Nephila clavipes

A fully grown garden spider can be an intimidating sight. Despite their menacing appearance, banana spiders help control many types of insect pests including mosquitoes.

I recently received an email from a resident that went as follows: I have a humongous spider in my backyard in Galveston. It has constructed a huge web, which is anchored between a palm tree and a wood fence. Do you know what kind of spider it is? It is big and scary looking.

The above inquiry was sent to me by email and contained not one but two high-quality photos. Case solved: The photo was that of a female banana spider (Nephila clavipes), one of the largest species that occur in our area. The Banana spider is a brightly colored species of the orb-web spider family.

Dr. William Johnson is a horticulturist with the Galveston County Office of Texas AgriLife Extension Service, The Texas A&M System. Visit his website at aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston.

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(2) comments

Gary Miller

Good spiders like good snakes are treated the same by people who don't understand they are our friends. Both are indiscriminately killed while the real pests they help control get a free pass. Educate your self and receive the benefit they offer.

Kelly Naschke

Great article. I learned something new! Thanks Dr Johnson .

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