Classification: | Phylum: Arthropoda | Class: Arachnida | Order: Araneae | Family: Nephilidae | Genus: Nephila |
According to an article published back in 2002 from Taiwan , some female Giant Wood Spider or Nephila maculata (synonym of Nephila pilipes) may be totally dark in colour, instead of the normal black with yellow dorsal stripes and spots form, due to more dark-coloured pigment (melanin) in the skin. The genetic study performed then indicated that they should belong to the same species. The authors mentioned that "Nephila maculata is abundant at low elevations in East and South-East Asia, but the melanic morph has not been mentioned before in the literature". I guess it is because the melanic morph version has been treated as a different species, Nephila kuhlii. The colour patterns of spiders seemed to affect their chance of success in hunting for food [1-2].
Besides the Taiwan reports, I have not found other publication on the link between the 2 spiders. For now, I will leave the black version as Nephila kuhlii.
 Tso IM, Tai PL, Ku TH, Kuo CH, Yang EC. Colour-associated foraging success and population genetic structure in a sit-and-wait predator Nephila maculata. Animal Behaviour 2002;63:175-182. | Read article |
 Tso IM, Lin CW, Yang EC. Colourful orb-weaving spiders, Nephila pilipes, through a bee's eyes. J Experimental Biology 2004;207:2631-2637. | Read article |