This giant spider is not just known for eating birds. The massive golden silk orb-weaver spider spins a web that is considered magical!
Rumpelstiltskin’s got nothing on the golden silk orb-weaver spider when it comes to spinning golden thread. This spider doesn't even need straw as a raw material. Among it’s many other amazing uses, it’s silk can even repair human nerve cells.
They are more commonly known as banana spiders, not to be confused with the Brazilian wandering spider which is the world’s deadliest spider, these banana spiders live in the warmer areas of the Americas from North Carolina to Argentina.
Their genus name nephila in Ancient Greek means “fond of spinning” but their origin is way older then Ancient Greek times.
Nephila spiders are the oldest surviving spider genus in the world, dating back 165 million years to the middle Jurassic period, so maybe they’ll throw them in the next Jurassic Park Sequel.
Now they may not be Jurassic sized like the giant huntsman spider, the largest spider in the world, but a 2 and ¾ inch banana spider was seen catching, killing, and eating an entire finch, and another one in Queensland Australia was seen killing and eating a foot and a half long brown tree snake.
Golden orb-weavers have a venom with a neurotoxic effect similar to black widow spider but MUCH less powerful. If one bit YOU, the redness and swelling would be gone in about a day. People have described the bite as being much less severe than even a bee sting.
Speaking of bees let’s talk about the AMAZING strength AND uses for the silk orb-weavers webbing.
With the thickness of a human hair It has the strength to stop a bee flying 12.5 mph, almost twice the top speed of a house fly. It’s 6 x stronger than steel and even stronger then Kevlar, but possibly it’s best quality is that it’s very stretchy.
These three qualities has lent too a WIDE variety of uses for the spider’s silk webbing. It’s been used to produce the cross hairs in microscope eyepieces, spun into violin strings in Japan, and even used to make an entire golden cape.
Fisherman in the indo-pacific ocean ball it up and throw it into the water where it expands to become a net to catch bait fish, and natives in the South Pacific eat the pregnant females, raw or roasted, as a protein supplement.
The most amazing potential use for the golden silk orb-weaver’s webbing is in the field of medicine. Research is being done involving the growth of nerve cells ON the web filaments, and then using those as nerve grafts.
The beauty is that the immune system doesn’t recognize the silk so the body won’t attack or reject it. Now there’s a spider that can be called a productive member of society.
World's Deadliest Spider http://youtu.be/pQYWBmk_V2g
World's Largest Spider http://youtu.be/gths8z60j_w
Videos (Creative Commons Attribution):
-Materials in Motion: Super Elastic Plastic©Alli Dryer Vimeo