Unusual Spider

18 May, 2008

Question: I have an unusual spider in my front yard. Can you tell me what it is?

Golden Orb-weaving Spider

Photographer: John Broomfield, Source: Museum Victoria

Answer: This spider is one of the species that are commonly called Golden Orb-weavers. They are so named because if you look at their webs in the right light, they have a distinct golden colour and so do their egg sacs. These beautiful spiders are native to Australia and belong to the genus Nephila which is represented in Australia by five species.

Given that your spider has been collected in Melbourne, it is most likely to be Nephila edulis. Despite the size of this spider, few bites have been recorded. The Golden Orb-weaver is not considered dangerous. Symptoms include localised mild pain and swelling, nausea and dizziness.

Golden Orb-weaving Spiders are not aggressive and their first response to a threat is usually to run. In fact the museum has been contacted by one enquirer who was so taken by his Golden Orb-weaver that he used to stroke her. You should of course do this at your own risk; a spider is quite likely to misread a friendly pat and bite in response to being touched.

Golden Orb-weaving Spider

Golden Orb-weaving Spider, Nephila edulis
Photographer: Alan Henderson, Source: Museum Victoria

While the female Nephila edulis is a large and impressive spider measuring up to 23 mm in length, the male of the species is only about 6 mm long. Males can usually be found at the edges of a female’s web. The female has distinctive black brushes on 6 of her 8 legs.

A female Golden Orb-weaving Spider constructs a beautiful golden silk egg sac during early winter which is usually left in the tree that she constructed her web on. Golden Orb-weavers can be locally common, for example in the Darling Downs in Queensland a single dead tree can have as many as 30 individual golden orb weaver webs.

Comments (164)

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sue heerey 15 February, 2011 17:04
Onehas constructed a huge web acrossmy verandah posts (house on the edge of the mallee.) Poor thing only has sevenlegs . It is a beautiful spider andvery happy tobe abletoidentify it via very good site -thankyou !
Michelle Hethorn 16 February, 2011 09:57
I think a Golden orb or a Garden orb builds a web every night on my clothes line . The web is huge ,intricate and magnificent , it spans from the top of the clothes line to the ground.Gloria Orb(the name we have given this beautiful spider ) puts a new web up every evening .I am utterly in love with her and marvel at her work . When I go out in the morning often the web has gone and so is Gloria ORb (the spider) , I find this incredibly considerate of her as I need to put clothes on the line during the day. My question is why do they take their webs down and where do they go through the day ? How long will she stay around our garden ? We see her as a sort of pet now and have become deeply attached to her presence .What can we do to support her efforts to attract prey to her web ?
Michelle Hethorn 16 February, 2011 10:37
I forgot to mention that I live in Braybrook Melbourne . From what I have read it is more likely to be a Garden Orb as the Golden Orbs are found further north . I have only seen the web in the evening and was unable to distinguish whether it had a "golden sheen " .
Discovery Centre 21 February, 2011 10:08
Hi Michelle, it's great that you and Gloria are getting along so well. Many of the Garden Orb-weavers rebuild their webs regularly to ensure it is free from damage or holes. The large Golden Orb-weavers don't tend to take down their webs. If the spider is still there feel free to take some images and email them to discoverycentre@museum.vic.gov.au and we can try and tell you what sort of spider Gloria is.   
Jeff Fox 1 June, 2015 19:02
We live in Ashgrove in Brisbane and often have Golden Orbs building webs between the posts on our deck. When they go the entire web disappears overnight. I was amazed at this because the webs are so strong and very sticky.
Caleb Cluff 14 March, 2011 13:51
We live at Majorca, near Maryborough in the central goldfields. This year there are dozens of enormous golden orb-weavers on our three acre property, and other landholders mention the same. Is this just a reaction to the wet season?
david hall 14 March, 2011 16:30
i have a large female orb weaver with egg sacks on one of the plants in my front yard. i live in somerville and have never seen a spider as large and beautiful as this. it has constructed a very large magnificent circular web that contains the remants of many a meal on a long thread that hangs away from the main body of the web.
Julie Jackson 13 March, 2017 20:07
Yes, ours has that too! Incredible!
Sylvia Worboys 15 March, 2011 12:22
We have a very large garden with an orchard and many trees and bushes. One very large golden orb set herself up between an apple tree and a grapefruit tree. I managed to get some great photos of her top and underside. One has setup between 2 veranda posts and the gold of her web is very obvious. Thanks for the info about the bite. We have many spiders here in Bundalong on the Murray River near Yarrawonga So far I've identified red backs, black house, white tails, trap door, St Andrew's Cross, wolf, huntsman and there are others that are unidentified.
Discovery Centre 15 March, 2011 12:49
Hi Caleb, we are receiving more enquiries about these spiders from Melbourne as well than we have in recent years. I would say that you are correct and that the recent heavy rainfall has probably led to more and healthier vegetation meaning a greater number of insects meaning more food to sustain more spiders. Enjoy seeing these large, timid and beautiful spiders. 
Lauris Dniprowskij 15 March, 2011 15:38
I live in Fairfield Victoria and I found a golden orb-weavers approximatley 16-18 cm long on an old kids playground in my back yard, the web is golden and it measures ap: 1 metere X 1 metere
obie 14 May, 2014 14:40
ohhhhhh!!!! how scary!did you survive?
April 17 March, 2011 13:58
I have recently dicovered a golden orb waever in a neighbours front garden in Ormomd. I have seen many golden orb weavers up north but this is the first I have spotted in Melb. Is the (GOB) more likely to be found in tropical climates & not regulary found in Melb?
Chiela 17 March, 2011 14:08
My grandaughter discovered one of these in a web in the front yard of a neighbouring unit. We've named her Aggy and taken photos. I'm wondering what the messy lumpy bit is in the web behind her in your photo, is it an eggsac or leftovers from meals. Aggy has the same in her web. Thanks for your info.
Chiela 17 March, 2011 17:07
I forgot to tell you we live in Chelsea, and another question, in your photo I noticed four small indentations in her body, what are they and do they serve a purpose? Thanks again.
Discovery Centre 18 March, 2011 16:53
Hello Chiela - The messy lumps are leftover from meals. Spiders can only ingest fluids (and particles less than one micron in diameter), so they suck the insides out of their prey but leave behind the exoskeleton, which gets wrapped up and placed in the web. This can also help camouflage the spider so it doesn’t stand out so much to predators such as birds.
The eggs are normally laid at the corner of the web amongst foliage, and are wrapped in a golden silken egg sac.
Matt 19 March, 2011 21:09
Yep, 2011 is definitely the year for Golden Orbs in VIC. I lived in North Syd for two years and saw them all the time but had never seen them in Melb. until this year. I too am curious about the little holes/indents in the body of these spiders.
Pauline Macdonald 17 April, 2015 20:22
I noticed my beautiful golden orb spider about 8wks ago making her wed between the house and lemon tree she has been wonderful to watch I called her goldie her tiny mate I called him orb appeared about 3wks ago my grandson and I even saw them mate and about 1 wk later she bundled him up with the rest of her trophies, 2wks later she disappeared and I found a beautiful golden cocoon hanging in the lemon tree, what happens to the golden orb?
Terry Halmshaw 20 March, 2011 17:27
HI: I have a large Golden Orb Weaver that has built a very large web strangely enough in the wide open, she is happily hanging between fence and fence post without even trying to hide. I live in Meredith (country Southern Victoria) and found it quite strange to see her hanging there, I saw them all the time when I lived in Darwin and in QLD, but this is the first I have seen down here in Vic. She is totally beautiful and I am wondering if I should relocate her for her safety?. I have images of her, and the male trying to....well get close to her :) If you would like the images please let me know and i will send them, she measures just over four inches and is spectacular.
Marie 22 March, 2011 17:46
Thanks for helping me identify my two beautiful golden orb weavers. I live in Maldon, Central Victoria and have never seen this species of orb weaver until now. Today I discovered the larger of the two has spun herself a fluffy egg sac in the tree at the end of one of her golden guy-lines. When will I expect the babies to hatch?
Tamzin 23 March, 2011 09:34
We have a lovely golden orb spider that has been living in our frontyard to many months and she has laid her eggs under the guttering on our front verandah. Please can you tell me the life span of golden orb spiders?
Discovery Centre 27 March, 2011 09:36

Hi Tamzin, Golden Orbweavers generally live for one year to 18 months, depending on the environmental conditions. For most of this time they are small and not particularly noticeable - it's only as they mature in mid to late summer that they become more obvious. The eggs will remain dormant throughout winter and hatch in early spring.

