What is the species? Is it dangerous to humans?

I chanced upon this beautiful one near our water well. It stood at a height where an adult could accidentally walk through the web and the spider would land on one's face.

As a test, I dropped a piece of leaf onto its web, and the spider jumped to action, checking what it was and it took out the leaf from its web.

Size: Web, almost circular 50 cm diameter. Spider, about 8cm.
Location: Malabar region, Kerala state, south of India

a close-up

from location

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Most spiders are harmless (unless you're a bug). Here are the medically significant ones. $\endgroup$ Jul 29 '16 at 3:37
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Im in Kochi (same state in India) and I was told it would sting, so stay away. I also remember them as they appear to have only four legs (with claws) and jokes that they defy their very name, which means 8-legs in Malayalam. $\endgroup$ Jul 29 '16 at 13:37

This is most likely a spider from the genus Argiope, which has a few members native to India. See here for a list, I think this is most likely Argiope pulchella, see the image from the Wikipedia:

enter image description here

Wikipedia also says that these spiders hunt insects, but are not dangerous for humans.

  • $\begingroup$ What are your thoughts about @Thomo's answer? $\endgroup$
    – NVZ
    Jul 29 '16 at 4:17
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    $\begingroup$ Its definitely an Argiope pulchella - Native to India, rather than an Argiope keyrselingii (Australian species). Either way, its completely harmless to humans, as are most spiders... $\endgroup$
    – SeanR
    Jul 29 '16 at 9:35

It's a St. Andrews Cross Spider (Argiope keyrselingi), and quite common in Australia too.

Added picture for reference

Thankfully, one of the non-toxic non aggressive spiders. Here are some good sites for further information on them:

A Spider Identification site: http://www.spiders.com.au/st-andrews-spider.html

And the Australian Museum site: http://australianmuseum.net.au/st-andrews-cross-spider


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