The Golden Silk Orb Weaver is named for the color of the web, not the spider. A single thread has six times the tensile strength of steel.
The Golden Silk Orb Weaver is in the genus Nephila. The word Nephila is Greek, and means "fond of spinning". Nephila spiders have been around for 165 million years, they are the oldest extant genus of spider.
The female is much larger than the male. She spins a web that can reach one meter wide. The orb is renewed almost daily, as the stickiness of the web declines with age. There is almost always at least one male watching her around the periphery.
Nephila catch mostly mosquitos and small flying insects but they also catch prey as large as humming birds and other small birds.
Usually a person encounters a Golden Silk Orb Weaver by walking face-first into the web. Bites usually happen when a person pinches the spider against their body. The bite can leave blisters, but usually they are gone in a day.
Nephila webs can be used as fishing line, a ball of the web is thrown into the water, where it unfolds. and is used to catch bait fish.
In 2004, a shawl was created out of Golden silk, It took three years and 1.2 million spiders to produce. It was exhibited at the American Museum of Natural History in 2009.
Young spiders vibrate on the web when approached by a predator. This is done to confuse the predator, and also as a springboard to leap further away.
Webs near fruit trees can reduce fruit flies and other pests. Nephila spiders can also be beneficial, as webs can reduce fruit flies and other pests in the area