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Orb Weaver Spiders

  • Kite Spider
  • Golden Orb Weaver
  • Golden Orb Weaver

Orb weaver spiders are well represented in Gorongosa. Some have stunning shapes and colors, and none more so than the Kite spider (Gasteracantha). The large spines on its body are a defense against birds who like to feed on spiders, and also help them blend among branches where it spins its orb. Like all spiders, this species is a predator, feeding mostly on small insects that fall into its sticky web. And, like nearly all spiders, it is completely harmless to humans. The legs of Kite spiders are adapted for hanging from the silk web – if placed on a hard surface they are almost incapable of normal walking.

 

Another commonly seen orb weaver is the Golden orb weaver (Nephila senegalensis). These large spiders produce exceptionally strong silk that may even catch small birds. Males are tiny, many times smaller than the female, and live a parasitic life, stealing prey from the web of the female.