Monday, March 29, 2010

This is Nephila clavipes, the Golden Silk Spider or Banana Spider. Their silk is actually golden yellow in color at times and their abdomen does look sort of like a small banana. This one has caught a relatively large dragonfly and I have seen one catch an anole, which is a type of lizard. Males are much, much smaller than females, which is common with many insects and spiders as for many species the males are not necessary to protect the young and a bigger body can produce more eggs, as well as protect them. (Yes, males don't matter very much in these species. :) When there is a difference in size or shape between the sexes, it is termed "sexual dimorphism", meaning basically two different shapes. The silk of these spiders is so strong, more so than steel, and stretchable that it was investigated as a material for making bulletproof vests! You are not going to believe this, but goats have been genetically engineered to produce spider silk proteins for something called "biosteel". (see here Spider goat, spider goat, does whatever a spider goat does; spins a web...


  1. so how does spider-man make his web fluid?

  2. Spiderman is only real in pretend life, not real life. :) Maybe he has some of the gengineered goats?