Rebecca Stewart 28 March, 2011 21:42
We have two extremely large female golden orbs nested in fencing at school and one male (the two nests are located separate ends of the playground). They are quite close to where children play and have drawn much attention from students. Are we able to relocate these spiders or is it best to leave them alone and educate students about also leaving them alone?
Miranda 29 March, 2011 10:30
I visited Baringhup, near bendigo a few weeks ago where i first discovered the GOS, then just a week ago, one assembled a huge web between our front verandah and the power line. I thought she must have hitched a ride back on my car but after reading all of the comments, it seems they are more common around here than expected! amazing! I have named her Holly, and live in Croydon!
Discovery Centre 29 March, 2011 13:38
Hi Chiela, that is a great question, we don't actually know what purpose those indentations serve. Maybe someone else will add their thoughts?
Discovery centre 29 March, 2011 15:16
Rebecca - given that these are fairly passive but large and interesting spiders; it is an excellent opportunity to educate the students about Victorian Spiders providing you are confident that the kids go by the 'look but don't touch' rule, this species is a good one for the students to learn about, as it it is more abundant at the moment due to the wet summer we have had.
Ingrid H.D.Hassan 29 March, 2011 22:45
i have 5 golden orb spider in my backyard and like to know how long they live Yours sincerely Ingrid
Sharon Phillips 30 March, 2011 16:29
Hi, have been reading about the Golden Orb spider trying to learn all we can.Ours has been in the garden for quite a few weeks and does not take its web down.It catches bugs and leaves them in spun webs in a line along the web/The female is large but lately we have notices her body has shrunk and we wondered if she lays eggs or gives birth to live babies. The male was on the web but we cant see him now. We re just amazed at this spider it is truly lovely and the web is so strong.but unlke some of your writers looking is enough lol
bid perring 30 March, 2011 17:47
i discovered a mum and dad golden orb in our front garden this afternoon.. had noticed this web growing and growing. they are fascinating creatures.. we have just just dubbed ours harriet and claude. unreal the amount of spiders in the web,love them for catching them. i was told they live for about 18 months by the zoo which i rung to confirm it is the orb spiders, but will die in the cold which is sad, so am hoping there are eggs layed to keep for next summer to come out
Bill 30 March, 2011 17:55
I too have my own GOS , named Bertha :-) I am suprised at how many are around this year . Bertha is the biggest I have seen and highly entertaining to watch .
Discovery Centre 31 March, 2011 11:05

Hi Ingrid,

Golden Orb-weaving Spiders live on average for about twelve months.

Bonnie 1 April, 2011 19:08
thanks for all the great info, I too have a "pet" Golden Orb in my camellia tree, I have watched her grow for about 6 months now and if though I am a typical arachniphobem I am totally awe struck by her beauty...only hope she doesn't find a boyfriend because I do still get squemish when I remember she is a spider...
Discovery Centre 3 April, 2011 16:53

Hello Marie, Thank you for deciding to use the discovery Centre for your enquiry regarding when the eggs of the golden orb spider hatch.  We cannot provide exact information for every species, but generally it appears that the spider lays its eggs in late summer to autumn.  During autumn, when the spiderlings emerge, they disperse by ballooning.

Dave McNee 4 April, 2011 14:05
I too am fortunate to have a large female Golden Orb in my front garden having her web strung between an agapanthus and a geranium bush. Due to the locust problems here in Central Vic. (Avoca)she is quite well fed and relatively quiet, letting me get to within about six inches of her. A truly magnificent example of a fascinating creature,utterly deadly on assorted insects. However, being originally from Central NSW, I do remember the ones up there when spinning webs between Tea-Trees, grew much larger. Are they localised to the Eastern coasts, or generally widespread around Australia? Thanks, Dave.
Fiona 6 April, 2011 16:26
We also have 3 huge Golden Orb Weavers in our property outside Ballarat. I discovered the first one when I was bent down picking tomatoes and nearly came face-to-face with her! Quite an introduction and I can't say I was too happy at the time. Im not really a 'spider person' but I have to begrudgingly admire these amazing specimens! We have another huge one who has set up house between verandah posts, and a third in a nectarine tree. They never fail to completely freak guests out. They are just so big, their webs so huge and intricate, and their trail of dead prey so gruesome!!
Michelle 6 April, 2011 21:17
We live on the Mornington Peninsula and we are the lucky hosts to three golden orb spiders - they are located in strange places - one covers the kitchen window, another covers the study window and the last one covers the water tank. They are all lined up in a row and we find them fascinating. We just pull the curtains back and say good morning to all our 'girls'. (Our windows are wood - not sure why they set up house here and not near foliage?) Recently our girls have all spun beautiful egg sacs in the top right hand corner of the windows. Aside from our initial worries about infestation, we're looking forward to seeing lots more of these beautiful and amazing spiders in the spring. My daughter is very excited about the 'baby spiders'.
Kath 12 April, 2011 11:25
Your website is excellent! I live in suburban Adelaide close to the city and have a large female GOS down the side of my house. (I have taken many photo's and have captured the golden sheen of her web - just beautiful.) She has a trail of left-overs aproximately 30cm long. Is it common to find these magnificent spiders in Adelaide? It was this site and comments that enabled me to identify her as a female and explained the golden sheen of her web, so thanks for that as well.
Discovery Centre 13 April, 2011 11:52
Thanks for the feedback, Kath - in answer to your question, Nephila species are fairly widespread;  according to the book "The Silken Web" by Burt Brunet, the distribution of Golden Orb Weavers is described as "eastern Australia, mainly along the coast from Victoria to Cape York...but is also found in many inland areas". Keep in mind that the recent wet summer has caused populations to boom a bit, so it follows that their range has expanded slightly and may account for their presence in Adelaide.
Yannie 13 April, 2011 23:23
I live in Carrum Downs and have a Golden Orb Spider on my front window. She has spun her web across the window and I am able to observe her from inside my house. It is fasinating watching her catch and devour her food and repair her web. Thank you for this wonderful site. Like Kath it was this site that answered all the questions I had and now understand the spider a bit better.
Peter 14 April, 2011 14:22
I live in Grovedale, Geelong. Thanks to your site I now know that the magnificent spider in our front garden, with its massive web spun from an outside wall to a shrub is a Golden Orb Spider. Bees, flies and many other insects have become her victim!
Franky 15 April, 2011 16:29
I live in Heidelberg and i found a huge golden orb in my back yard. It's body alone is about 70mm long! It must be a mutant.
Jacqui 16 April, 2011 11:19
Great info. about GOS. Lovely to think they have names too. Cant brag about the size of ours but she is certainly interesting. If the sun is out she seems to position her underside to follow its arc. Wish she would eat cabbage white butterflies for me
Helen 6 November, 2014 20:43
I really believe that the cabbage butterflies/moths can see the web.. I've been watching the ones here at my house and they are obviously avoiding the web, as if they see it. Perhaps their vision picks up the web better than other insects do?? the bees are being caught in abundance however.. the spider loves them
Discovery Centre 16 April, 2011 14:10
Hi Dave - Golden Orb Weaving Spiders are found in dry open forest and woodlands, coastal sand dune shrubland and mangrove habitats.All orb weaving spiders make suspended, sticky, wheel-shaped orb webs. Webs are placed in openings between trees and shrubs where insects are likely to fly.
Golden orb weaving spiders (Nephila spp.) are found over most of Australia but Nephila edulis is the only species found in Victoria.   
nicholas coleman 16 April, 2011 19:24
there is a golden orb weaver in my back yard and we are hoping to get rid of it do you know where i should let it free?
kim 16 April, 2011 21:01
Thanks for all the great information. We have a beautiful golden org in a quiet spot in coburg garden. Our toddlers have loved watching her and it has been very educational for all of us. Just checking -are bites considered harmful to toddlers?
Aaron 19 April, 2011 22:41
Hi, Excellent, informative website. We are based out near Ballarat on land and we have approximately 10 cypress trees out on the driveway and came home one day to discover there were approximately 6-8 GOS suspended about 20 feet in the air with webs hanging from off the trees, powerlines, fences and to the ground. Was amazing to see!!! At the moment we also have a GOS living beside the house, with an fantastic multi-level web with her food "remains". Truly an amazing species of spider... We never saw the GOS in the past couple of years, why are there so many around now? At the moment, are the breeding conditions just right? And if the GOS have been here now are they likely to return next year?
Robin 20 April, 2011 09:04
I found a golden orb in my gargen this weekend but did not know what it was until I found this site. Thank you for the information. The spider is beautiful but has not moved since I have found her. I have not seen a male though. She is by herself. I live in Melton VIC.
Mike 20 April, 2011 16:25
I'm in Ballarat, and have one on a large web under my pergola. I've noticed she's grown over the course of about a month. Her large abdomen turned a dark grey for a few days last week, and her markings disappeared. She's now back to her pale, almost shiny colour. A couple of days ago I found her near the base of her web, which was unusual. She was facing upwards, which was also unusual - she normally has her head pointing to the ground. She relieved herself, then climbed back up to her usual spot high on the web. She'd obviously found the right place to do her business, so it wouldn't foul the web.
Discovery Centre 21 April, 2011 13:06

