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Rainforests of the World 

March 21, 2011

Giant spiders eating butterflies! Oh my!

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Since the Academy reopened in Golden Gate Park, our Rainforest Exhibit has always had orbweaver spiders (Nephila clavipes)- it’s just that they were inside tanks. Recently, biologists have been gradually releasing individual spiders in key locations on the Costa Rica level of the exhibit. This allows visitors to witness the sheer magnitude of their webs which can be over a meter in diameter, and watch them capture prey throughout the day. Here is an informative video about our orbweavers previously filmed at the Academy with one of our biologists:

On almost any given day, our Rainforest Exhibit has roughly 200 butterflies that fly freely inside the exhibit. Occasionally these butterflies will fly into our orbweavers’ webs and become food, just as they would in the wild.

Photo by: Rachael Tom

After being released, the orbweaver below is looking for a prime location to build its web:

Photo by: Rachael Tom

If a spider decides to build its web a little too close to visitors, we simply relocate the spider so it can establish a web elsewhere. Oftentimes the spiders make their way to higher planters on their own.

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Be sure to check out these beautiful spiders the next time you’re on the Costa Rica level of our Rainforest Exhibit. They might just be wrapping up freshly caught butterflies in their silk for a snack, eating their prey, building a new giant web or repairing their current one!

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Filed under: Insects & Arachnids — rainforest @ 2:19 am

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The Rainforest Team


Academy biologists share the inside scoop on the Academy's 'Rainforest of the World' exhibit.

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