Araneus diadematus (Cross Orbweaver)

About Araneus diadematus

Taxonomic Hierarchy

→ Kingdom: Animalia
→ Phylum: Arthropoda
→ Class: Arachnida
→ Order: Araneae
→ Family: Araneidae
→ Genus: Araneus
→ Species: Araneus diadematus

Common Name (Official / AAS)

Cross Orbweaver

Other Common Names

European Garden Spider, Cross Spider, Diadem Spider, Garden Spider, Garden Cross Spider, Gartenkreuzspinne (Germany)

Author

Author of species name: Carl Alexander Clerck. First year published: 1757, as Araneus diadematus.

Pronunciation

uh-RAY-nee-uhs dye-uh-dem-AH-tuhs

Meaning

In Latin, Araneus means “spider”; diadematus means “crown” or “decorated with an ornamental headband.”

Notable Previous Names

Aranea diadema
Epeira diademata

Identifying Traits of Araneus diadematus

Size

Body length (excluding legs) of adult female ranges from 6-20 mm; adult males range from 6-13 mm.

Female Primary Colors

Male Primary Colors

Eye diagram of Araneus diadematus

Eyes

Total of eight eyes. The median eyes are grouped together in a trapezoid shape, while the lateral eyes are some distance away. See eye arrangement diagram for clarification.

Legs

Legs relatively thick and very spiny, as well as banded in a variety of colors, like white, orange, black, brown, and yellow. First leg is longest, third is shortest.The adult males have much longer legs in relation to body size than do the adult females. The tarsi (tips of legs) have 3 claws.

Body

Abdomen of female broadly oval (tapers towards spinnerets); typically base color is beige or yellow with a darker folium and a series of white dashes and dots in the shape of a cross. This pattern can vary considerably, or be almost entirely missing in some individuals. Underside of abdomen with central black area framed by pale ‘L’-shaped brackets. Abdomen very, very large in gravid female specimens. Abdomen of adult male is quite small when compared to that of the female, but has the same pattern. Also, it is usually much darker in color, often dark orange or red.

Range of Araneus diadematus

Araneus diadematus can be found in the following states, provinces and territories across the United States and Canada. Our current understanding of each spider's distribution is drawn from numerous scientific publications and online spider submissions, in order to be as accurate as possible. It is important to remember that spiders do not adhere to the territorial lines decided on by humans, therefore these ranges are subject to change.

Important Range Notes

We chose not to include the northern Great Plains states/provinces in our geographic range of this species because it is rarely, if ever, encountered there. However, we don’t think it will be long before the gap between Minnesota and Idaho is closed.

United States

Canada

Additional Information

Habitat

This is an abundant spider in yards, gardens, farms, orchards, urban and suburban areas throughout its North American range. It also frequents forest edges, riparian corridors, and old fields. Can be found low to the ground or high up (you can even find them on the outside of skyscrapers, as a result of the “ballooning” they do as spiderlings).

Web

Large, vertical, orb-shaped web is usually built at least a few feet off the ground amid shrubs, trees, tall weeds, fences, buildings, etc; they are opportunistic and will use whatever “framework” they can. Though the actual orb of the web may be only a foot or two in diameter, the tether lines can be 6 feet in length or more, depending on where the web is situated. Web may be attached to buildings in urban and suburban areas. The spider may either reside inside a retreat at the periphery of the web, or occupy the hub (center) of the web, hanging head down. A signal thread may connect the retreat to the hub of the web for alerting the spider of prey. The spider typically eats the web every night, recycling the proteins and water and using them to re-build a fresh web.

Season

This is one of the few orbweavers readily found at all stages of its development, though mature spiders are the most conspicuous, from summer through late autumn. Some individuals emerge from the egg sac in the spring and reach maturity in a single summer, while others overwinter as juveniles and mature the following spring (the latter scenario is most common).

Food

Prey is flying or jumping insects that are intercepted by the vertical orb web.

Lifecycle

Male spiders reach adulthood ahead of females and may pair up with immature females, waiting for them to become sexually mature. Females spin egg sacs in late summer or autumn that are about 20mm in diameter and comprised of golden silk. They are constructed (seemingly “plastered”) in a protected place somewhat away from the web, sometimes attached to the eaves of buildings or inside rolled-up leaves or other foliage. Female dies shortly after laying her eggs. Each egg sac can contain anywhere from 100 to 800 yellowish eggs. Typically, only one egg sac is made per female. Spiderlings emerge from the sac the following spring and remain clumped together for a day or two, after which they disperse. Some spiderlings “balloon” to other locations by riding the air currents, while others stay relatively close to where they were “born.” Spiderlings are bright yellow with a black triangle toward the rear of the abdomen (though this is a generic pattern among many very young orb weavers). Even the spiderlings create a very cute, tiny, orb-shaped web.

Remarks

Pictures of Araneus diadematus (Cross Orbweaver)

Filtering options are grayed out when we do not have pictures for the given perspective. If you are a spider photographer, you can submit pictures of spiders to help fill any voids in our ever expanding library.
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Webs
  • City/Region: South Deerfield
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Attributes: Webs
  • City/Region: Seattle
  • State: Washington
  • Country: United States
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Gravid, Webs
  • State: Washington
  • Country: United States
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Sex: Male, FemaleMale, Female
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Monhegan Island, Lincoln County
  • State: Maine
  • Country: United States
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Old Heath, Colchester
  • Country: England
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Webs
  • City/Region: Gurnee
  • State: Illinois
  • Country: United States
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Genitalia
  • City/Region: Cowichan Valley, British Columbia
  • Country: Canada
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Portland
  • State: Oregon
  • Country: United States
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Krain
  • State: Washington
  • Country: United States
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Gravid
  • City/Region: Krain
  • State: Washington
  • Country: United States
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Egg Sacs
  • City/Region: Krain
  • State: Washington
  • Country: United States
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Attributes: Spiderlings
  • City/Region: Krain
  • State: Washington
  • Country: United States
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Genitalia
  • City/Region: Krain
  • State: Washington
  • Country: United States
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Krain
  • State: Washington
  • Country: United States
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Krain
  • State: Washington
  • Country: United States
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Webs
  • State: Washington
  • Country: United States
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Spiderlings
  • City/Region: Oroso, Galicia
  • Country: Spain
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Spiderlings
  • City/Region: Oroso, Galicia
  • Country: Spain
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Krain
  • State: Washington
  • Country: United States
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Webs
  • City/Region: Fabius
  • State: New York
  • Country: United States
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Ventral
  • City/Region: Fabius
  • State: New York
  • Country: United States
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Ventral
  • City/Region: Fabius
  • State: New York
  • Country: United States
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Egg Sacs
  • City/Region: Fabius
  • State: New York
  • Country: United States
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Lateral
  • State: Connecticut
  • Country: United States
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Egg Sacs, Spiderlings
  • City/Region: Fabius
  • State: New York
  • Country: United States
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • City/Region: Cowichan Valley, British Columbia
  • Country: Canada
  • Araneus diadematus
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Spiderlings
  • City/Region: Marysville
  • State: Washington
  • Country: United States

References and Further Reading

Various Research Papers

Scientific Diagrams and Keys for Identification

References for the Casual Reader

Species guide last updated: March 11, 2014

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