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

Males of the Australian Golden Orb Weaver Spider (Trichonephila edulis) are dimorphic, ie there are very large male spiders and also tiny male spiders, both can often be found in the same orb web.

In the following, you can see the size of the large male, who is very close to the female Australian Golden Orb Weaver. The body length of this particular male Golden Orb Weaver was approximately 3/4 the length of the female Golden Orb body.

Female and large male Australian Golden Orb Weaver Spider (Trichonephila edulis), Alice Springs NT
Female and large male Australian Golden Orb Weaver Spider (Trichonephila edulis), Olive Pink Botanic Garden NT

Usually most people would not even notice the typical male Australian Golden Orb Weaver, as they are often quite small, being no more then 7 mm in length. This is compared to the average size female that can be 40 mm in length, quite a size difference. The orb web may also have more then one male spider, often hanging around the perimeter of the web (far enough from the female, so as to not become a meal package).

Female and male Australian Golden Orb Weaver Spider (Trichonephila edulis), Alice Springs NT
Female and male Australian Golden Orb Weaver Spider (Trichonephila edulis), Alice Springs NT

The small male pictured here appears to be quite game, trying to pick the right moment when to mate with the female…

It is quite something to see a large male Golden Orb Weaver (Trichonephila edulis). They are distinctively different to the female, and still agile enough to stay out of her reach.

Large male Australian Golden Orb Weaver Spider (Trichonephila edulis), Alice Springs NT
Large male Australian Golden Orb Weaver Spider (Trichonephila edulis), Olive Pink Botanic Garden NT

The body length of the following male Australian Golden Orb Weaver was approximately 1.5 cm (not including the length of the legs).

Large male Australian Golden Orb Weaver Spider (Trichonephila edulis), Alice Springs NT
Large male Australian Golden Orb Weaver Spider (Trichonephila edulis), Alice Springs NT

A special treat to also photograph the underside of this large male T. edulis.

Large male Australian Golden Orb Weaver Spider (Trichonephila edulis), Alice Springs NT
The ventral view of a large male Australian Golden Orb Weaver Spider (Trichonephila edulis), Alice Springs NT

Footnote & References

  1. Many thanks to Matthew Connors for his input on the sizes of the dimorphic males, member of Entomology Australia “Invertebratology”, Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/507004496955277/

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

SpidersIndex of Spider Images Araneidae — Orb Weavers Arkys Australian Huntsman Spider Barking Spider Black House Spider Carepalxis sp Celaenia sp Crab Spiders Deinopidae — Net-casting Spiders Dolomedes sp Dolophones sp Flower Spiders Hackled Orbweavers (Uloboridae) Jewel Spider Jumping Spider Long Jawed Spider (Tetragnatha sp) Lynx Spider (Oxyopes) Mangrovia albida Maratus volans Missulena occatoria (Red-headed Mouse Spider) Miturgidae Nicodamidae (Red and Black Spider) Ogre-faced Net-casting Spider Poltys sp (Twig Spider) Redback Spider Scorpion-tailed Spider (Arachnura higginsi) Thomisidae Tiger Spider (Trichonephila plumipes) White-spotted Swift Spider (Nyssus albopunctatus) Wolf Spider