6. Uber Orb-weaver

(Habitus of female Nephila komaci) Image courtesy of Matjaž Kuntner

Name: Nephila komaci

Common Name: Komac’s golden orb spider

Family: Nephilidae

How it made the Top 10: It is the first species of Nephila to be described since 1879 and it is the largest Nephila to date.  Orb-weaving spiders exhibit extreme sexual size dimorphism: female paratype of this species has a body length of 39.7mm and a male has a body length of 8.7mm.  Nephila has the distinction of spinning the largest webs known, often greater than 1m in diameter.  Although the web of this new species has not been observed, it is likely to be large.

Reference: Kuntner, M. and J.A. Coddington. 2009. Discovery of the largest orbweaving spider species: the evolution of gigantism in Nephila. PLoS One 4(10):e7516.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007516

Type Material: Holotype – Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, Vienna, Austria. Paratype – Plant Protection Research Institute, Pretoria, South Africa.

Type Locality: “’Sammlung Reimoser, Nephila turneri Blackw., Madagaskar’ Collected 31.xii.1938. No precise locality data available.”

Etymology: “Patronym honoring the first author’s late friend Andrej Komac.”

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