Overview

Brief Summary

Description

The garden spider is a very common, large orb-web spider (1). The colour is variable, ranging from pale yellow to blackish-brown (2), with pale markings on the abdomen which often take the form of a cross (1). Females are larger than males (2). Newly hatched spiderlings have yellow abdomens with a dark patch (1). As with all spiders, there are four pairs of legs (3); the first pair are long and are used to sense vibrations on the web (8). In front of the walking legs there is also a pair of leg-like 'palps', which are used for sperm-storage in males and are inserted into the female's body to transfer sperm (6). At the tip of the abdomen there are three pairs of spinnerets, which secrete silk (8).
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Biology

The garden spider spins a large complex orb-web, which measures up to 40 cm in diameter and is used to capture insect prey (1). Individuals spend much of their time at the centre of their web, and detect vibrations in the silk through their legs when insects become trapped. This spider wraps prey items in silk before consuming them (3). When this species is threatened, it rapidly shakes itself and the web up and down, and may drop to the ground on a silk thread (1). The web may be rebuilt every day, and the old web is consumed so that the proteins used in its construction are conserved and re-used (3). Males approach females with caution in order to avoid being eaten. During copulation, males embrace the female's abdomen; sperm is transferred by the insertion of one of the male's palps. The male departs after mating, and the female spends a number of days inside her retreat. She then begins to spin an egg sac or 'cocoon', which protects the eggs. She stays close to the cocoon for a number of days before dying (3). The young spiders emerge from the cocoon in spring (3); they gather into dense groups until after their first moult (1), after which they disperse by 'ballooning', a form of dispersal in which the spiderlings are carried on the wind by a thread of silk (3). The word 'spider' derives from the Old English word 'spithra' and is related to the German 'spinne', both of which mean 'spinner' (8). Spider webs have been used to heal wounds and to staunch blood flow for many years (7).
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Comprehensive Description

diadematusAraneusAraneidaeAnimalia

Araneus diadematus Clerck, 1757

Materials

Type status: Other material Occurrence: recordedBy: Kuntner, Gregorič , Čandek ; sex: 2 females, 1 male; Location: locationID: CH04; country: Switzerland ; locality: Bernese Alps, Gasteretal ; minimumElevationInMeters: 1460; maximumElevationInMeters: 1460; decimalLatitude: 46.4552 ; decimalLongitude: 7.7039 ; Event: eventDate: 2011-07-07 ; habitat: river shore

Type status: Other material Occurrence: recordedBy: Kuntner, Lokovšek ; sex: 2 females; Location: locationID: SI40; country: Slovenia ; locality: Slavnik ; minimumElevationInMeters: 816; maximumElevationInMeters: 816; decimalLatitude: 45.5499 ; decimalLongitude: 13.9619 ; Event: eventDate: 2010-08-26 ; habitat: grassland and forest

Type status: Other material Occurrence: recordedBy: Kuntner, Čandek ; sex: 3 females; Location: locationID: SI50; country: Slovenia ; locality: Sp. Praprece ; minimumElevationInMeters: 351; maximumElevationInMeters: 351; decimalLatitude: 46.1620 ; decimalLongitude: 14.6933 ; Event: eventDate: 2010-08-03/2012-05-28 ; habitat: house and surroundings

Type status: Other material Occurrence: recordedBy: Kostanjšek , RTŠB 2011 ; sex: 1 female; Location: locationID: SI64; country: Slovenia ; locality: Polensak ; minimumElevationInMeters: 225; maximumElevationInMeters: 225; decimalLatitude: 46.4723 ; decimalLongitude: 16.0182 ; Event: eventDate: 2011-07-29 ; habitat: marshy grassland

  • Candek, Klemen, Gregoric, Matjaz, Kostanjsek, Rok, Frick, Holger, Kropf, Christian, Kuntner, Matjaz, Miller, Jeremy A., Hoeksema, Bert W. (2013): Targeting a portion of central European spider diversity for permanent preservation. Biodiversity Data Journal 1, 980: 980-980, URL:http://dx.doi.org/10.3897/BDJ.1.e980
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Hoeksema, Bert W.

