Golden Silk Spider
The Golden Silk Spider (Nephila clavipes) is a species of orbweaver spider. It is found in the warmer regions of the Americas. In the United States, this species ranges throughout the coastal southeast and inland, from North Carolina to Texas. In many areas its distribution is somewhat localized and may be absent in many areas over wide areas. In some arboreal or swampy areas, adults and their webs can be found in large concentrations, especially near the coast. This species is also widespread and probably more common in large parts of Central America and warmer regions of South America.
The female is larger than the male. The web of the mature female can reach up to 39 inches in width. The yellow threads appear golden colored in the sunlight. The males come into the female’s web for copulating. After mating the female spins an egg sac on a tree and lays hundreds of eggs in one sac. While venomous to humans, this spider will only bite if pinched, and if doing so, the bite is usually harmless.
The silk of this species has been used to help mammalian neuronal regeneration. Experiments showed that a single thread of silk can lead a severed neuron through the body to the site it was severed from. The silk has a tensile strength that exceeds that of steel by a factor of six. It is not recognized by the immune system and has antibacterial properties.