A-z - Animals

What is a Florida Banana Spider?

Keep reading to watch this amazing video

Banana spiders are a unique species in the tropics of the world. They get their name from the yellow and black color that resembles the color of a banana. They also spin banana-colored silk into giant yellow webs! Certain species of this unique yellow spider originated in South and Central America. Despite this, a particular type of banana spider lives in Florida. What Are Florida Banana Spiders and How Are They Different? Read on to discover more about these incredible yellow spiders!

Yellow orb weaver in the garden
Florida banana spiders are usually golden orbs.

©Denis Vesely/Shutterstock.com

What is a Florida Banana Spider?

Florida's famous banana spider is known as the golden orb. This spider is also sometimes called a banana spider or a writing spider. It is one of the largest spiders in Florida, measuring about 1.5 inches (4 cm) long with a leg span of up to 5 inches (13 cm). Female banana spiders of this species are usually much larger than males.

The yellow color is what makes this spider so unique among many other arachnids. Golden Silk Orb Weaver is named for the yellow color of its silk and the large, round webs it weaves.

This particular banana spider is usually not dangerous to humans, but a bite may cause localized swelling and pain.

banana spider in the web
Banana spider webs are made of yellow spider silk.


How do they make the yellow web?

The Golden Silk Orb Weaver is an expert at weaving webs of bright yellow silk. It first turns the central silk spiral, which is then covered with a sticky substance. The Golden Silk Orb Weaver is then rotated from the center outward to create concentric circles of non-stick silk. This movement is how their webs become spherical. Finally, this banana spider covers the entire web with another layer of sticky silk, ensuring that prey cannot escape. Beautiful and strong, this stunning spider web is the perfect trap for catching unsuspecting insects.

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Where Do Florida Banana Spiders Live?

In addition to calling Florida home, Golden Silk Orb Weavers live in other Southern and Gulf states in North America.

But these spiders live in multiple countries and continents. Here is a list of countries where this banana spider can be found:

  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Australia
  • Central America
  • madagascar
  • North America (mainly southern and Gulf countries)
  • South America
  • west indies

Golden Silk Orb Weavers live in wooded areas and gardens, weaving webs between trees, shrubs, and other vegetation. The first report of banana spiders being introduced to the United States appeared in 1862. Since then, the species has gradually migrated to more northerly environments. Their northern boundary is currently in states such as North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas.

A garden spider spins a web around a spotted lanternfly
Orb weaver spiders eat a lot of flying insects.


What do Golden Silk Orb Weavers eat?

Florida banana spiders have been known to eat a variety of insects and arthropods. However, they mainly prey on flying insects. Their favorite foods include bees, flies, and wasps, but golden weavers will occasionally eat dragonflies and beetles.

Due to their diet, Golden Silk Orb Weavers play an important role in controlling populations of certain harmful insects.

Here is a list of some banana spider favorite foods:

  • bee
  • beetle
  • Butterfly
  • dragonfly
  • cricket
  • fly
  • Leaf Foot
  • locust
  • grasshopper
  • mosquito
  • moth
  • bed bugs
  • wasp
Banana spider close-up
Florida banana spiders make huge webs.

© Yaping/Shutterstock.com

How Do Florida Banana Spiders Reproduce?

Golden Silk Orb Weaver spiders typically mate in the fall, just before the female dies. A male spider will approach a female and touch her with his tiny pedipalps, which are leg-like appendages near the mouth. This action triggers the release of the web from the female's abdomen, which the male then uses to pull the female towards him.

Once two spiders get close enough, they mate. Later, the female lays eggs, which are then wrapped in silk and attached to a web. The eggs hatch after about two weeks, and the spiderlings scatter to form webs.

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Are Golden Silk Orb Weavers Dangerous to Humans?

Banana spiders are generally not dangerous to humans, but their bites can be a bit painful. The bite may feel similar to a bee sting, with some swelling and redness at the bite site.

Unless someone is allergic to the mild venom, a bite from this yellow spider should not require first aid.

Can you keep golden orb weaver spiders as pets?

Golden Silk Orb Weaver Spiders are beautiful, docile creatures that make great pets. They are easy to care for and don't require much space. Here are some tips for keeping golden weavers as pets:

1. Provide a large vented tank or enclosure. Golden Silk Orb Weavers need room to spin their webs, so make sure their tank is large enough to move freely.

2. Give them enough places to hide. Florida banana spiders like to feel safe and secure, so provide them with plenty of hiding places. Some hiding spaces are created by adding plants, branches or other objects to the tank.

3. Keep the water tank clean. Golden Silk Orb Weavers are sensitive to the environment so it is very important to keep the aquarium clean and free of any toxins or chemicals. Use safe cleaning products and provide fresh water at all times.

4. Feed them live insects. Golden Silk Orb Weavers are carnivorous and need to eat live insects to survive. Therefore, provide them with a variety of insects such as crickets, mealworms and flies.

5. Handle with care. Golden Silk Orb Weavers are delicate creatures and should be handled with care. Be gentle when holding them, never grab or squeeze them.

By following these spider care tips, you can successfully keep golden orb weaver spiders as pets. Plus, these spiders are great companions for arachnid lovers.

Banana spider isolated
Banana spiders are common in several countries, including Central America and Madagascar.

©Chalermchai Chamnanyon/Shutterstock.com

The Art of Banana Spider Silk

Did you know that some people gather the webs of golden orb spiders to make golden clothes? This is real! A group of weavers in Madagascar wove a shawl entirely from the yellow silk of two million of these spiders. The shawl is an important work of art, exhibited in museums around the world.

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Golden Orb Weavers live near the rivers in Madagascar. The large nets they build can span 10 feet wide! This spider web is one of the strongest natural fibers known. Woven spider silk is stronger than steel and Kevlar, making it an ideal material for durable clothing.

Weavers harvest yellow spider silk in two ways. First, part of the team collected spider webs locally. Other team members then gently extract silk from the collected spiders in a facility equipped with looms. The spiders were not harmed during the process of removing the silk by hand. Once collected, silk is woven into thread and cloth.

The process of creating the golden shawl took nearly four years to complete. Every inch of the cloak is made from spider silk, including the tassels.

The resulting cloth is extremely strong and beautiful. No wonder a golden shawl made of this cloth is a precious work of art. Who knows, maybe one day you'll own a garment made from the filaments of an orb spider!

Writing spider isolated
The writing spider is another name for the Florida banana spider.


Florida Banana Spiders are fascinating!

Florida banana spiders are unique and fascinating creatures. From their giant round webs to their pretty yellow silk, these spiders have left a remarkable mark on the arachnid world. In addition, the large gold thread looms are uniquely colored and thankfully non-toxic to humans. Therefore, this spider is well suited to captivity with proper care and equipment.

If you spot this banana spider in Florida or elsewhere, respect its space and watch it work its magic. What a treat to see the female weave her intricate yellow web into stunning circular designs.


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