Araneus diadematus - Cross spiderThe common Garden spider (Araneus diadematus) is a common sight in gardens throughout Britain at the end of summer where it is seen suspended, head-down in the centre of its orb web. Also known as the Cross Spider it can be identified by the cross-shaped pattern of white spots on its abdomen. Colour varies considerable from pale yellow-orange through to dark grey and the legs are banded dark and light giving a striped appearance.

This is one of the UK’s largest spiders with the female’s body reaching 20mm in length. The male is much smaller which is unfortunate as he will occasionally get eaten after mating if he doesn’t make a quick enough retreat.

Every evening this species of orb spider eats its web (and any small insects stuck to it) spinning a new web in the morning. If disturbed in its web by potential predators the garden spider can cause itself to oscillate violently.

Araneus diadematus has been reported to bite on rare occasions but it is apparently difficult to provoke a bite. The spider’s bite is mild although some swelling and pain was mentioned in one case. Whether this was due to the action of the venom or an allergic response is unclear.

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    1. Just walked into a garden spiders web, face full of web as usual, and got the spider in my hair, I live on a farm and have been around them all my life, -never give them a thought, however, about ten minutes later I felt the spider crawling in my hair and without thinking just pulled it out and threw it in the hedge,,,little bugger bit me! I had to check in disbelief that it was a spider -felt like a wasp sting, never in my life been bitten by a spider before, a feisty one! and definitely just a garden spider.

  1. I’m going to Kew Gardens tomorrow and I understand it’s a good area for false widow spiders especially in the soft chalky arches near the bridge. Any comments.

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