Asian Hermit Spider

Nephilengys malabarensis

Nephilengys malabarensis is a species of spider belonging to the family Nephilidae, known for their intriguing web structures and unique mating behaviors. This species, like others in its genus, displays some fascinating ecological and biological characteristics. Nephilengys malabarensis is notable for its sexual dimorphism, with females being significantly larger than males. They construct vertical orb webs with a retreat on one side where the spider can hide and wait for prey or escape from predators.






















Nephilengys malabarensis

Other Information


As with most spiders, Nephilengys malabarensis is venomous, using its venom to immobilize prey caught in its web. The venom is not considered dangerous to humans, typically causing no more than minor symptoms if bitten.

A Danger to Humans?

There is minimal danger to humans from Nephilengys malabarensis. These spiders are not aggressive towards humans and tend to bite only if directly handled or provoked. Bites are rare and not medically significant.

Population Status

Detailed data on the population size of Nephilengys malabarensis is not widely available. However, the species is known to occur in various habitats where it can sustain its web-building and feeding behaviors.

Asian Hermit Spider (Nephilengys malabarensis), Photo by David Lowenthal

Life Span:
The lifespan of Nephilengys malabarensis can vary, but like many spiders, females often live longer than males, especially since males may be cannibalized by females after or during mating.

Weight and Length:
Females reach a body length of about 15 millimetres (0.59 in). The legs and palp are annulated yellow and black. Male body size less than 5 millimetres (0.20 in), with mostly grey-black legs.

Nephilengys malabarensis occurs in South, South-East and East Asia from India and Sri Lanka to the Philippines, north to Yunnan, China, north-east to Saga and Kompira, Japan and east to Ambon Island, Bali of Indonesia. It is common at human dwellings and less common in rainforest. The Niah population inhabits cave entrances.

Habits and Lifestyle:
This species is primarily nocturnal, constructing and repairing their webs at night. The web’s retreat provides shelter from predators and extreme weather conditions.

Diet and Nutrition:
Nephilengys malabarensis feeds on insects and other small arthropods that become ensnared in its web. The size and structure of the web allow it to capture a variety of prey.

Mating Habits:
Mating behaviors in Nephilengys malabarensis are characterized by extreme sexual cannibalism, with females often consuming the male after or even during mating. Males adopt various strategies to survive mating encounters, such as approaching females when they are feeding or attempting to mate with younger, less aggressive females.