Hi Kim, we have asked the Live Exhibits Team and they have advised that although the Golden Orb Weaver is a large spider, they are reluctant to bite!  The bite, when it does occur, is usually more of a nip than a bite. If your children are happy to watch the spider, and not touch, they should be fine!

brenda stevens chambers 22 April, 2011 10:34
Help. Isobel has vanished. Her web is undamaged - what has become of her? I am worrid sick - having nightmares and needing medication. We were about to elope - could she have gotten cold feet?
marilyn haartnett 23 April, 2011 10:52
I have had a goldrn orb spider in my garden for a couplelof months,she has the most magnificent web i evet seen, my friends and family get the tour of her web whenever they call.I was wondering how long will she live?
Discovery Centre 23 April, 2011 11:48

Hi Nicholas, Golden Orbweavers are generally considered harmless and there's not usually any need to remove them. In addition, this time of year they are slowly dying out and will disappear completely when the seriously cold weather hits. This species usually lives in northern Victoria and they are not accustomed to the southern Victorian winters.

If you do need to move the spider, it can be placed in a jar by holding the jar over the spider at the front of the web, and using the jar lid to trap the spider from the back of the web. The silk is very strong and may need to be torn by hand. The spider can then be taken to a suitable location and the jar opened and tipped onto the bark of a large tree. Once settled in, the spider will find a good insect-catching location and spin a new web between two trees.

However, the spider may take some time to find a good location and, given the lateness of the season, may not survive long enough to set up a new home.

Discovery Centre 25 April, 2011 10:57

Hi Marilyn,

Please refer to our response on the 27th of March, as it is all explained there. Hope this helps!

John Brisbane 25 April, 2011 22:13
My family and I were bushwalking in the forest at Mandurang, south of Bendigo over the Easter long weekend. In some areas there were Golden Orb Spiders in literally every tree and in every direction you looked in the forest. I have never seen them in such high concentration in 30 years of exploring the Bendigo bush!
Teresa 26 April, 2011 20:03
Firstly, this is a fantastic site. We live in Pearcedale VIC and have been watching 'our' Golden Orbweaver grow for some time now and were pleased (and slightly worried) to see her create her egg sack last night. Noted are your comments to Nicholas and we will not move her (as we were initially contemplating). Her web is located under our veranda however; she has been most thoughtful to place this in a corner away from foot traffic. I am curious to know if all Golden Orbweavers are as meticulous as ours with the way she lines her recent meals in a line from the centre of the web? We thought this curious and that maybe she had a slight case of OCD...
Julie 27 April, 2011 08:41
I live in Eltham Vic, I have a GOS in my garden near my front door, she has been there for a couple of months. I first found this website back then and found it very helpful. I came back to see if I could find information about how long they live to find so many more posts. Seems the Golden Orbs are everywhere this year. Yesterday she was missing from the centre of her web and we noticed her spinning a golden sac on the shrub that her web is attached too. Over Easter we were in Heathcote walking through the state forest and found many GOS. No more bush walking at night!
julie 27 April, 2011 12:27
I found a beautiful Golden Orb Weaver hanging between my neighbour's & my tree in November 2010 & watched her delightedley. In January a bat must have destroyed her web (as she was attached to a mango tree) & she moved to the larger mango tree & laid her egg sac in the rosemary bush below & then moved to between our balconey & the mango tree. Early this month, she stopped maintaining her web & then moved to a couple of leaves in the mango tree & webbed the leaves up. I'm not sure if she lay another egg sac or if she is still in the leaves. Is it possible that she is still in the leaves? we miss her very much as she was a wonderful sight outside our kitchen window, please tell me she will return!
Discovery Centre 27 April, 2011 13:47

Hi Teresa, thanks for the great feedback.  And no, your Golden Orb Weaver does not have OCD! This is one of the characteristics of the Golden Orb Weaver.  Check out images on the internet and you will see that this is not unusual.

julie 27 April, 2011 13:47
Forgot to write that I live in Sydney's southwest.
Mike Gustus 27 April, 2011 15:33
Saw a beautiful very large specimen at Mt. Beckworth in Victoria. Body was 5cm. They are having a very good season. I have sent photo.
Ann 28 April, 2011 03:26
Great site, thank you. I think i have been able to identify the two ?GOS on my pergola. I live in Malmsbury, Vic. At first they would shake their webs ferociously when I got too close for a look or a photo. Now they don't seem to mind me getting close. They don't seem to move much during the day. They are in the open, no protection from sun, wind or rain. They must be quite tough.
Nancy Jacobs 28 April, 2011 14:48
We are pleased to have at last identified our magnificent spider who has taken up residence in our small garden in Frankston, Vic. She is about 2cm.plus in the body and has woven a large web at the side of our deck. The web shines golden in the sun. So far I have found no egg sac, but I am no longer concerned about this after reading letters on this site. We will just enjoy her stay with us, especially as she is catching all the flies that often hang around our back door.
Richard Pekin 28 April, 2011 20:32
We have a magnificient specimen in the back garden (Belmont, Geelong) with its web strung nearly 3m between a pittosporum bush and a brick wall and anchored to the ground. The centre part of the web measures 530mm top to bottom and is around 300mm wide.
Discovery Centre 30 April, 2011 15:58



Thanks for your email. The second webbing of the leaves is probably also an egg sac, as they sometimes lay more than one.

The spider has most likely died by now, as they tend to die off at the end of autumn. In some areas the spiders may survive into winter if the local conditions are warm enough, but in most areas they die off as soon as it gets cold.

The good news is that the spider has left behind a legacy in her egg sacs, which should hatch in a couple of months. The spiders will grow throughout late winter and spring, and start becoming visible in their webs towards the end of the year.

