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20110322Da_EL_003=_MG_13104-Golden-Orb-Weaver-Spider-mating-EL+PS.jpg
The smaller male Golden Orb Weaver (at tip of female's right hind leg) cautiously approaches the gravid female to mate with her. After mating the female frequently eats the male; confusing him with food items vibrating the web. The male's pedipalps are swollen with a sperm bundle which he has transferred from his genital opening. During mating this sperm bundle is injected into the female's genital opening; the male then scurries away. The beautiful golden colour of the web filaments gives the species its name. Above and to the left is a second species of spider, scavenging on food on the Orb Weaver's web = commensal behaviour.// Golden Orb Weaver Spider - Nephilidae: Nephila ?plumipes.  Female body to 25mm diameter when full of eggs, leg-span to 200mm; male body to 6mm diameter; legspan to 25mm; Guy-lines for the 60-100cm diameter web may reach to 5m or more from the orb; and are often multi-stranded; and of a deep iridescent golden colour; Widespread in warmer-climate areas of Australia; Asia; Africa; America.   //Eric Lindgren//