Spider Reproduction


Male spiders spend their whole life preparing for the time they will mate. All of their energies, movements, feedings, molting, and even the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives are designed to aid the continuation of their species. When males are sexually mature, they transform a hunger for food into one of procreation. Before seeking a partner, the male needs to prepare for courtship by pumping his palps full of sperm. A male does not have a penis. He deposits sperm from beneath his body onto a specially constructed silken mat and from there siphons it into his palps. He is now ready for mating.

Unfortunately for the male, the female is always food motivated, whether it be insects or male spiders. After finding a partner, males are driven by two conflicting motivations; one of sexual desire, the other for self preservation. Males of different species will use a range of approaches when wooing females.  These vary from the rhythmic strumming of the web by the male to the seductive waving of the Wolf Spider’s front legs.

Most males make tentative approaches towards the female, with limbs trembling and appendages chattering. Many males are equipped with structural adaptations for gripping onto the female and holding her fangs away from him. Behavioral adaptations include: tying females down with silk; mesmerizing them into a trance-like state and in some species, approaching and mating without the female even knowing.

If the male is successful, he will have placed his palps near the female’s egg tube and squeezed out the sperm fluid which the female stores in special pockets until she is ready to lay her eggs. Once copulation has taken place, the male must flee or risk being captured and eaten by the female who uses him as a valuable energy source in the production of her eggs.

Even if the male does escape, he will soon die as he takes no further interest in feeding – his mission in life is now complete. Females build protective egg-sac until fully formed. At this stage they hatch, but remain inside the egg-sac attached beneath her abdomen. Once the spiderlings have emerged, they will ride on her back for up to 7 months before dispersing.



GOLDEN ORB(Nephillia)

Golden Orb spiders build huge golden silky wheel webs that are remarkably strong and often strung between small trees in woodlands and gardens. The female spiders are large and can often span the width of an adult’s hand. Female Golden Orb spiders are characterized by the yellow bands that run around the joints of their black legs. Their slender body is a yellow-brown to silver-grey color. These spiders eat insects – even cicadas.

Bites from these spiders can be quite painful, and usually only occur if harshly provoked. NET-CASTING (Deinopidae)

Net Casting Spiders literally throw a net over their prey as it walks below them. These spiders will hang down from twigs or grass, combing their coils of tangled silk, awaiting suitable prey to approach.  The spider will eat then cast the net, and envelop the prey. Net Casting spiders have a stick-like appearance with very long legs that are often grouped into pairs, similar to the St. Andrew’s Cross Spider.

Net Casting spiders are thought to be completely harmless to humans.

ST. ANDREW’S CROSS (Argiope Keyserlingi)

The female of this spectacular species of spider is characterized by the colorful silver and red/orange bands that cover her body. She often weaves a web with a cross in the center. Here she will sit with adjacent pairs of legs together to form a cross. When threatened, the St Andrew’s Cross is able to shake her snare violently so that the whole web glimmers and she becomes a blur. As with many species of spider, the male risk losing their lives if they attempt to mate with a not too willing female.

If bitten, symptoms may include swelling, nausea, and dizziness.

WOLF (Lycosa)

These drab colored, but often strikingly patterned spiders use their large, strong legs to run potential prey down. They may even run out onto the water in an attempt to catch their victim. The male Wolf Spider will use the unusual courting behavior of waving his front legs about as if he is the conductor of an orchestra.

Once, fertilized, the female lays her eggs in a silken ball which remains attached to her spinnerets. After the eggs hatch, the spiderlings ride for a period of time on their mum’s back.



Spiders have a body consisting of two parts, the abdomen and the prosoma. They have four pairs of legs and six to eight ‘simple’ eyes. They do not have any antennae, wings or true jaws. They are found in every habitat of Australia, from the harsh deserts of our arid interior to the slopes and rocky outcrops of our snow capped mountains. Even though most spiders have four pair of eyes, they can only see about 1cm in front of themselves. Even spiders that are described as having particularly good eyesight, (Wolf Spiders, Huntsmen and Jumping Spiders) can only see a few centimeters. Spiders rely very much on their other senses to detect predators and prey.


From the magnificently constructed and refined wheel webs that sprawl between the leaves of garden shrubs catching the dew-drops and sun of a new day, to the messy, silken spread that radiates towards the entrance of the Funnel-web’s tunnel, no other animal is dependant upon silk as much as the spider. For most spiders, silk aids in the capture of prey. Spiders use silk not only in the formation of webs, but in a variety of applications such as the construction of retreats and shelters. Some hibernate in a chamber of silk, whilst others use it as a lining for their burrows. Many wrap their prey in silken threads and store these bundles in a disused part of the web.


Silk is not only used by animals such as spiders, but by humans as well. Although quite impractical in this day and age, spider silk was once used to manufacture royal garments and fishing nets.


A beautiful maiden, named Arachne was famous throughout the whole of Ancient Greece for her skill as a weaver of fine fabrics and embroidered tapestries. So famous did she become that Athene, goddess of the Arts, became extremely jealous.  Believing that she was the finest weaver in the whole of Greece, she challenged Arachne to a “weave off.” Both women tested their skill against one another. Arachne was the winner. Resentfully, Athene tore the fruits of Arachne’s labor into shreds. With her beautiful work destroyed, Arachne took her own life. Athene was so filled with remorse that she brought Arachne back from the dead in the form of a spider. Arachne’s name lives on today, through that large group of creepy crawlies we call ‘Arachnids.’


The dispersal of spiders, their wide spread distribution and the early colonization of isolated areas can be attributed to some spiders’ ability to balloon! When such a spider or spiderling wishes to travel, it raises its abdomen and releases a copious amount of liquid silk which dries immediately. The silk is caught by the breeze and lifts the spider into the sky.