Sheena Geysen 1 May, 2011 11:16
Last week there were two Golden Orb spiders with fabulous webs - the central web appeared to be protected by about four other webs- strung in various directions in the branches of understorey bush on our holiday property in the Snowy Mountains (near Suggan Buggan), I have never seen them before, and I guess with their soft bodies they won't be around much longer once cold weather sets in.
Chris 1 May, 2011 21:00
We have had a golden orb spider in our yard for about 4 months now. She was huge and after being away for one week we returned to see her looking smaller. Next morning she and the entire web (which was complex and enormous, at least 8 - 9 feet across in one spot) was gone without a trace. We have assumed that she was pregnant and must have created a nest for her eggs, but has she died or just moved on? Thanks.
Gina 27 August, 2015 11:32
My orb weaving spider is missing its been one day noticed she has heavy silj web covering her egg sack but where did she go will she come back its very warm & we can't find her. Worried
julie 3 May, 2011 10:12
Thankyou for having such an excellent site and so much for the feedback. My husband & I have never seen this spider in Sydney before & have lived all around the city so we became attached :). I have kept an eye on first egg sac but am concerned that a leaf weaver spider has encased it. I dislodged it previously but it has returned. Our yard has been invaded by the leaf weavers & they are interesting but nowhere as magnificent as the Golden Orb
Andrea 3 May, 2011 12:11
We have had a Golden Orb spider on a large web between two small crabapple trees near our side fence for a couple of months. We have been watching her every day and my daughter has been taking photographs for a school project. The spider has always been there sitting in the middle of the web with a large trail of leftovers in a line behind her. Her abdomen was slowly getting larger all this time. Last week I went out to look at her and was worried when I saw she was not in the web, however I saw her moving in the branch of one of the trees the web is attached to, and then noticed the bright golden egg sac. For a day or two she looked very seedy and we thought she may be going to die. However she stayed in the tree seeming to try to secure the egg sac with more silk, and then moved back to sit in the centre of her web. Her abdomen is obviously much smaller than before she laid the eggs. We have all been quite excited to watch this process and are rather attached to the spider. The question now is whether the spiderlings will hatch before my daughter's project is due in a week or so, but it appears from previous entries that they will not hatch until spring.
justine 4 May, 2011 16:55
At first glance I thought the golden orb spider that has taken up residence in the laundry of my modern house in Altona, Melb. was ginormous due to the bundled skeletons trailing behind her. They looked like legs. She has been there for months now and doesn't mind me gazing at her at very close quarters. I would love to pat her. I feel very close to her and priveliged to think she trusts me enough to let me be so close to her. How long is she likely to live do you think.
Leonard Thomson 1 July, 2015 04:49
I live in Newcastle upon Tyne I found a male & a female inside of my garden kneeler its got a lid to it & I just discovered them. There a very flouresant gold. I've always been a bit wary of brightly coloured ones since I've seen a black widow these golden orbs about the same size.
Discovery Centre 5 May, 2011 17:21

Aaron, thanks for the feedback. The abundance of these is likely to be seasonal and linked to the wet summer we have recently experienced, which may have triggered an abundance of food resources. Unfortunately, if it is weather linked, the abundance can't be readily predicted (no more than the weather can, at least)

Hope that is of some help

Discovery Centre 7 May, 2011 13:23

Hi Chris, at this time of year, female Golden Orbweavers produce eggs and then die off as the cold weather approaches. You were right to observe that she decreased in size considerably as she offloaded her batch of eggs (which may have been her first or even second batch). One or two batches will be hidden somewhere in foliage at the edge of what was her web. The eggs will hatch in the next few weeks and the spiderlings will disperse to grow throughout spring and summer.

The males of this species are very small and not often seen, and die off much earlier in the year than the females. Some females are still around, but most have died off and the rest will disappear in the next couple of weeks.

Discovery Centre 7 May, 2011 13:31
Hi Justine, take a look at the response above that talks about the life spans of these great spiders!
Emily 9 May, 2011 13:47
There is a Golden Orb on the fence of the Northern Golf course in Glenroy, Melbourne. She has the biggest body I have ever seen on a spider! I have walked past her almost daily for 2 weeks and she has not moved.. Even at night! When would she be eating and repairing her web?
Magdel Jacobs 10 May, 2011 05:32
Thank you for all the info on the Golden Orb spider. I am in South Africa and this beautiful spiders are here from March till May.
Peter Martin 10 May, 2011 12:57
I have been lucky enough to have a huge GO Spider outside my bedroom window for some months now. I was worried a few weeks ago when she dissapeared for a few days, I thought a bird had got her. But her web is between 2 bushes and thanks to this site I now know she was laying her eggs and she returned 2 days later and continued to build her large web. This morning sadly we had a -3c snap and I think she is dead. I poked her when I left for work, but she was limp and lifeless. Im really sad because she was so beautiful, but Im now looking forward to seeing the youngsters after winter. Thanks for the great info.
Discovery Centre 11 May, 2011 16:23
Hi Emily - she would certainly have moved in those two weeks, it's just that you may not have been there to see it; the femaes tend to sit in the middle of the web as this is a good vantage point for them to seize prey that gets trapped in the web; they paralyse the insects that fly into their web, then eat them. Web repairs are done as needed; once again, she does do them, just when you aren't looking!
Catherine 16 May, 2011 08:52
These are great spiders! I'm at Cottles Bridge outside Melbourne and on 3 acres there must have been around 20 of these spiders this year. Never noticed them before. There was one near the house I really liked, but she disappeared from her nest a few weeks ago. Now I noticed tiny weeny spiders in her nest. Would they be her babies? Its great to see how people have taken to these amazing spiders!
Megan 16 May, 2011 14:25
Thankyou for the wonderful info and comments on this amazing spider. We have been enjoying our beautiful lady spider for some months in our Adelaide backyard. My son had one outside his classroom as well, which kept the children entertained. Interestingly they both disappeared around the same time, web gone too, and my quest to know what happened has lead me here. I have my answer and now can look forward to finding her babies when they grow. Happy spider watching folks!
Matt 17 May, 2011 13:33
I live in Northcote Victoria, and have one outside my bathroom window, she has just constructed her egg sac after a summer of gorging herself on bees and other large insects. Unfortunately our bathroom window doesn't close, and the egg sac is less than a metre from the window? Am I to expect the little throughout the bathroom once they break free??
rosalie dunne 19 May, 2011 23:09
Ilive in ararat in the western district of victoria...my GOB has been in my garden for quite a few months now,she has grown absolutely huge.her web goes from the top of my bedroom window to the shrubs below in the garden.she has anchors going everywhere .it is quite an untidy web though.the male disappeared about 3 days ago and she has been quite restless but tonight she has started to spin her egg sac.i have got quite excited to think she is laying her eggs.the only thing that disappointed me is that i,ve got to wait so long for them to hatch.
rosalie dunne 21 May, 2011 13:10
hi its me again,is it normal for her to tidy her web up after her egg laying as this is what she seems to be doing.Between making her sac n laying her eggs n tidying her web she seems to have worked nonstop since early thursday evening and it is now saturday afternoon.i will be quite sad when she dies as the winter gets very cold here :(
Discovery Centre 22 May, 2011 16:10

Hi Catherine, We have checked this out with the entomologist and she cannot be sure one way or the other.  She has advised that they may be her babies, although because the weather has cooled down considerably, it would be normal for the egg sac to wait until Spring to hatch.

