Araneus diadematus Clerck   
Garden Spider

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae – spiders

British distribution: Widespread and common.
World distribution: Western and Northern Europe, introduced in North America, occurrence elsewhere to be checked.

Araneus diadematus
Araneus diadematus
Araneus diadematus (female), Kindrogan, Perthshire, September 2001

As shown above, A. diadematus is popularly known as the "Garden Spider", and indeed it is quite common in gardens, though it is more a species of scrubby heathland or amongst gorse.

It is a typical spider, with, in this species, eight eyes, its thorax and abdomen clearly differentiated, the abdomen lacking any external segmentation and with a silk-producing spinner at the rear.

This is one of our larger spiders, length (excluding legs) up to about 13 mm. The dorsal, white cross on the abdomen is diagnostic for the species. The photographed individual is a female, with a larger abdomen, in this case probably swollen prior to egg-laying. (Indeed, since it was encountered making its way through vegetation away from any web, it may have been searching for a suitable egg-laying site.)

Araneus species spin orb-webs - usually vertical webs between plant stems, branches, etc., with a spiral spun on strands radiating from a defined centre. A signal thread runs from the centre to a retreat in the surrounding vegetation, the spider responding to vibrations by running to the centre to locate the ensnared prey.

© A.J. Silverside
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