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Fun Fact with Angus Burns: Along came a spider and sat down beside her

They confine themselves to their webs and will never bother humans, so there is no reason to fear or kill them

Along came a spider and sat down beside her,” goes the line from the famous nursery rhyme.

I am a self-proclaimed arachnophile, but not everyone shares my love for these eight-legged creatures.

I have written about the important role they play in our environment before, and thankfully, many people (even those fearful of them) opt to relocate spiders rather than kill them.

Recently, I have been contacted about a particular species of spider that many residents have begun noticing around their homes and workplaces.

They spin large webs that glow a golden color when the sunlight catches them.

The medium-sized female spiders of this family are ornately colored or marked.

I am referring to Golden Orb web spiders of the family Araneidae, and there are 4 species from the Genus Trichonephila that we know of in South Africa.

Recently, two of them have been regularly noticed around Newcastle: the Black-Legged and Banded-Legged Golden Orb Web Spider, and they are experts at catching numerous insects that would otherwise plague us and, therefore, perform a vital function around our homes in terms of pest control.

They can (like any wild creature) bite, but their venom is of no consequence to humans.

Male orb web spiders are tiny in comparison to the significantly larger females.

They confine themselves to their webs and will never bother humans, so there is no reason to fear or kill them (I currently have five of them in the garden after a long period of absence).

Next time you see a magnificent orb web spider and its expansive web, try to appreciate how these colorful spiders control flies and other pests while weaving intricate traps to catch them.



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