Gillian 23 May, 2011 21:09
We live in south east melbourne and have had a large spider who has built their web on a bush in our garden. Its been there for several months now been identified as a golden orb weaving spider - she is amazing been keeping an eye on her had a large abdomen then noticed it had gone and a large golden egg sac has appeared she has now disappeared is this normal do they die after laying eggs? Got quite attached to her...
Discovery Centre 25 May, 2011 15:40
Hi Matt, thanks for your enquiry. The egg sac should hatch in late spring and the spiderlings will float away on the breeze to disperse. They drift off on the very slightest of air currents, which would normally take them away from your house, not towards it. There may be a couple of hundred eggs within the egg sac, from which a large proportion will hatch and disperse, but of these there would be very few, if any, that would make it through the bathroom window. Those that did make it inside would not find it a good place to build a web, and so would either not survive long or move back outside.
susan 4 June, 2011 16:42
Hello, I live in Adelaide and am lucky enough to be watching three Golden orbs do their thing this year, a rare thing, I have only ever seen one before now. They are magnificent, one has survived and reproduced with only 5 legs!! The biggest by far has a web over a meter wide with hundreds of ex flys etc decorating her web. It is now, winter and her web has changed, less gold and a bit sparse compared to before, she is getting old, I will miss her when she is no longer my kitchen muse. Her new life I look forward to, next season.
Terry Halmshaw 5 June, 2011 15:49
My Golden Orb Weaver has just made her egg sack and will die shortly. I would like your advice on preserving her (mounted) not in a jar of alcohol. I have found some sites for mounting Tarantulas but nothing for smaller spiders like my Charlotte. My idea is this, refrigerate her or freeze her until I have all the right components to preserve her, then thaw her out and using a syringe extract the contents of her abdomen and then use a geletin formula and inject that in place of her innards, now I pressume her abdomen will still decay so I would like some information on sealing it or her entire body from decay, one possible thought is hairspray, but I am not sure. Please help if you can, and contact me directly should you not want this published on your site. Thanks in advance. Terry.
luke 8 June, 2011 11:15
i have one that has built a web about 7 meters across my backyard, from one side fence to the other.....i think he is trying to catch me.
Tamzin 8 June, 2011 12:16
I am really sad to say that our golden orb spider died a few days ago after laying her third lot of eggs under our verandah guttering. She stayed with the egg sack as she had done before for a few days but soon I realised that she hadn't moved at all. I have so enjoyed watching her over the last 6 months.
Karen 12 June, 2011 19:36
Came across this website looking for answers to why my beautiful GOB died this week. She's been in our Adelaide hills garden for months strung between a tree and rosemary bushes with a web full of 'wrapped' bees, and I've enjoyed her company during my gardening sessions. Very cold here now so I have my answer as to why she died, I just hope she has laid an egg as I can't see one, I'll keep my fingers crossed for spring.
Gretchen 19 June, 2011 19:25
Hi, We live in Bendigo and we have a Golden Orb Spider egg sac at our back door. The mother spider has left lots of insect bodies in the web and over time the web has caught lots of little flying bugs. having read your site we now know we have to watch the sac until spring to see the baby spiders come out. Will they eat the remnant insects in the web? We have another Golden Orb spider near the carport its egg sac isnt so big but the spider wasnt either. It's nice to know there are lots of people doing what we are doing watching the web and wondering when the eggs will hatch.
maureen 23 June, 2011 16:19
I live in Crib Point and my family have spent the past months watching Michael (now known to be a Michelle) an Orb spider whose web was outside our patio window. Having spent my entire life being terrified of spiders I have now a changed attitude after watching this amazing creature tend her web and slowly organize her egg sac. She disappeared a few days ago and we will miss her. Never ever thought I'd say that about a spider!!
julie 11 July, 2011 10:16
Hi again my Golden Orb's egg sac has heaps of little spiders all over it 2 days ago & not many left now & sac doesn't look empty. I'm concerned as though its a mild Winter for Sydney, I'm not sure they will be ok. Can you let me know what you think about their chance of survival & if there would be anymore spiderlings in the sac? Thank you!!
Discovery Centre 4 August, 2011 09:08

Hi Corey, the spiders are not known to dismantle their webs, and can sometimes be seen hanging in a complete web just after death. In northern Victoria earlier this year, at the end of summer when most big females died of old age, dozens could be seen dangling from perfect webs throughout the bush.

Spiders spend a lot of time tending to their web, and following a spider’s death the web deteriorates surprisingly rapidly. This is because holes caused by leaves or twigs or flying insects are quickly repaired by the living spider, and smaller ongoing repairs also mitigate the effects of the elements (particularly wind) on the web. Once the spider is gone, the web starts to fall apart.

A second possible cause is that flying creatures with good eyesight, such as small birds, would avoid flying into a web if a spider as large as a Golden Orbweaver were present, but wouldn’t be able to spot the web as easily without the spider present. In the case where the spider is attacked by a bird, either the spider survives with a damaged or destroyed web, then soon repairs it, or the spider dies and the web disappears along with the spider.

Peter 6 August, 2011 11:01
The orb spider in my backyard is still hanging in there despite the cold. Her sisters died around 6-8 weeks ago. Her web is much smaller now and she appears a bit sluggish but still manages to catch something. She has been amazing to keep tabs on.
Sarah Turner 11 August, 2011 22:29
I have just set up a Golden Orb Spider Fan club on Facebook. The idea is to submit photo's of your Spider's. It is a bit like twitching except for the Golden Orb.
julie 15 August, 2011 10:12
Hi again from Sydney! my spiderlings are going great dispite the rain & cold. They have split into 2 main groups during the day & if very cold, join up together at night. There are a few brave ones that sit alone =)They are just fascinating.
Bob Scheffer 30 August, 2011 21:13
Amazing year for G.O.W.Spiders in the Elmore district. 6 in my yard in Elmore. 30 in one tree on Elmore Golf course. Most dead shrubs contained 3 to 5 spiders. They seem to prefer north-facing shrubs. Wattle plantation 15 kms west of Elmore: so many spiders and webs that you could't walk between the bushes. Numbers started to decline in March. Still a few left in July, plus lots of cocoons. I counted 3 still alive, 20-8-11. The greatest spider event I've ever witnessed in my 67 years.
Gretchen 9 November, 2011 07:16
the golden orb sack is just hanging there nothing is comingout of it does any one have an idea why. we think they might have died in side the egg but noone knows just yet.
Gretchen 17 November, 2011 19:20
we just got home and there is thousands of little spiders in the web so they hatched in late spring now we just have to wait for the other one near it. how do golden orb spider disperse?
Discovery Centre 19 November, 2011 13:23
Hi Gretchen, when the baby spiders emerge from the egg sac they will release a thread of silk from their abdomen enabling them to be carried by the wind to a new location in a process known as ballooning.
Gay 4 December, 2011 15:10
I have been fascinated by the beautiful golden web which the spider has built between our verandah and a couple of large trees. She has stretched the long leaves to form part of the web. Today though I noticed that the web is looking very ragged and forlorn and she seems to be only hanging on by her back legs. She managed to get under the eaves to get out of the rain, but doesn't look, dare I say it, like her usual self. I suspect that since she hasn't repaired her web that she is not well?
Vanessa 20 January, 2012 16:06
I have a beautiful Orb Weaver in the back garden, currently being courted by 2 nervous males. I did have 2 others out the front, both mature, but they both vanished on the same day in late December, webs left intact. What sort of predators do the Orb Weavers have to battle? Is it most likely that a bird ate them both?
Discovery Centre 21 January, 2012 12:28
Hi Vanessa, the most likely predator of orb spiders would be birds, or depending on how big the spider is some species of bat are known to take spiders. Some species of wasp will also capture spiders and sting them to paralyse them as a food source for the young wasps.   
Deb 28 July, 2015 11:36
Right now, I have wasps building their nest on a golden orb spider egg sac! I feel like I need to intervene.
Margaret 22 January, 2012 13:27
Our Golden Orb nest has just hatched, it was created in May 2011, does it normally take this long for them to hatch: http://alittlebitofkaos.blogspot.com/2012/01/we-have-golden-orb-babies.html
Discovery Centre 22 January, 2012 14:30
Hi Margaret, Golden Orbweaver spiderlings normally hatch in winter after being produced the previous summer. When the eggs are laid and when they hatch can depend on a number of environmental conditions, particularly the microclimate where the egg sac is deposited (how much sun it receives, whether it's next to a warm wall or in an especially cold spot, etc). Your eggs could be from last season, but the timing is unusually late. It could also be from this season - an early emerging female may have produced eggs prematurely and they've hatched early - but this is equally unlikely.

In either case, those are the only two options. Our best guess is that the eggs have been sheltered from sun through the current summer and it's taken a while for enough heat to accumulate within the egg sac.

