Garden Spider (Araneus diadematus) female, September 2017, rear garden, Staffordshire, England.
This is the Garden Spider (Araneus diadematus) waiting to catch a bite to eat. It is also known as the Garden Cross Spider, and you can see why.
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Front garden, Staffordshire, England. June 2017
Early morning, the sun has risen beaming down autumn sunrays, and above the sound of twittering birds in the garden I hear a high-pitched buzzing … it may as well have been a scream …
I could not see the source of the sound at first, but then I saw this large Garden Spider dangling in its web, and the source of the high-pitched buzzing …
What appeared to be a hoverfly caught and being wrapped up tight in a silken package.
When satisfied all was wrapped up good and tight, it carted its bound package up its finely woven web, to foliage where it could feed until full.
Photographs of Garden Spider (Araneus diadematus), taken October 2016, rear garden , Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.
I guess the fight for survival could have gone either way in the above image. I came across this Garden Spider (Araneus diadematus) in its orb web with a nicely wrapped up food parcel. This food parcel was a social wasp, most likely the Common Wasp (Vespula vulgaris), and if it had got a sting in it could have been over for the spider. I suppose it all depends on how wrapped up the wasp had become in the web, and how weak it was. Either way, the spider got its lunch.
Photograph of Garden Spider (Araneus diadematus) with the Common Wasp (Vespula vulgaris), taken August 2016, rear garden , Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens with softbox flash diffuser.
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.