Line Line
Garden Spider Araneus diadematus

The best known spiders in Western Europe are the Orb-web Spiders. Especially in autumn they are literally everywhere! They all build vertical webs, that can be very big. It consists of a number of basic wires. These are not sticky and used by the spider as foundation for the web. Attached to it are numerous sticky wires. One strong wire runs all through the net: the signaling wire. When the spider is not in de centre of the web, it is at the edge, hiding under a leaf or something with two legs holding the signaling wire. It feels the movements in the web through this wire and this way knows when a prey has been caught. The best known spider in our part of the world is undoubtedly the Garden Spider. In the fall they are literally all over the place. Like with many spiders, the female is bigger than the male. The male has to be very cautious when approaching the female, because she will eat him without any hesitation or remorse whatsoever. Some male spiders have a macabre feature - they can still fertilize the eggs while being eaten!

The eggs are deposited in a special web. They all hatch at the same time and the young stay together for some time, eating the web. The web has wires running in all directions and when the young are disturbed they will flee over these wires. Only to return to the web some moments later. In the bottom picture you see a nest full of young Garden Spiders.

The male is the one in the top picture. Especially female Garden Spiders are extremely variable. Usually there is a marking on top resembling a cross, but the cross is not always that clear. The colour varies as well between yellowish, reddish or brownish, but some animals are bright orange. Outside Europe this animal is referred to as the European Garden Spider.