Lara Keegan 13 February, 2012 02:07
help!! hi everyone, i am house sitting and have just been introduced to this fascinating spider. unfortunately she is building her web each night in between my front door and driveway! it is becoming very difficult to get in or out of the house after dark. she is not taking the web down at dawn, and is adding to it each night. yikes! please advise. i do not wish to harm her, and there are plenty others around the garden that i am happy to leave and observe. soon her web will be extending the width and height of my porch. would appreciate any feedback. thank you all muchly
Mandy 15 March, 2012 21:32
I am very surprised to read that these spiders only live for 18 months. A spider, which appears to have been around for several years, and now has a body the size of a 10 cent piece, puts the main supporting strand of its web from high up in a Cyprus pine to a tallish bush. If it makes the upper strand to low, we walk into it. At the present it is strung from at least 4 metres up the tree above the path. The web comes down in the morning, but the main strand, which must have cost a fair effort to put in place, stays put. The spider doesn't seem to mind us shining a torch on her. She stops momentarily and then goes on spinning. A couple of days ago an orb weaving spider of a somewhat different variety made the sad mistake of using her lower strands to build its own rather untidy web! That spider is now tied up in a neat bundle and suspended, probably as a warning.
Sammy 3 April, 2012 13:05
Hi there, it has been very interesting and informative reading all the comments and information about this...dare i say it...beautiful spider. I am terrified of spiders and so when i saw this spider that has spun its webs outside my daughters bedroom window i needed to find out more about it.. I must admit it is fascinating to look at. It has spun tis main web which is surrounded by lots of web lines that go from the spouting and anchored onto the neighbours fence. The web looks very strong indeed. Luckily my daughter doesnt share my fear of spiders and so i am quite happy to leave it there and continue to be in awe of its beauty.
Nat 12 April, 2012 22:32
Hi, I work at Wolf Blass in the Barossa and last year we had thousands of Golden Orbs set up house all thru' the tank farms. This year there are not as many but I had two at home in Truro. One is at the front of the hose and has become enormous. We all give her a wide berth to get to the cars. The second one was in the chook yard. The spider has disappeared and one of my hens has died, is this a coincidence or should I relocate the spiders in future? Although the whole family is aracnophobic we don't mind the Orb Weavers 'cos they tend to stay in the one spot and don't come in the house. They also do an awesome job on the insects.
Discovery Centre 13 April, 2012 14:38
Hi Nat, Golden Orb-weavers have no interest in chooks so I would assume the death is co-incidental. As you rightly say Golden Orb-weavers are great at keeping insect numbers down and they should stay in their webs. We get a large number of enquiries about these spiders each year and no-one that I remember has ever reported a bite. These spiders are quite passive.
Heather Johnson 30 May, 2012 22:05
My family and I have named our GOS Spooky. Spooky has been apart of the family for about 6 months. She was attacked recently and lost a leg, and weaves an amazing web and certainly was a web proud spider. Recently my 6 year old commented that spooky was looking a bit old. She was looking a bit sluggish and had moved from her normal stance in the middle of the web to a lightly lower position. She had been missing for the last 2 days and all of our visitors had noticed the missing family member. This forum has been a great way to learn about the life span, and being the end of autumn and studying her web, we have several egg sacs hiding under leaves and I dare say due to the cold weather spooky has died. Petrified I had to explain to my 6 year old Grace that Spooky has died. Grace responded ' Finally! We can now plant our new garden!!!!' LOL. We enjoyed watching this magic beauty and hope other one will find a home in our new garden once it's erected! ;)
aimee 7 June, 2012 18:51
i have a gilden orb down the side of my house that has been there about a year. then it stoped fixing its web and it is just sitting on a couple of strands of web what is rong with it?
Discovery Centre 10 June, 2012 10:31
Hi Aimee, these spiders live for about 12 - 18 months so if yours is at least a year old it may be that the spider is near the end of its life.


Rebecca 10 October, 2012 00:51
Hello I have 3 golden orb spiders in my garden in Karratha WA. I am wondering that as we have warm weather all year here how that affects the spiders life cycle. We are now coming into our hotter months. I seem to have 2 more mature females whose abdomen i have seen shrink and expand in size (? from laying eggs) and one smaller female who is getting bigger week by week. thanks for all the interesting information so far.
Discovery Centre 28 October, 2012 14:11
Hi Rebecca, many animal species with wide distributions can vary their seasonal behaviours over their range. In temperate areas, for example, a spider may disappear altogether over winter and only breed at the height of summer. In tropical areas, the same spider may be present and breeding all year round.

In hot climates where water is available all year round, the spiders are likely to continue to breed throughout the year but still have a period of peak breeding during summer. It's not surprising then, that you're seeing the spiders increase and decrease in size as they produce batches of eggs.

Wendy 19 December, 2012 08:45
We live in Warrnambool it's a bit colder this far south, but for the past two years have had the honour of having golden orb weavers in the garden. This years babies have just hatched out. When do they leave the nest/egg sack? As they tend to scatter out on some days and then contract back on other days. Can you give me more information on their early development?
Angela 25 December, 2012 06:10
hi i live in WA and have many golden orbs spanning a 3 metre area on the front window and garden of my house, i have counted 19, mostly female, about 1/3 male. I noticed one in particular over my window had grown so it's abdomen was about 3cm diameter and now it is smaller and there is a golden egg sac under my eaves. as there are so many, i was wondering if i should remove some or destroy the egg sac, I really don't want to but my fear of them getting in the house or taking over is driving me to want to do something about it. Ideally i'd like to find someone with a love of these orb weavers to come collect them and relocate them or use them to conduct research or something, please help? I don't want to kill them with bug spray.
Discovery Centre 26 December, 2012 10:47
Hi Angela, it is up to you but you don't need to worry about these spiders. The majority of the spiderlings that emerge from the egg sac will disperse from the area. These spiders are quite passive and we have never had a bite reported to the Museum that I can remember. They should also show no interest in moving inside your home. There will be a much greater volume of insects flying outside in the garden and the spiders will establish their webs where the greatest likelihood of catching food is.     
Discovery Centre 27 December, 2012 16:57
Hi Wendy, Golden Orbweaver spiderlings hatch from the eggs within the egg sac and remain there for some time before emerging into the outside world. The adult female usually includes a proportion of trophic eggs – infertile eggs that are eaten by the spiderlings as their first meal. Once outside the egg sac the spiderlings spread out and regroup many times, often in response to external stimuli such as passing shadows. After a period the spiderlings will spread out further and further, then send out fine strands of gossamer silk and balloon away individually on the slightest breeze, never to return.
Chrystal 29 January, 2013 03:14
Hi. I live in Welkom, South Africa and in the last week have discovered a spider has built her web near an outside room wall. I've discovered that it is an orb web spider, but not sure if it is the golden one because the wall behind her is white and it makes it difficult to see. I have learned a lot through reading all the comments here. Thank you. I am eagerly watching her progress.
Steven 12 February, 2013 17:16
Hi, I live in Perth WA and had a big nephila edulis with a huge web going from the top of a very large shed roof, to the top of my lemon tree. She died within the last 2 days after having been there for at least a year and a half - possibly closer to two years. I am just wondering, often times this large spider would have a swollen abdomen, looking very tight and full and maybe a week or so later, she would be very skinny and the skin sagging. But just as soon as she was skinny again, she would begin to fatten up within the next week or so. Does this mean she had been laying many clutches of eggs? I hope my spider friend had many babies and am just looking for a bit of closure on her life :)
Discovery Centre 19 February, 2013 16:35

Hi Steven - we checked with our Live Exhibits experts about this, and they have responded as follows:

Nephila edulis tend to produce only one egg sac per season, which explains why her abdomen inflated and deflated, but not why it did so repeatedly. A single egg sac may hold more than 380 eggs, so there will be plenty of offspring to carry on her legacy. Golden Orbweavers have a highly distensible abdomen which allows them to ingest large quantities of food when available and then digest it over several days. This may explain why she appeared tight and full, and then skinny and sagging, although it would be unusual for a spider to have access to very large meals at such regular intervals.

Sheryl :) 15 April, 2013 20:19
Hi discovery centre folk - just wanted to thank you for this great information - it's excellent! We actually live in NSW and also have an orb spider - nephila edulis. I was struck initially by her intricate web and the sheer magnificence of it. I immediately called our kids out to observe it. Ever since, we are all still watching her - she has grown HEAPS! And is actually looking a little scarey - so happy to read your info advising she is harmless. :) the web is still absolutely amazing and she has had many a feast there - with strings of skeletons. We've watched her devour one of those white citrus butterflies. The web is located right at the top of our front stairs and is attached to two camellia bushes and right across the stairway to the guttering of the house. Admittedly some of our human visitors are quite taken aback when we point her out, however they are getting used to her. I have been taking photos of her from when we first sighted her. Thanks again for your informative site :)
DavidB 22 May, 2013 19:21
I'm gutted. I recently sprayed surface antibug stuff around the outside of the house (VIC 3156), under the eaves etc..and the Orb Spider (probably about 6cm across) (which I now know what it was) unfortunately was a victim of my attempt to keep other bugs out. It was a beautiful spider with a large web...not sure how it go there however. Until doing some searching I had no idea what it was...only that it looked exotic and was really active and good at catching insects at night. Sorry Golden Orb Weaving spider...hopefully there are more around the property.
Bron 19 April, 2014 22:19
We live on the Gold Coast, and have been observing a number of Garden Orb weavers over the summer months. This afternoon, a large orb fell from the tree. We observed her regurgitate cloudy-clear fluid. She then curled up and has barely moved. There are a large number of wasps that swarm around the plants so we weren't sure whether a wasp stung her, or if she was just dying naturally. We moved her away from ants, hoping she was playing dead, but six hours later and she is still curled up. We're wondering how quickly a wasp sting would cause death in a spider as large as this (her abdomen is approx 25mm). Thanks, Bron
Discovery Centre 23 April, 2014 12:33

Hi Bron,

We don't know what type of wasps were present but at this time of year they are most likely to be Flower Wasps (Scolia soror) which feed on vines but not spiders. If wasps killed the spider, it would have been eaten or removed to be fed to wasp larvae in a nest. This time of year Golden Orbweavers also tend to die of old age as winter approaches, and the behaviour you described confims this as the most likely possibility.

