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Latin name: Araneus diadematus
Size: Females up to 13mm, males up to 8mm
Distribution: Found throughout the UK.
Months seen: June to October
Habitat: Found in hedgerows, woodlands and gardens
Food: Mostly flying insects which are caught in orb webs
Special features: Garden spiders are sometimes called Cross spiders on account of the white '+' cross-shaped mark on the abdomen. They're most frequently seen in September and October, when they reach adult size.
The females are frequently found upside-down in the centre of their circular webs, which they construct about a metre off the ground, in trees and hedges.
The colouration of the abdomen is variable. It can be anything from dark chocolate brown, through bright orange, to yellow. Usually at least five of the dots making up the cross marking are visible to some extent.
The young spiderlings, which appear in spring and early summer look very different. Their bodies are bright yellow with a dark brown triangular patch on the abdomen.