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Garden spider

Other invertebrate

Araneus diadematus

Garden spiders vary in colour from pale yellowy-brown to very dark brown, but they all have a characteristic white cross-shaped group of spots on their abdomen. They are widespread and common throughout the UK, except in some areas of northern Scotland.

These spiders spin orb webs to catch their prey – flying insects. Orb webs are the most advanced spider webs, built by laying spirals of silk around radial threads. They sit in the centre of their web rushing out and wrapping any caught insect in sticky silk.

After mating, the female builds a silken cocoon in which she lays her eggs. She protects this egg sac until she dies in late autumn. The spiderlings hatch the following May.

What does it eat?

Flying insects such as butterflies, wasps and flies.

When will I see it?

From May until November, although more obvious in late summer and autumn.

Where will I see it?

On bushes and vegetation throughout the garden.

Vital statistics

Length: Females about 10 mm, males about 4-8 mm

Calendar

Not seen in JanuaryNot seen in FebruaryNot seen in MarchNot seen in AprilSeen in MaySeen in JuneSeen in JulySeen in AugustSeen in SeptemberSeen in OctoberSeen in NovemberNot seen in December

Key to calendar