Samantha milliken 20 July, 2014 09:15
My golden orb is awesome!, she has disappeared twice now we thought she had been taken by a bat , bird or cat .on the last disappearance her web was missing along with her , she went for 3 days then reappeared in a different patch of the garden , on the night of her disappearance we had caught and fed her a live cricket , she was wrapt , with her having caught such a large insect , would she have disappeared to eat it?
Rebecca 16 August, 2014 01:08
I live in South Carolina, and this morning I noticed that I have not one large golden orb, but 9 of them in my back yard. They are all within a few feet or inches of each other. I had a smaller orb that lived on my back porch last year that I had named Charlotte, but I have never seen so many of these spiders in such a close area. My next door neighbor also has a very large one in her yard. What could cause so many spiders to be in one area? I've lived here 8 years and have never had more than one or two a year.
Discovery Centre 16 August, 2014 10:56
Hi Rebecca, spider numbers can be influenced by a number of factors, for example if good conditions have led to an explosion in insect numbers then more prey may equal more spiders. Golden Orb-weavers can be locally common, in parts of Australia 30 Golden Orb-weavers can be found on a single dead tree.   
Annie 24 April, 2017 17:29
My Orb spider I named Agatha has disappeared yesterday. I need to know also if they use other areas of the garden. She spun her web at the same spot for weeks and I could see her camouflaged against a bush while she slept. I am worried where she is ?!!!
Chris 22 September, 2014 12:12
We live in Melbourne and have a tree that hosted a beautiful garden Orb spider last summer and autumn. Now that it is Spring, we have heaps of web-like single threads hanging from this tree with worm/caterpillar like creatures hanging from them. They also move along these threads. Are these baby Orbs or some other type of creature that simply attach themselves to these threads?
Discovery Centre 24 September, 2014 13:36

Hi Chris - we checked with our Live Exhibits crew about this, and they've replied as follows:

Orbweaver spiderlings tend to balloon away on their silk threads as soon as they are born, and there are no other creatures that would use the same threads. A number of species of caterpillars (usually moths) also use silken threads, so what you describe is most likely one of these.

Helen 6 November, 2014 20:36
I have one of these spiders in my backyard in WA right now.. you say they grow up 23mm... I don't understand that. The spider here is nearly 8cm including the legs. it's a big spider. most are that I find here. The web is about a metre wide.
Discovery Centre 7 November, 2014 14:53
Hi Helen - having spoken to an Entomology staff member, our conclusion is that "23mm" refers to the body length exclusive of legs!
Cheri 18 November, 2014 03:12
I live in South Carolina and I have enjoyed watching my Orb Spider since June of this year. She's made this amazingly intricate web that takes up my entire front doorway (we've been using the garage door instead of relocating her). She layed her egg sac in the upper corner of my front door. Her web protects it. Anyway, she layed the eggs in early September. We have had some crazy cold weather here the past week, but this morning I woke to 70's and humid. When I checked on my lady she had pretty much taken all but the top portion of her web down and the spiderlings are emerging. It looks as if she's cleared a path for them to leave without hitting her web. Isn't this too soon for them to come out? The weather is going to get cold again this week....in the 30's....and I'm worried they won't survive.
Alana 24 November, 2014 23:46
I'm from Brisbane and I think I may have seen one of these spiders..but I am not sure, do these spiders live in Queensland?
Discovery Centre 26 November, 2014 15:21
Hi Alana, there are a number of different species in the genus Nephila, but Nephila edulis is found in Queensland.
Dani 24 November, 2014 23:48
One of these spiders tried to lower itself onto my head..what was it trying to do? I always wondered ever since that day..
Tam 10 March, 2015 01:37
I've a orb spider in my garden and have grown quite attached to her, she is so beautiful and her intricate web is amazing. It made me think of the movie Charlotte s Web. I was enquiring about the spiders lifespan as I've grown quite attached and very protective over her, especially when my youngest son wanted to hthrow a rock at her! A simply beautiful creature.
Penelope 16 March, 2015 21:12
Thank-you for such a great site and all of the information that has been provided over the years. I have sat here this afternoon and read this page and had nigh all my questions answered. There is a lovely Garden Orb Spider living on my clothesline. She has taken up residence in a sock which was forgotten and not removed. I had been quite concerned it wasn't large enough to hide her from the birds and wasps during the day, yet she has done extremely well so far. The lovely lady has also laid her eggs and I am hopeful to see the little ones before they balloon away later this year. I wish they lived longer than 12-18months. They are such special spiders. The first one I saw decided it would build its web near the back door. It had chosen the only entrance/exit we had to the property so there was no going out at night. Eventually she moved further in & we had to pass within half a meter of her every time we left or returned to the house. She was such a lovely large lady. Absolutely beautiful. Mostly white with brown markings and red legs. I gained the impression that she moved so as to not be in the way of us humans wandering in and out. So intelligent. Did have one hanging across the driveway between the house roof and a large tree 18 months ago. Went to drive out and the web was connected to the ground in the mmiddle of the driveway and the spider was eating her meal, even though it was light outside and the birds were about. I stuck my nose in and gently used a branch to secure her in the tree where she could finish her meal in peace (hopefully). Did I do the right thing there? Would it have been best to leave her exposed in the web and drive out underneath her? The new one on the clothes line is brown with cream markings and what appear to be red legs. I stopped using the clothes line weeks ago so not to disturb her. What an amazing environment the backyard is! Thanks again for all of the top information. Please keep it up :-)
Penelope 16 March, 2015 21:16
Sorry, I neglected to say I live in Mount Waverley, Victoria. Thank-you! :-)
Shalise 23 April, 2015 16:01
My pony Zorro almost walked into one of their webs today and I got some nice pictures of it, so beautiful! Even one where it was making part of the web, I live in rural Victoria.
layla 7 May, 2015 07:45
Hey last summer we had a golden orb weaving spider in our front yard in our tree and she had an egg and when it got cold she died but a couple of days before her web started getting littler and littler and so it was let with a couple of strings of her web that her egg sac was on and so on a windy night it most have fallen and wasn't there anymore well I just found the egg and it seems to be hatching but they are on the floor and have no web and ants are trying to eat them because their web has an opening on the side but I think it was damaged what should I do?
Megan 8 March, 2016 18:39
Hi, I live in Brisbane, and we have a Golden Orb spider right outside our bedroom window, we named her Matty and she became our pet, and we loved her ever so dearly, until yesterday she just disappeared, I checked at various times of the day, and she still wasn't there, even though her web still was. Do you know what could have happened to her? She was like a pet to us, and we miss her, so if you could shed some light on this unfortunate event, that would be greatly appreciated! Thanks
Discovery Centre 24 March, 2016 10:52

Hi Megan,

Golden Orbweavers (Nephila species) are at their biggest during summer and this is the time females produce their golden egg sacs. They also tend to die off during autumn, leaving the egg sac to overwinter and hatch in early spring. Because they are larger at this time than the rest of the year, they are more easily spotted by birds and other predators, for which they (unfortunately for those that appreciate them) make a tasty meal. The bad news is that your spider was most likely taken by a bird or died of old age. The good news is that she probably secreted an egg sac somewhere nearby which will hatch later in the year and produce the next generation of orbweavers.

