Stumbled upon this female giant wood spider about to devour its prey while I was photo walking in a local forest reserve park. I didn’t know what species it was then, just that it looked rather big with distinctly long legs, until I researched it. I would have liked to photograph it from various angles but it wasn’t to be, it has set itself up nicely at the edge of a precarious steep slope with its front facing me; too difficult and risky for me to maneuver around it and vary my shots. I resigned myself to where I was and watched the drama unfold. I didn’t bother with the tripod either, shot handheld, as it would take a while to set it up given the environment and I did not want to miss the crucial moment. Therefore, please excuse the slight poor focus in the first photo.
Commonly found in the tropics from Africa, India, China, Japan across Southeast Asia to Northern Australia and the South Pacific islands, the female giant wood spiders (nephila maculata) are easily distinguished by their shiny legs and yellow or red ‘patches’ at their joints. Another distinguishing feature is the large orb webs they build.
As the giant wood spiders favourite diet are large flying insects, their webs are strongly constructed to entrap them with ease. In fact, they make the largest and strongest web among all spiders, some lasting several years. Its silk is almost as strong as Kevlar, currently the strongest man made material available. Webs can reach up to a length of 6m and 2m wide. Due to its silk golden sheen, it also popularly known as the golden orb web spider. The female giant wood spiders are large, spanning 20cm from toe to toe, with a body about 3-5 cm in length; dwarfing the males by a factor of ten or more! How’s that for female supremacy.
All photos: Fujifilm X-E1 with XF 55-200mm