Males and females are alike, except males have smaller abdomens. There is a fair variation in body colour, with some being pale yellow to brown, and others being almost black. The white cross-shaped, dotted markings are usually quite distinct., which lead it to be sometimes called the ‘Cross Spider’. The legs are light and dark banded. Body length females up to 18mm, males up to 8mm.
Garden Spiders are from a family of spiders called Orb Web Spiders, of which they have most distinctive vertical and circular webs. They have a central hub with radiating lines and spirals of sticky and non-sticky silk. The spider normally sits in the centre of the web waiting to catch its prey. It feeds on flies and other winged insects which may fly into their webs.
They mature summer to autumn, but are most often seen in autumnal months within their webs suspended and glistening like tiny beads of pearls in the early morning dew. Found in bushes and other vegetation in woodland, heathland, and gardens. They are common and widespread.
Photographs taken September 2012 (male and females), July and August 2015 (females), front and rear gardens, Staffordshire.