Photographs of the American Banana or Golden Silk spider taken at the Esplanade park in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Florida USA on 29 June 2011.

Nephila clavipes (Lat. clavis "lock pick" + pedis "foot") is a species of golden orb-web spider. It lives in the warmer regions of the Americas. The large size and bright colours of the species make it distinctive. The female is much larger than the male.

In the United States, it ranges throughout the coastal southeast and inland, from North Carolina to Texas. The web of a mature female can reach one meter in width, the yellow threads appearing as a rich gold in sunlight. Males come into the female's web for copulating. After mating the female spins an egg sac on a tree, laying hundreds of eggs in one sac. While it is venomous to humans, it will only bite if pinched, and if doing so, the bite is usually relatively harmless and only leads to slight redness and localized pain.

The silk of N. clavipes has recently been used to help in mammalian neuronal regeneration. In vitro experiments showed that a single thread of silk can lead a severed neuron through the body to the site it was severed from. With a tensile strength of 4109 N/m2, it exceeds that of steel by a factor of six. It is not recognized by the immune system.   Information taken from  Wikipedia.

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Last updated Thursday April 24, 2014