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diadematusAraneusAraneaeArachnidaArthropodaAnimalia

Araneus diadematus Clerck, 1757

Materials

Type status: Other material Occurrence: recordedBy: C. Deltshev & G. Blagoev ; sex: 1 male; Location: country: FYR of Macedonia ; locality: Galichitsa Mt., Ohrid, Studenchitsa ; verbatimElevation: 690 m; Event: eventDate: 30-08-2002

Distribution

Holarctic.

Notes

Previously recorded from Ohrid ( Stojićević 1929 ).

  • Deltshev, Christo, Komnenov, Marjan, Blagoev, Gergin, Georgiev, Teodor, Lazarov, Stoyan, Stojkoska, Emilija, Naumova, Maria (2013): Faunistic diversity of spiders (Araneae) in Galichitsa mountain (FYR Macedonia). Biodiversity Data Journal 1, 977: 977-977, URL:http://dx.doi.org/10.3897/BDJ.1.e977
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Description of Araneus diadematus

De mannetjes hebben een kleiner achterlijf dan vrouwtjes.
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1geron

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Distribution

Geographic Range

The range of the Araneus diadematus extends from New England and adjacent Canada across the northern states to Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )

  • Kaston, B. 1972. How To Know the Spiders. Dubuque, Iowa: Wm. C. Brown Company Publishers.
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Range

This spider is common and widespread throughout Britain and northern Europe (4). It is also found in the northern states of the USA (3).
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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Female Araneus diadematus have lengths of 6.5 to 20 mm, whereas males are 5.5 to 13 mm. Color ranges from pale yellow brown to nearly black. The folium is not as distinct as some other Araneus species and includes a number of white or yellow spots. The largest spots are arranged longitudinally near the anterior end. Usually there is a pair of white spots at right angles to the longitudinal ones, which gives the group the form of a cross. The cross arrangement is more apparent in darker individuals and is caused by guanine cells which shine through the transparent cuticle. The carapace has a median and marginal dark bands. There are four pairs of legs which fan out radially from the connecting carapace and sternum. Each leg has seven segments: a coxa and a trochanter, which are both short; a long femur and a kneelike patella; a slender tibia and metatarsus; and finally a tarsus with three claws. The first pair of legs are relatively long and used as feelers for probing the environment. Sensory hairs densely cover the distal leg segments. The external sex organs of males and females are observed ventrally. Both male and female genital openings lie inside the epigastric furrow, except that the epigynum is situated in front of the female furrow. Males also have a bulb or palp used for the storage of sperm.

Range length: 6.5 to 20 mm.

Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; heterothermic

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes shaped differently

  • Foelix, R. 1982. Biology of Spiders. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
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Ecology

Habitat

Araneus diadematus lives in grasslands and requires some form of moisture. The environment must provide plenty of attachment sites for the scaffolding of the web and there must be sufficient vertical open space for the orb web.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland

  • Wise, D. 1993. Spiders in Ecological Webs. New York: Cambridge University Press.
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Found in a very wide range of habitats, including gardens, meadows, woodland clearings and hedgerows (5).
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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

The ultimate purpose of spider webs is to capture prey and orb webs are well-suited for this. They are highly geometrical, with the hub slightly higher than the center so that the spider may run down the web quickly. The area nearer the hub is coated more densely with sticky globules. Araneus diadematus individuals spend most of their time on the web's hub monitoring vibrations in the silk with their sensitive legs. Females rest on one side of the web and monitors by holding onto a signal thread. When catching prey, Araneus diadematus individuals wrap prey in silk thread before consuming it. After killing and wrapping their prey, these spiders may not immediately consume the prey. The number of prey attacked and killed may decrease as the number of prey increases and the spiders become satiated. Spiders eat primarily arthropod prey.

Animal Foods: insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods

Primary Diet: carnivore (Insectivore )

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Associations

Known prey organisms

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication and Perception

Araneus diadematus individuals integrate information from the central nervous system and visual system. A spider will orient its body axis perpendicular to the path of a moving object in order to view the object with the main eyes. Input from the secondary eyes causes the spider to turn without any visual feedback. However, when a moving object is viewed only by the secondary eyes, a spider will not always turn towards it.

