Spiders > Australian Golden Orb Weaver Spider | Female | Male

The male and female of the Australian Golden Orb-Weaving Spider are very different in size, this gender difference is known as “sexual dimorphism”. Whilst the female are fairly large, usually between 2 to 4 centimetres in size, the males reach a maximum size of 6 millimetres.

As well as the size difference, the male Australian Golden Orb Weaving Spider also looks very different to the female of the species.

Male Australian Golden Orb Weaver Spider (Trichonephila edulis), Alice Springs Desert Park, NT
Male Australian Golden Orb Weaver Spider (Trichonephila edulis), Alice Springs Desert Park, NT

It has been documented that the female Golden Orb Spider will eat the male spiders, given the opportunity. A strategy used by the male spiders of the species to avoid being a meal, is to hang around on the periphery of the web, then when the female is preoccupied with a prey caught in the web, the male will move quickly onto the female for copulation. It has been documented that the female Inland Golden Orb Spider, are less combative, meaning a higher survival rate for the males.1

You can see the size difference in the following images, not only between the female and the male, but the male and the male. In the following two images with the larger female at the top of the image, at the centre bottom is a smaller, but large male spider and left corner bottom of the image is a much smaller male spider.

The Australian Golden Orb Weaver Spider (Trichonephila edulis, was previously classified under the genus Nephila edulis) is a fairly large spider that can be found throughout Australia, from coast to inland. The Australian Golden Orb Weaver Spider is also known by the shortened form of Golden Orb or Golden Orb Weaver.

Male Australian Golden Orb Weaver Spider (Trichonephila edulis), Alice Springs Desert Park, NT
Male Australian Golden Orb Weaver Spider (Trichonephila edulis), Alice Springs Desert Park, NT

The following male Golden Orb spider was on the web of the young female Australian Golden Orb Weaver Spider in the next set of images after it.

The Golden Orb Weaving Spider have a wide range throughout Australia, from coastal to inland Australia.

You can see more images of the Golden Orb on our Birthday Waterhole Fauna page and our Fauna Spiders section – Australian Golden Orb Weaver Spider.

Also check out our blog… A tangled web…



  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Arachnida
  • Order: Araneae
  • Infraorder: Araneomorphae
  • Family: Araneidae
  • Genus: Trichonephila
  • Species: T. edulis
  • Binomial name: Trichonephila edulis
  • Synonyms:
    • Aranea edulis
    • Epeira edulis
    • Nephila edulis
    • Nephila imperatrix
    • Nephila eremiana

Footnote & References

  1. Making love can be a real sacrifice, Mariella Herberstein (Macquarie University), 11 August 2003;
    Female golden orb web spiders living further inland, Dr Jutta Schneider (Bonn University, Germany), Dr Mark Elgar (Melbourne University, Australia), The Sydney Morning Herald, https://www.smh.com.au/national/making-love-can-be-a-real-sacrifice-20030811-gdh8ka.html