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Janes Golden OrbPhoto credit : Jane Taylor

My neighbor came out her back door to find that a Golden Orb spider had spun the most glorious web across the face of the door with delicate yet leathery glittering golden web.

The Scenic South  had this to say :

As recently as three years ago the gardens of friends and neighbours in the South Peninsula of Cape Town were suddenly host to a different garden spider with a truly impressive layered golden web.  The newcomer is the Golden Orb-web Spider (Nephila fenestra).  While they are indigenous to the Western Cape, until a few years ago Golden orb web spiders were only found east of the Overberg.  Apparently by the late 1990s, they had made their way to Sir Lowry’s Pass and are now fairly common throughout the South Peninsula.  They favour trees and tall shrubs but also use buildings to anchor their huge webs.  I find it amazing – almost a mystery – the way a creature the size of a spider can populate a new and vast area in a relatively short time.  What are the advantages for them?  It can’t be the proverbial Bright City Lights as they are most active in the day!!

The Golden Orb-web Spider (Nephila fenestra) is one of the three largest spiders occurring in our gardens in the South Peninsula of Cape Town.  While their large size may be off-putting, they are neither venomous nor aggressive.  The other two large spiders are the Garden Spider (Argiope australis) also an orb web spider and the Rain Spider (Palystes castaneus) which does not make a web but prefers to hunt on the run.  All these large garden spiders add interest to our urban habitat, and `pay’ their way by catching a variety of insects, many of which gardeners consider to be pests.

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