1. How many legs does the giant orb spider have?

      All spiders have eight legs.

    2. Do you think the spider shown in the photos is a male or female?

      The spider in these pictures is probably a female.  Males grow to be less than an inch and the spider seen here appears much larger.

    3. Look at the webs and notice how they are symmetrical.  Do you think there is an ecological advantage to spinning a perfectly symmetrical web?

      Scientists are unsure of the ecological advantage of a symmetrical web.  Some hypothesize that giant orb spiders build their webs symmetrically so the force of insects flying into the web is distributed evenly, preventing the web from breaking.

    4. The scientists who discovered the giant orb spider have indicated that the species might be endangered.  Why do you think the giant orb spider might be an endangered species?

      Giant orb spiders might be endangered because the habitat where these spiders are found only exists in a few small areas in Madagascar, South Africa, and South America.

    • The silk that spiders produce when spinning webs is stronger than steel for its width. It is also very flexible, stretching up to 200 times its length.
    • Orb spiders can weave webs that are up to one meter in diameter.
    • Female giant orb spiders have a leg-span of up to 12 centimeters (4.7 inches, about the size of a CD). The males barely measure an inch. Males often ride on the backs of females.
    • Giant orb spiders are only found in specific parts of Madagascar, South Africa, and South America.
    • Although giant orb spiders are venomous, the venom only works on insects and cannot poison a human.
    • The giant orb spider's scientific name is Nephila komaci.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    diameter Noun

    width of a circle.

    endangered species Noun

    organism threatened with extinction.

    Encyclopedic Entry: endangered species
    evolution Noun

    process of how present types of organisms developed from earlier forms of life.

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