Golden Wheel Spider (Carparachne aureoflava) – The Cartwheeling Spider

The Golden Wheel Spider (Carparachne aureoflava) is a peculiar and fascinating creature native to the Namib Desert of Namibia, southern Africa.

The Golden Wheel Spider, Carparachne aureoflava on a sand dune

Taxanomic Rank of Carparachne aureoflava

  • Kingdom: Animalia (Animals)
  • Phylum: Arthropoda (Arthropods)
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata (Chelicerates)
  • Class: Arachnida (Arachnids)
  • Order: Araneae (Spiders)
  • Family: Sparassidae
  • Genus: Carparachne
  • Species: aureoflava

Belonging to the group of huntsman spiders, this small arachnid measures up to 20mm in size and has developed some extraordinary adaptations to survive in its challenging habitat. One of the most striking features of the Golden Wheel Spider is its ability to escape predators in a rather unconventional manner.

In the vast dunes of the Namib Desert, C. aureoflava faces threats from parasitic pompilid wasps. To evade these relentless predators, the spider has evolved a unique and impressive escape technique.

Upon sensing danger, the spider flips onto its side, transforming its body into a wheel-like shape and performs a cartwheeling escape down the sand dunes at remarkable speeds of up to 44 turns per second. This acrobatic manoeuvre allows the spider to swiftly escape from its enemies while also making it a truly intriguing species to study.

Aside from its incredible escape tactics, C. aureoflava is known for constructing intricate trapdoors using silk and sand, and for being able to shift up to 80,000 times its own body weight while creating silk-lined burrows beneath the desert surface.

Given the harsh conditions of the Namib Desert, the astonishing capabilities and adaptability of this little spider make it an outstanding example of nature’s resilience and creativity.

Golden Wheel Spider Overview


This is a spider native to the Namib Desert. It is predominantly found in steep sand dunes of the Namib Naukluft Park where it hunts for food during the night. During the day, C. aureoflava buries itself in the sand, remaining hidden from both predators and the scorching sun.

Life Span

While the exact lifespan of C. aureoflava remains unknown, it is generally thought to be relatively short, as is the case with many other arachnid species.


Reproduction in C. aureoflava involves a unique communication method known as seismic vibrations or drumming. Males produce these vibrations to attract females as potential mates.

Once a suitable female is found, the male will approach her cautiously and perform a mating ritual. After successful mating, the female spider lays her eggs in a burrow, where they are hidden from predators and protected from harsh desert conditions.

The young spiders emerge from their eggs and grow into adults, continuing the lifecycle of this fascinating species.

Population and Distribution

Although the exact population size of the Golden Wheel Spider is not well documented, their distribution is mostly limited to the Namib Desert. This geographical restriction means that they might be vulnerable to threats that could affect their habitat. Hopefully you will be fortunate enough to see them while you are here!