Grey, grey-brown to olive green body with patches of cream. It has black bands running across its body and tail and a "crest" of spines which start on its head and extend down its back and along its tail. Its belly is creamy-white to creamy brown-grey and the larger, breeding males have a red-orange chest and throat. One of two subspecies also has a broad black stripe running from behind its eye to its ear. It has long, powerful legs and a long, strong tail with flattened sides to assist with swimming. There are loose folds of skin under its jaw.
Juveniles are light brown and their head and feet appear large for their body size.
Around 80 - 90 cm long (nose to end of tail) two-thirds of which is tail. Males are bigger than females.
The caterpillar (larva) is initially a pale yellow-grey, before turning green with long black hairs along its body. Its head is brown-black with short hairs. The female butterfly (adult) is orange with creamy yellow and dark brown patches towards the tip of its forewings (front wings). The male is less colourful, being brown and orange with no pale patches. It also has an obvious raised vein in the middle of its forewing. Both males and females have a small eye-spot on each wing. The undersides of the wings in both the male and female are paler with faint markings, and their hindwings have very few markings. The female’s hindwing is darker then its forewing. It is difficult to identify these butterflies when they are resting with their wings closed. The males emerge quite a while earlier in the year before the females.
Caterpillar about 3.5 cm long; Butterfly wingspan 5.5 – 7.5 cm (females are larger than males).
Mottled grey with some yellow tones. There are paired pale blotches along the spine. A grey/brown stripe is found behind the eye to the ear. The underside is also grey with darker circles. Often seen with its mouth open which is yellow in colour. It has a spiny body and tail particularly on the side of the body.
Up to 67 cm long.
It has a grey back and head, and bright-yellow underparts. Southern birds have an olive-yellow rump, while birds in northern Australia have a brighter yellow rump. Its throat is off-white and when seen in flight, it has a pale bar on its wings. Its bill is black. Young birds are rufous-brown with paler streaks.
13 – 17 cm long, the males are slightly larger
The female’s abdomen can be variable but is typically brown to yellow with short silvery-white hairs. The legs are usually black with bright yellow patches on the underside of the many leg joints. Its palps (small leg-like structures on either side of its fangs) are distinctly red.
It makes golden webs, after which it is named.
Females are 4 – 4.5 cm long but the tiny males are only 5 – 6 mm long (body length). The Females can have a legspan of up to 15 cm!
Predominantly pale tawny-orange with a heavy black border that encloses large white spots in the forewing. The inner leading edge of the forewing is deep red-brown. The underside is similar to the upper side but paler with narrower black margins. Males have a distinct patch of dark grey sex-scales on the upper side of the hindwing.
The caterpillars have three pairs of tentacles and yellow, white and black rings.
7 - 8 cm wingspan.
This spider is named for the cross the female weaves into the web. There are many theories about why the female does this including, strengthening the web, for camouflage, and for increasing prey catches as the cross reflects ultra-violet light which attracts insects. It may also deter predators which must go to the effort of cleaning off the extra silk after diving into the web.
The female has a silvery head with silver, yellow, red and black bands across its abdomen, and two yellow stripes running down its underside. Its legs are dark brown to black with one or two yellowish bands. The male and juveniles are brown and cream, with brown legs. It often appears to have only four legs because it sits with its legs in pairs along the stabilimentum.
The zigzag patterns (known as the stabilimentum) it weaves into its web to form an X or a cross, after which it is named.
Evergreen tree, greyish-brown bark has oak-like appearance, branchlets spreading or drooping. Can be found solo or in dense stands.
Usually 8 – 15 m high. Can reach a maximum of 20 m high (rarely) and only reaches 2 m high on clifftops. The trunk can be up to 35 cm in diameter. This tree is also found in prostrate form (lying flat on the ground), reaching 30 cm high and 2 m wide.
Segmented branchlets with very small teeth-like leaves (0.6 - 0.9 mm long), 12 – 17 leaves arise at the nodes of segments. New growth is strongly recurved (bent or curved backwards or downwards) and become erect as they mature.
This species is dioecious (male and female reproductive structures develop on different individuals). Male inflorescences (arrangement of flowers) are spikes, growing 1.2 – long with 7 - 10 whorls per cm (ring of floral parts borne at the same level) and a 0.8 mm long anther (pollen-bearing part of the stamen).