lives in Southern Africa and several islands in the Indian Ocean (Madagascar, the Seychelles, Réunion, Mauritius, Rodrigues). Like other spiders in the subfamily Nephilinae it can weave webs so strong that sometimes even birds and bats get caught. Its webs can be found in damp places such as large trees and unpolluted areas to which no cars have access; normally several are strung together to form enormous "homes" so as to cover as much surface area as possible.
This species feeds on flies, mosquitoes, moths, wasps and unfortunate beetles who happen to get tangled up.
In addition to the nominate (Nephila inaurata inaurata), a second subspecies is currently recognized: Nephila inaurata madagascariensis (Vinson, 1863), which occurs from South Africa to the Seychelles.
This species is commonly kept in captivity. Egg sacs the size of a small marble are made of thick silk and contain 100-200 eggs which hatch after two months. They start out with a 2mm legspan and grow rapidly. Males mature in one to two months depending on the form. A small percentage of males mature early and resemble a small, black crab spider with only an 8-10mm leg span. Most males mature later and resemble the form of the female but have very little color and only a 25-30mm legspan. Females mature in four months with an approximate 100mm leg span.
N. i. madagascariensis in Madagascar
- "Taxon details Nephila inaurata (Linnaeus, 1767)", World Spider Catalog, Natural History Museum Bern, retrieved 2017-05-15
- "Golden Silk Spiders", Invertebrate-Magazine Vol.4, Issue 2 March 2005
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