Friday, 10 September 2010

golden orb-web spider

I am terrified of spiders, even the small ones. There is something about them which makes my hair stand and feel generally uncomfortable. However, I am particularly fearful of the hugely popular tarantulas and the commonly seen Golden Orb-Web Spider (Nephila pilipes). The latter belongs to the family Araneidae and females can grow to a size of 30 to 50mm. They are distributed mainly in Asia as well as Papua New Guinea and Australia.

The Golden Orb- Web Spider is commonly found in Singapore's primary and secondary forests and gardens. We used to run into them and their giant orb-shaped webs all the time during national service, particularly when navigating or bashing through the forest on exercise. Not a pleasant feeling as the web is particularly sticky and quite a pain to remove.

This spider can bite. And while the venom of the golden silk orb-weaver is potent, it is not lethal to humans. It has a neurotoxic effect similar to that of the black widow spider; however, its venom is not nearly as powerful. The bite causes local pain, redness, and blisters that normally disappear within a 24-hour interval. In rare cases, it might trigger allergic reactions and result in respiratory troubles (in asthmatics) or fast-acting involuntary muscle cramps. As the genus possesses relatively strong chelicera, the bite could leave a scar on hard tissue (such as fingers).

*All images taken with Canon 7D and Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM Zoom lens*


  1. Wow! is that spider poisonous? i saw it at my friends.

  2. Russel, Great photos. I was stationed in Singapore 1982-84 with 1 RNZIR, the Kiwi Infantry Battalion. We exercised a lot in Malaysia and saw plenty of spiders. One I recall was the same shape as the one pictured above, but had large, bright panels of white, yellow and red on its shiny black body. It seemed to favour palm oil leaves as they made the perfect arch to make their web in. The largest I saw, and I saw plenty, was about 20 - 25 cm wide. Very impressive up close. Can you please locate one and post pictures? I did see one on the road side in Sembawang near a bus stop opposite Dieppe Barracks, but I doubt the roadside is the same now. Cheers Steve Wells, Perth, Australia

  3. I would shit every brick in existence if I ever stumbled upon this spider. I hate spiders, and even looking at this one on my computer screen fills me with a sense of great unease.

  4. Haha, I studied it for a project, and it's so benign! I actually quite like it.