What is it about Autumn and orb weaver spiders? I was in a woodland remnant the other day and there were hundreds of webs that made it very difficult to walk through between the trees without walking into the mass of webs. Why don’t I notice them at other times?
Orb weavers are in the genus Nephila, of which there are 5 species in Australia. and it is the female spiders that build those huge webs of very strong silk that are particularly uncomfortable when wrapped around your face!
The male orb weaver is very tiny (5-6mm), and can often be found hanging out on the edge of the web waiting for his big chance.
From researching on the museum websites, it appears that they are obvious in Autumn because this is when the females mature and get large, and are looking to mate and lay their eggs. The spider only lives for 18 months, so we are seeing the mature females at this time of year laying their eggs for the next generation! Who knows where they go for the rest of the year?