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile

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Reproduction

The internal reproductive organs of Araneus diadematus resemble those of other arthropods. Females have paired ovaries that lie in the abdomen and join to form a common oviduct which ends in the uterus and opens to the outside in the epigastric furrow. Females also have a pair of spermathacae or seminal receptacles where sperm taken in during copulation is stored until egg-laying. In males, a common duct is formed by a pair of coiled testes in the abdomen and opens to the exterior at the centre of the epigastric furrow. Males exude sperm through the epigastric furrow onto a sperm web and transfer it to their palps. The terminal palp is the sperm reservoir and carries out insemination through a narrow tube known as the embolus. The palp serves as a pipette which can suck up and release seminal fluid. Blood pressure within male palps increases so that sclerotized projections such as hooks and spines elevate into position to grasp on to the surface of the epigyne. Only the correct palp will fit into the appropriate epigyne. This ensures successful mating only between individuals of the same species. Males search for a female and are rather cautious when approaching a female, because they risk being considered prey. Males embrace the female's abdomen during copulation and insert one palp. Afterwards, the male leaves and his palps are refilled with sperm. This process may only be repeated a few times since the life expectancy of males is shorter than females.

Mating System: polygynous

Females breed once, dieing shortly after laying their eggs. Individuals of this species breed at the end of the warm season, with young hatching in the following spring.

Key Reproductive Features: semelparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); oviparous

Before the female starts making her egg sac, she withdraws for several days. She then spins a thin layer of single, tightly-woven silk threads. The first layer is molded by her abdominal movements into a disk, known as a basal plate. Then she crawls underneath the basal plate and continuously turns around in circles spinning the cylindrical wall. The palps are held in contact with one side of this wall while spinnerets are placed on the opposite wall. After about two hours, the cylindrical wall grows to 5 mm in height. Cocoon size is directly related to the size of the spider, but not necessarily to the number of eggs it will hold. Females wait for a few minutes and begins to lay eggs and cover them in a tight pack of silk threads. This becomes the cover plate and the spider continues to add layers of thread to it. The loop mesh ultimately wraps around the entire surface of the egg sac. Females remain close to the cocoon for the next few days in case the threads need repairing. Females die a few days after the egg sac is built. The cocoon will appear unchanged externally while the spiderlings develop for a few months. The offspring emerge in spring and release fine threads of silk from their spinnerets to be carried off by the wind to new locations. Their journey through the air is called ballooning. Wherever each spider drops from the sky will be where its new life begins.

Parental Investment: no parental involvement; precocial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Protecting: Female)

  • Dewey, J. 1993. Spiders Near and Far. New York: Dutton Children's Books.
  • Foelix, R. 1982. Biology of Spiders. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
  • Preston-Mafham, K., R. Preston-Mafham. 1996. The Natural History of Spiders. Ramsbury, Malborough: The Crowood Press Ltd.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Araneus diadematus

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 12 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

ARAN--S-DIAD-MAT-S-C-I------------------------------------------ACTTTGTACTTAGTTTTTGGGGCATGAGCCGCTATGGTAGGGACAGCAATA---AGTGTATTGATTCGAATTGAATTAGGTCAGCCTGGGAGATTTATTGGAGAT---GATCAACTTTATAATGTTATTGTAACTGCGCATGCGTTTGTAATAATTTTTTTTATAGTTATACCTATTTTAATTGGGGGATTTGGAAATTGATTAGTGCCTTTAATG---TTAGGGGCTCCTGATATAGCGTTTCCTCGAATAAATAATTTAAGATTTTGATTACTTCCTCCATCTTTATTTCTTTTGATTGTTTCTTCAATAGTTGAGATAGGAGTTGGTGCAGGGTGGACTGTATATCCTCCTTTAGCCGGATTAGAGGGTCATGCTGGAAGATCAGTGGATTTT---GCAATTTTTTCTTTGCATTTAGCGGGGGCTTCTTCTATTATAGGGGCTATTAATTTTATTTCTACAATTATTAATATGCGTTTTTATGGAATAACAATAGAAAAAGTTCCTTTATTTGTGTGGTCTGTATTAATTACGGCTGTTTTACTATTACTTTCTTTACCCGTTTTGGCAGGT---GCTATTACTATATTATTAACTGACCGAAATTTTAATACATCATTTTTTGATCCTTCGGGAGGGGGAGATCCTATTTTATTTCAACATTTATTTTGATTTTTTGGTCATCCGGAGGTTTATATTTTAATTTTGCCGGGATTTGGAATTGTCTCTCATATTATTAGTTCTTCTGTAGGAAAGCGG---GAACCTTTTGGAAATTTAGGAATGATTTATGCTATAGTAGGAATTGGAGGAATAGGATTTGTGGTGTGGGCACATCATATATTTTCTGTGGGGATGGATGTGGATACTCGGGCCTATTTTACTGCGGCAACAATAATTATTGCAGTTCCTACTGGAATTAAGGTTTTTAGATGAATA---GCAACACTTCATGGATCT---TATTTTAAATTTGAAACGCCTTTAATGTGATGTATTGGATTTATTTTTCTATTTACAATGGGTGGAATTACTGGGGTAGTTTTATCAAATTCTTCTTTAGATATTATTTTACATGATACATATTATGTCGTTGCTCATTTTCATTATGTT---TTAAGTATAGGTGCGGTTTTTGCAATTTTAGCTGGTATCACTTATTGATTTCCCTTATTCTTTGGGGTTGTAATGAATAGAAAAAAATCTAAGTTGCAATTTTATATTATATTTGTAGGGGTAAATATAACTTTTTTTCCTCAACATTTTTTAGGTTTAAATGGAATA
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Araneus diadematus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 13
Specimens with Barcodes: 58
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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There is no special conservation status for this species.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

