Orb weavers and banana spiders are members of the spider family Araneidae. Spiders in this family have a lot in common. They are known for their long spindly leg appearance, bright colors, and impressive web structures up to 1.5 meters in diameter.
Generally, orb weavers and banana spiders can be found in dense vegetation and wet climates. They will sometimes use human-built structures to anchor their webs. Both spiders do not feed on crops and are not aggressive to humans. If bitten by either, their venom is too weak to cause real damage. It may only leave a small blister that goes away in a few days.
Let’s look at the key differences between an orb weaver and a banana spider.
Comparing Orb Weaver vs Banana Spider
|Orb Weaver||Banana Spider|
|Taxonomy||Family: Araneidae||Family: Araneidae|
Males- 0.25 to 0.375 inches
Females- 1 to 1.5 inches
Males- less than an inch
Females- 1.5 to 2 inches
|Color||– Yellow or golden|
– White and black
|– Integrates black, white, yellow, and red|
– Legs are banded with black and yellow or red and black
– White spots on its thorax
|Habitat and distribution||– Gardens, fields, and forests|
– Found worldwide
|– Moist forests and backyards|
– Found in warmer areas across the globe
|Web||Flat webs with sticky spiral capture silk||Orb-shaped and gold|
|Reproduction||– The age of sexual maturity is between 6 to 9 months|
– 100 to 300 eggs
– The gestation period is 3 to 6 months
|– The age of sexual maturity is between the 4th and 6th molt|
– 300 to 3000 hatchlings
– The gestation period is 3 to 4 weeks, depending on the weather
|Lifespan||12 months||About one year|
The Key Differences Between Orb Weavers and Banana Spiders
The most significant differences between an orb weaver and a banana spider include their size, coloration, and habitat. A banana spider is slightly larger than an orb weaver. Female banana spiders stand between 1.5 and 2 inches long, while female orb weavers are about 1 to 1.5 inches long. Let’s examine all these differences between the two spiders to help you understand better.
Orb Weaver vs Banana Spider: Taxonomy
There are over 3000 species of orb weaver globally, spread across nearly 200 genera. The orb weaver is of the family Araneidae. The banana spider is of the genus Nephila, which is under the family Araneidae. The name Nephila is derived from a Greek word meaning “fond of spinning,” which is portrayed by banana spiders.
There are at least 12 species of banana spiders, namely:
- N. comorana
- N. laurinae
- N. cornuta
- N. komaci
- N. constricta
- N. kuhlii
- N. dirangensis
- N. pakistaniensis
- N. robusta
- N. tetragnathoides
- N. pilipes
- N. vitiana
Orb Weaver vs Banana Spider: Size
The orb-weaver is smaller than the banana spider. An adult male orb weaver stands between 0.25 and 0.375 inches long, while a female orb weaver is 1 to 1.5 inches long. On the other hand, the male banana spider is less than an inch long, while the female banana spider is approximately 1.5 to 2 inches. Both spiders exhibit sexual size dimorphism, whereby the females are almost double the size of the males.
Orb Weaver vs Banana Spider: Color
Both the orb weaver and the banana spider can appear in black and yellow. Some orb weavers are brightly colored or even golden, while others appear dull. Male orb weavers tend to be drab and brown, while females are either yellow, golden, or white and black with a dotted pattern on the front of their abdomen. The front of the head is grayish-white with a yellow stripe.
On the contrary, the color of banana spiders ranges from white to a shade of red, usually with unique light markings on the underside of the cephalothorax. Their legs are banded with black and yellow or red and black.
Orb Weaver vs Banana Spider: Habitat and Distribution
Orb weavers are widely distributed worldwide. They prefer habitats where there are abundant prey and structures that can support their web. Typical habitats include gardens, fields, and forests.
Banana spiders are found in warm, moist climates worldwide. They prefer ecosystems with high levels of vegetation and insect populations, like the US southwest. They are called banana spiders because they are occasionally found in shipments of bananas.
Orb Weaver vs Banana Spider: Web
Orb weavers spin flat webs with sticky spiral capture silk. They are very active spiders that tend to build new webs every day. They hide for most of the day in their webs, and towards the evening, the orb weavers will chew the old webs, rest for about an hour, and then spin a new one in the same location.
As opposed to orb weavers, banana spiders spin orb-shaped and cream-colored webs that appear in a zig-zag formation. Their webs appear dense and double up as a home and their main hunting pool. The interconnected mass of threads is strong enough to immobilize small animals that become tangled.
Orb Weaver vs Banana Spider: Reproduction
Orb weavers usually mate in the fall. Like many other spiders, female orb weavers sometimes eat the males after mating. They mate at the central hub of the web, where the male traverses the web, trying not to get eaten. Females lay between 100 and 300 eggs. The gestation period lasts about 3 to 6 months, and young orb weavers attain sexual maturity in roughly 6 to 9 months.
Like the orb weavers, banana spiders are also known to engage in sexual cannibalism, but female arousal prevents them from eating their suitors. Females usually allow multiple males to copulate at the same time. Females produce two or more egg sacs, each holding hundreds of eggs. The gestation period lasts about 3 to 4 weeks, depending on the weather. Young banana spiders attain sexual maturity between the 4th and 6th molt.
Orb Weaver vs Banana Spider: Lifespan
Orb weavers live for twelve months on average, while banana spiders have an average lifespan of about one year. Both spiders are vulnerable to predation by birds, damselflies, and reptiles.
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- Kansas State University, Available here: https://krex.k-state.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2097/21695/KSUL0009KSREEPPUBSEP125a.pdf?sequence=1