Australian Golden Orb WeaverFemale Male Dimorphic Males Juvenile to Mature Female Moult Prey Web of Sex Egg Sac Web

The Australian Golden Orb Weaver Spider (Trichonephila edulis, previously classified under the genus Nephila edulis) is a fairly large spider that has a wide range, being found throughout coastal, inland Australia and Western Australia.

Also known as the Golden Orb-weaver Spider, the species has a large variable body size, it is the female of the species whose body can reach up to 40 mm length, whilst the male of the species is small in comparison, about just 7 mm in length, although some males are large, known to be a couple of centimetres in body length.

The cephalothorax (the fused head and thorax of a spider) is black with a white pattern on the back, and a yellow underside; the abdomen is grey to brown.

Australian Golden Orb Weaver Spider (Trichonephila edulis)
Australian Golden Orb Weaver Spider (Trichonephila edulis)

The web is often 1 metre in diameter and is protected on one or both sides of the web by a “barrier” web. Young and smaller female Australian Golden Orb Weaver may build smaller versions of webs (depending on location), and the web may appear a bit more chaotic (especially in cramp surrounds). The spider breeds between February to May (this will vary in different parts of Australia and can be subject to food availability and climatic conditions), and can produce on average over 300 eggs.

Web of an Australian Golden Orb Weaver Spider (Trichonephila edulis), Alice Springs NT
Messy web of an Australian Golden Orb Weaver Spider (Trichonephila edulis), Alice Springs NT

Common name
Whilst the common name is Australian Golden Orb Weaver, it is also found in parts of New Guinea and New Caledonia. Other alternative spelling include Golden Orb Weaving Spider and Golden Orb-Weaver Spider. It is also known by the shortened form of Golden Orb or Golden Orb Weaver.

The word edulis is an Latin word whose meaning relates to edible, eatable. French naturalist Jacques Labillardiere gave the name in 1799 after seeing the spiders roasted and eaten in New Caledonia. Other species of Nephila are also eaten in Thailand (where they are served raw and cooked), and in Papua and New Guinea (where they are fire-roasted).

The species Nephila edulis was first collected and named by Jacques Labillardiere, in Relation du Voyage à la Recherche de la Pérouse (1799),1 becoming the second Australian spider to be described by a European naturalist.2 The first was Gasteracantha fornicata (Northern Jewelled Spider).

The genus Trichonephila (a group of orb-weaver spiders) was first described by Friedrich Dahl in 1911, as a subgenus of Nephila. Trichonephila has been elevated to the level of genus by Kuntner et al. in 2019.3

You can also see images of the Australian Golden Orb Weaver Spider:

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  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Arachnida
  • Order: Araneae
  • Suborder: Araneomorphae
  • Infraorder: Entelegynae
  • Superfamily: Araneoidea
  • Family: Araneidae
  • Subfamily: Nephilinae
  • Genus: Trichonephila
  • Species: Trichonephila edulis
  • Synonyms:
    • Aranea edulis
    • Epeira edulis
    • Nephila edulis
    • Nephila imperatrix
    • Nephila eremiana
Australian Golden Orb Weaver (Trichonephila edulis), Alice Springs NT
Australian Golden Orb Weaver (Trichonephila edulis), Alice Springs NT

Footnote & References

  1. Labillardière, J. 1799. Relation du voyage à la recherche de La Pérouse, fait par ordre de l’Assemblée constituante. Paris Vol. 2 pp. 240-241,
  2. Davies, Valerie Todd; et al. (30 Mar 2006). “Order Araneae: Spiders“. Australian Faunal Directory. Government of Australia. Retrieved 2009-03-06.
  3. Trichonephila, (last visited Jan. 11, 2023).
  4. Australian Golden Orbweaver (Trichonephila edulis), iNaturalistAU,
  5. Golden Orb Weaving Spiders (Alternative name/s: Golden Orb Weaver), Australian Museum,
  6. Nephila edulis (Labillardière, 1799) Australian Golden Orb Weaver,,
  7. Golden orb-weaver, The Find-A-Spider Guide For The Spiders Of Southern Queensland,
  8. The tasty spider by Tim Low, 8 August 2016, Australian Geographic,
  9. Meet the Golden Orb Weaving Spider, Western Australian Musuem,

Australian Golden Orb WeaverFemale Golden Orb Weaver Male Golden Orb Weaver Golden Orb Weaver Dimorphic Males Juvenile to Mature Female Golden Orb Weaver Golden Orb Weaver Moult Golden Orb Weaver Prey Golden Orb Weaver Web of Sex Golden Orb Weaver Egg Sac Golden Orb Weaver Web

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