Garden Spider

Garden Spider ©David Longshaw

Garden Spider

Scientific name: Araneus diadematus
Our most common orb web spider, the Garden Spider can be found in all kinds of habitats, including the garden. Look for a greyish-brown spider with a white cross on its back, spinning its famous spiral webs.

Species information

Statistics

Body length: 0.9-1.8cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

June to November

About

The Garden Spider is the UK's most common orb web spider and is abundant in gardens, grassland and woodland - it can be found almost everywhere, in fact. It builds a 'typical' spider web (spirals with radial threads) out of sticky silk. It sits in the middle of the web, waiting to feel the vibrations of a struggling insect caught in the sticky threads. It then rushes out and wraps its prey tightly in silk. Once immobilised, it will kill its victim with a venomous bite. Adults appear from June to November and the young emerge from their silk egg-sac the following spring.

How to identify

The Garden Spider is one of the more easily recognised spiders. It is usually grey-brown or reddish-brown in colour, with a large white cross (made up of pale spots and streaks) on its abdomen. Females are twice the size of males.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

Spider silk is amazingly lightweight: a strand of silk long enough to go all the way around the Earth would weigh less than 500 grams - that's the same as a bag of sugar! It's also as strong as Kevlar, the material used to make bulletproof vests.

How people can help

Our gardens are a vital resource for wildlife, providing corridors of green space between open countryside, allowing species to move about. In fact, the UK's gardens provide more space for nature than all the National Nature Reserves put together. So why not try planting native plants and trees to entice birds, mammals and invertebrates into your backyard? To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.