16th July 2014

The familiar orb web of the Garden Spider, the most common spider in the UK.

The familiar orb web of the Garden Spider, the most common spider in the UK.

The most common spider in the U.K. is the Garden Spider, which is also called the Cross Spider due to the pattern of white markings on its back. It’s body can vary in colour from light grey to dark brown. It is the spider which creates the familiar orb webs we see so often in our gardens, and just about everywhere. As with many spiders, the female is larger than the male, which has to approach with caution during mating, for fear of being eaten by the female. The female spins the intricate web each morning, with her specially adapted third pair of legs, (which are also adapted to not get caught in the sticky threads themselves) and then either hangs out on the web or on a nearby leaf with one leg touching a thread. It picks up the vibrations from any flying insects caught in the web, ignoring smaller prey but rushing to trapped flies, moths and butterflies. The Garden Spider kills them with a venomous bite, before wrapping them in silk to eat later by turning their insides to ‘soup’ and sucking in the fluid through their mandibles. After mating, the female spins a cocoon of silk into which she deposits the eggs, which she then guards, not leaving even to hunt or feed, for the rest of her life. She dies before they hatch the following May, and the cycle begins again. Conditions: Hot, humid day with cloud and a little rain. Temperature: Max 23- Min 14 C

Garden Spider

Garden Spider

Food parcels of the Garden Spider, including Moths and Flies, wrapped in silk.

Food parcels of the Garden Spider, including Moths and Flies, wrapped in silk.

Female Garden Spider guarding its egg cocoon

Female Garden Spider guarding its egg cocoon

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