Cluster of Golden Orb spiders: Finally after four years!!

I think I am coming to the conclusion that I am really bad at doing things I want to do.

For four years I have been driving past this sign post just out of Waroona on the right hand side (going towards Bunbury) of the road where there is the large colony of spiders—which I think are Golden Orb spiders. These spiders have been there for the four years I have been going back and forth on that road. During that time they have weathered a couple of severe storms but have rebuilt.

For four years I have been telling myself “one day I am going to actually stop and take some pictures of that” but I have never managed to execute that promise.

Well last week I had to come back from site mid-week to bring my son back (he was heavy with this ‘super’ flu that is going around Perth at the moment) and we actually stopped to photograph this colony of spiders. Technically we overshot it and then we decided to do a U-turn and go back.

Now I will be the first to say there is not much that is artistic about these pictures but, even so, I decided to post them up.

The entire colony is suspended between the road sign and the adjoining fence. Each of the pictures below is only showing a small part of the complete web fabric. I would estimate that there would have been about 50 spiders in the web complex.

GoldenOrbColony_01

The web seems to be constructed between the sign post and the fence in vertical layers. The following picture was taken to try and show these layers. The webs go from the road sign in the foreground to the fence. This would be a distance of about three metres.

Going from left to right, notice how the webs seem to be in vertical layers. So before the post of the road sign there are two clearly defined vertical layers, and you can pick out these layers again coming from the right of the picture.

GoldenOrbColony_02

The following picture is of another part of the colony taken from closer to the fence and looking up. I am trying to give a better idea of how many spiders are sharing this location but it is really tricking to photograph due to the backgrounds.

GoldenOrbColony_03

Finally, following is a close-up of one of the spiders. I understand that the ‘large’ spiders are the females and the much smaller ones—about a quarter down to an eighth of the size—are the males. In the picture below I am assuming that the much smaller spider you can see in the top third slightly off centre to the right is the male.

GoldenOrbColony_04

These pictures were taken with my new K-3, and just to show off a bit, the picture above has been cropped out of the following picture. How amazing is that resolution and detail retention. You can see the hairs on her legs and she has been cropped out of section that is about 1/20th of the frame (as a rough estimate).

GoldenOrbColony_05

I could be wrong about these being golden orb spiders but it is about the closest match I could find on the Internet. If I am wrong then I would like to know what spiders these are so please leave a comment and let me know.

According to Wikipedia the golden orb spider’s venom is not toxic to humans but the bite site is likely to leave a lasting scar. In some people the venom may cause an allergic reaction including muscle cramps.

They look fierce and I certainly don’t fancy be bitten by one.

BarryMark