I can never sit still whenever I come across something that pricks my curiosity and this spider which I found at the Nandaka Vihara Meditation Centre at the foothills of the Bukit Mertajam hill in Cherok Tokun, Bukit Mertajam on mainland Penang, has been on my mind ever since I saw it last Sunday. Maybe I'll see it again this Sunday when my wife and I go to the Nandaka Vihara again.
Anyway, I've been searching about the Internet to try and find more information about this spider and came across some good information on it, including one in Wikipedia. So it seems that this is the Nephila pilipes which is a species of the golden orb-web spider.
It is quite commonly found in the primary and secondary forests of Japan, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Taiwan, Malaysia Singapore, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Philippines, Sri Lanka, India, and Papua New Guinea. Females are large and grow to a body size of one-and-a-half to two inches (30 to 50 millimetres) with an overall length of up to eight inches (about 20 centimetres), with males considerably smaller. It is one of the biggest spiders in the world.
Although its venom is not lethal to humans, it is potent enough. The bite causes local pain, redness and blisters that normally disappear within 24 hours. Rarely, it might trigger allergic reactions and result in respiratory troubles in asthmatics or fast-acting involuntary muscle cramps. The bite can scar hard tissue such as fingers.
And finally, I've uploaded a very short videoclip of this spider. I had almost forgotten about it, being mesmerised by the pictures, until I looked into my camera this morning. So here it is, some 35 seconds of this spider below.
Bottom view of the Nephila pilipes
Side view of the Nephila pilipes
Slightly elevated view of the Nephila pilipes