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Golden Orbweaver Spider (Nephila clavipes). Gainesville, Florida. 2012.
Golden Orbweaver Spider, also known as the Banana Spider. They don't have anything to do with bananas, so I don't know where they got the nickname. Maybe it's the yellow. There is another arachnid known as the Banana Spider. It's from Brazil (the Brazilian Wandering Spider) and is found in banana plants and is highly venomous. But our Banana Spider is pretty and harmless. Great insect catchers! This one is young and relatively small, with about a 1-inch body. As I mentioned yesterday, they can get much larger.
I watched this spider cleaning her web. There was a little piece of Spanish moss that she carefully walked to and removed. Then she wrapped it in silk and suspended it from one of the support web lines. I can tell that this one is a female because the males are tiny and don't have the same markings.