Belongs to: spiders

Garden spider Araneus diadematus

Also known as: cross spider, diadem spider


Best time to see: mid Jun to late Oct

Key facts

The familar garden spider that sits head down in the centre of its orb web, waiting for insects to fly into it

Rebuild their webs daily, spinning them overnight in shrubs and tall vegetation, up to 40cm across

Widespread throughout Britain and across western and central Europe

Recognition

Mainly brown body with yellow markings, and brown legs with yellow bands; most have a distinctive white cross

Females grow through the summer to 15mm long, when their bodies are swollen with eggs, and males to 9mm or so

When disturbed, often retreat to the end of a signal line a short way from the web

Lifecycle

In autumn males approach the female with caution to avoid being eaten, and disappear soon after mating

Females die after spinning a cocoon for their eggs and the eggs hatch out the following spring

The black-and-yellow spiderlings stay together until old enough to disperse, often carried by the wind on a thread of silk

  • Main photo
  • young

Photo © Tony Gunton

Photo © Mary Allen