Geographical Range Madagascar (off the eastern coast of Africa), southern Africa
Habitat Forests, woodlands
Scientific Name Nephila inaurata madagascariensis
Conservation Status Not listed by IUCN

When fully grown, a female Madagascar orb-weaving spider can get as large a saucer. So imagine the size of her web -- it can get up to six feet across! (The male orb-weaver is only one-sixth the size of the female.)

This beautiful, gentle giant lives not only on Madagascar and other islands on the east coast of Africa, but also in South Africa. It feeds on flies, crickets and other insects. When a wandering bug jumps or flies into the web, the spider quickly pounces on it and delivers a venomous bite. It may either eat its meal right away or wait until later. In that case, it will wrap the prey in silken threads and store it for a later feast.

A bite from this spider would be painful, but it would not seriously hurt humans.