State of Michigan List: no special status

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Status

Widespread and very common (1).
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Threats

This spider is not currently threatened.
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Management

Conservation

No conservation action has been targeted at this species.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Araneus diadematus individuals feed on insects, helping to reduce the population of insect pests. People can use clean spider's web on a cut or wound to stop bleeding.

Positive Impacts: controls pest population

  • Parsons, A. 1990. Amazing Spiders. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc..
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Wikipedia

European garden spider

For the 1952 documentary film, see The Garden Spider.
"Cross spider" redirects here. For the cross spiders famous for the unusually marked webs, see Argiope (spider).

The European garden spider, diadem spider, cross spider, or cross orbweaver (Araneus diadematus) is a common orb-weaver spider found in Europe and parts of North America,

Range[edit]

European garden spider (orb-weaver) varieties are very commonly found throughout Europe and North America. In America, their range extends from New England and the Southeast to California and the Northwestern United States. They can also be found in parts of southern Canada adjacent to the United States.[2][3]

Size and markings[edit]

Individual spiders' colouring can range from extremely light yellow to very dark grey, but all European garden spiders have mottled markings across the back, with five or more large, white dots forming a cross. The white dots result from cells filled with guanine, which is a byproduct of protein metabolism.[4]

Adult females range in length from 6.5 to 20 mm (0.26 to 0.79 in), while males range from 5.5 to 13 mm (0.22 to 0.51 in).[5] During mating, the much smaller male will approach the female cautiously. If not careful, he could end up being eaten by her (see video below).[6]

Specialization[edit]

Ventral view
A courting male is consumed by the female (video, 1m 38s)

The third pair of legs of garden spiders are specialized for assisting in the spinning of orb webs. These spiders also use them to move around on their web without getting stuck. These legs are very useful only in the web; while on the ground, these legs are of little value.[citation needed] Since this tends to be a passive animal, it is difficult to provoke to bite—but if it does, the bite is just slightly unpleasant and completely harmless to humans.[3]

The webs are built by the larger females who usually lie head down on the web, or in a nearby leaf (with a signal thread attached to a leg), waiting for prey to get entangled in the web. The prey is then quickly captured and wrapped in silk before being eaten. Like many other orb weavers, the spider will use its legs to violently oscillate its web if it feels threatened, in an attempt to ward off potential predators. Orb spiders are said to eat their webs each night along with many of the small insects stuck to it. They have been observed doing this within a few minutes. A new web is then spun in the morning.[3]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ Nikita J. Kluge (2007). "Case 3371. Araneidae Clerck, 1758, Araneus Clerck, 1758 and Tegenaria Latreille, 1804 (Arachnida, Araneae): proposed conservation" (PDF). Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 64 (1): 15–18. 
  2. ^ Cross Orbweaver; at BugGuide online; retrieved April 2013
  3. ^ a b c Cross Spider, Washington NatureMapping Project
  4. ^ Rainer F. Foelix (1992). Biologie der Spinnen [Biology of the Spiders] (in German). Stuttgart: Thieme. ISBN 3-13-575802-8. 
  5. ^ Cross Orbweaver, Penn State Entomology
  6. ^ "European Garden Spider". , Down Gardens Services[dead link][dead link]
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