I know some of my readers love them too (and some of my readers don’t like spiders at all). Here is a large pregnant Dome Tent spider from my garden.
The Dome Tent spider, (Cyrtophora moluccensis) is the largest spanning the width of a man’s hand. The long body is strongly variable in colour with a broad black to rusty-red stripe for most of the back and bright yellow and white spots along the edges.
Tent spiders have modified the circular web into a dome, spiked tent or broad scoop.The Dome Tent spider builds a large dome-shaped web from 30-60cm across with a long tangle of web above the dome and a small tangle below. Funny enough this insect’s ‘home design’ or feature has been copied and commercialised by adventure companies. They build and sell various camping tents that are structured the way the spider builds its web.
The female hunts from the top of the dome where she lays her eggs in a long bean-like and attempts to fend off the large flesh flies (Sarcophagidae) that parasitise them. From about Rockhampton northward, these spiders form massive colonies as big as houses. See more at Queensland Museum. I saw one colony yesterday where I counted seven spiders all combined their architecture to form a web structure approximately two metres wide by three meters tall. I did not have my phone nor my camera with me to capture the image, unfortunately.
Here is another kind that was weaving its ‘tent’ across my front door.