Silk spider

In World of the Insect at the Cincinnati Zoo.

The impressive golden silk spider (Nephila madagascariensis) builds a large orb web to trap small flying and jumping animals. Victims are quickly wrapped in silk, subdued with a venomous bite, and then eaten. The male is relatively tiny (half-inch leg span) and short lived. Somewhat like a parasite, he feeds on small prey captured in his much larger mate’s web.


  • Where to see them: Madagascar
  • Lifespan: 6 months
  • Ecological Role: Predator
  • Habitat: Tropical rainforest
  • Diet: Insects and small frogs
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