jenny peers 12 April, 2016 20:27
I have had golden orbs in my garden in Pinelands, Cape Town for the past two seasons. They arrive at the end of summer and take over the garden. I love the golden webs but many friends have no clue as to why I dont get rid of them. They are fascinating and I can watch them for hours. Unfortunately some are eaten by birds,but occasionally I rescue butterflies and once a babybird from the web which is really strong. Glad to see so many others love them as well.
Mary Ann Ghaffurian 11 May, 2016 22:48
For two Summers now, I have observed the Garden Orb on one tree beside the stairs leading from kitchen to garden. Not just the orb but also a spider that is similar in yellow, white and black markings, but stays curled in a leaf home. I have videoed their activities and become attached to them dearly. As children we were scared of spiders, and family used to kill any spider at first sighting, so it took a long time to become present to them and learn to observe, wait, watch and learn. I began this process with Hunstman spiders that occasionally came into our house in Blackburn, yet was determined to not be scared but allow them to "speak" and show me their ways. It was an initiation. The orb spider became the other main spider of this learning, and by very close observation of the spider/s, the egg cocoons which have been a very pale green, their hatchings, and the delight of the babies creating lines, then eventually little webs, a few in May remaining and steadying out the blasts of wind that are now coming our way. I have had many experiences of interactions and watchful learning, observing the spiders lives at all times of day or night. So many things have absolutely surprised me, leaving me quite frankly in awe of them. My large female left her web about 5 weeks ago and did not return. The last of the threads falling apart in winds last week. The leaf spider is still in her web, but the strong winds tear it apart now every day. There is less food and somehow she has lost two legs on one side, her web showing erratic pattern. I do not know what to feed her as the moths are now gone, and as winter approaches I observed last year larger spiders weaken and die about this time, or disappear. Half a dozen orb babies are weathering the winds and rebuilding daily. Did I say I am in awe of them? One thing is certain; they are sentient, and one can build a relationship with them. I am sure it has to do with wavelength, and if you know anything of resonance medicine, it is not surprising at all. I love reading other people's experiences, and have discovered that if you make the time to observe, every day, or night, there are things that will surprise you, tremendously. Their little lives are short and so every day for them is like a year, and so many things can happen in a day in a spider's life. I learnt that they love, if I may use the term, swaying in the warm breeze in the centres of their webs. If the wind is powerful, the small ones will undo their own webs, sometimes very rapidly, if a storm is whipping up, and remain clinging on a single strong line, jangled and shaken, rather than return to a branch, where probably predators may be. As the wind subsides, in the night they will rebuild a small glowing golden halo about them. Play a torch on the threads, marvelling at the beauty. The babies in mid-May, Mt Eliza area, building these little mandalas, are only about 2-3mm in body width and about 5mm with legs, so I do wonder how they make it throughout the winter with hardly any food - to grow into the magnificent adults we discover in Summer? That is the question. The adults, sorrowfully, do not seem to be able to make it through another season. I need to know more. Thanks to the tree near the kitchen window for relinquishing to me this previously secret activity among its branches, totally unknown before this.
Ruthie 16 March, 2017 10:13
I loved reading this. Thank you for sharing :)
jim bartlett 26 July, 2016 10:41
what is the life span of the golden orb spider
Michelle 26 January, 2017 16:46
I had a beautiful Golden Orb Weaver in my lime tree last year. She spent two days in about July making her egg sac, and I have looked out for the hatchlings but never seen any and the egg sac is still there. Could it be that they haven't hatched yet? Or could they have all died before hatching?
Discovery Centre 26 January, 2017 17:20
Hi Michelle, unfortunately, given the time that has passed it does sound unlikely that the spiderlings are going to emerge. Any number of things may have happened to them, the eggs may have been infertile or they may have been attacked by something.
Sherrill 2 February, 2017 22:38
We are in the foothills of Perth, Western Australia and we have a beautiful Golden Orb, who we've named Jewel, living in our front garden. She has a large egg sac which has been there since Christmas, how long do the eggs take to hatch?
Discovery Centre 10 February, 2017 15:56
Hi Sherrill, our manager of Live Exhibits has said eggs laid by Golden Orbs during summer can hatch in a matter of weeks, if the weather is favourable; during autumn, the spiderlings hatch and disperse by ballooning - floating on the breeze using small silk strands as "balloons", they then build their own webs in vegetation and wait out the winter. Eggs laid later in the season, autumn, or if weather conditions haven’t been favourable, will take several months to hatch, the eggs and spiderlings can overwinter inside the silk casing until more favourable weather conditions.
Elki 17 February, 2017 17:26
Hiya =) We had the massive fortune of having a young female choose to create her web between the front wall of our house and the flourishing bush 800mm away from wall. I've never seen a GOS set up shop so close to home! In Adelaide this year it has been a mild very wet then warm summer! Very unusual for us, yet it has produced our flamboyant garden and this gorgeous female who we called pearl for the string of dead insects she strung like a pearl necklace...all latticed up in her web that could take out my husband. We have observed her weave this elaborate multi layered web end of Dec she was smaller then. Then she beefed up and got bigger really quite quickly. I corellate her growth with the string of pearls that grew exponentially with her size. Then this morning she vanished, web and all. Her string of pearls were hanging limply on the bush. My question is, where did she go, and where did that superweb go? Did she eat it? I understand she would have spun her egg sack and concealed it, but what did she do with her web, it was epic!! There's no sign it ever existed. and if she did, she's a tidy girl lol.
Betty Millett 26 April, 2017 13:48
We are in Seymour Vic. and have a beautiful Golden Orb spider outside our bedroom window. She has one front leg missing.I caught a white cabbage moth and dropped it into the web. In no time she had spun a web around it.
MbryNt 30 April, 2017 18:07
Hi we had a golden ord that today yhe entire web and spider are gone all that is left if skletal food sack and 2 egg sacks. What happened to the spider We live in adelaide
LenC 2 May, 2017 12:51
I have had the same experience as MbryNt above. This morning (2 May) the entire web and spider have vanished leaving 2 golden egg sacks in an apple tree.We're in the adelaide hills. Your 2008 photo looks exactly like our spider.
Keryn Wilkins 18 May, 2017 14:41
I have just had the most wonderful season observing my resident GOS in my back yard, strung in a corner between a fence, bushes and sometimes clothes line. She was at eye level which made it even better. Daily my grandchildren and I would check her out, find caterpillars or other bugs to feed to her. 2 tiny males occupied opposite corners of her web with their own tiny webs. While she was busy feeding they attempted to mate with her but she only had to wriggle a back leg slightly and they would nervously skuttle away out of reach so they didn't get eaten. Eventually one in position was brave enough to mate with her! The strangest thing with the difference in body parts! He was only about one third of just her body. He could have dissapeared and not even missed. Sadly after a trip away at Easter time we returned to find her missing and the golden web in disrepair. Then just yesterday while trimming trees, I found a beautiful golden cocoon very high up in a tree. It could only be GOS egg sack. It is the first time I've seen GOS's in Willaston SA but I have seen 100s at Bellata NSW at my sisters farm. Thankyou for stories and info from other enthusiasts.
Holly Maxted 25 May, 2017 07:25
We have a beautiful golden orb weaver that has set up her web between our veranda post and palm tree. My children love coming out to check on her multiple times a day. They have named her orbie wan canobie lol She has been set up here since around January, slowly growing and expanding her web. I have noticed night time seems to be her most active as this is when she climbs around doing her web repairs. Over the last two weeks a few males have set up around the corners too. Just tonight i noticed that she is missing 😢 I hope she is just off making her egg sack. It has been a wonderful experience for myself and my boys to track her progress and watch her grow. I have many photo's and also video's of her fixing her web and catching numerous things to eat and wrap. We are located in Blakeview South Australia. Thank you for all your wonderful information ☺
Holly Maxted 25 May, 2017 16:13
She came back, orbie came back lol I think she must have been making her egg sack because her body is a whole lot smaller now. Yayy, my boys are so happy she has returned!!
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