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Cross Orbweaver (Araneus diadematus)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Cross Orbweaver



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The European Cross Orbweaver Spider is a welcome, hard-working addition to the garden, bringing charm and free pest-control to blooms and harvests.



Updated: 01/26/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The white cross-like marking on the dark brown abdomen of the Cross Spider led to its common name and became a main identifier. Originally from Europe, the Cross Orbweaver Spider was transported to North America and has settled in nicely thanks to similar climates and habitats. Unlike other non-native species, this exotic addition is not a considered a pest or a threat to indigenous spider populations. It is not harmful to humans either. Instead, it is a steadfast sentry in the garden, helping keep serious pests from destroying plants.

The Cross Orbweaver Spider female is almost twice the size of the male. There is evidence that some females eat the male after mating. Females lay eggs in a sac that is usually hung from the web. Their life span is only 12 months long. Both genders are dark brown overall. Legs have short hairs and brown and tan bands on them. Long, white hairs cover the cephalothorax. The abdomen's cross, comprised of white dots and dashes, sits inside a scalloped V-shaped center.

Like most members of the Orbweaver family, the Cross Orbweaver Spider sits in the center of its web with its head down though it may be spotted at times on the edge of its web or on a stem with its legs tucked under itself. If it feels threatened or in danger, it may first use its legs to violently shake and shimmy its web to startle the threat in hopes of causing it to leave. If that does not happen, the spider will drop to the ground and return to its web's center when it feels safe again. This spider creates a new web every day. Cross Orbweaver Spiders are found in a variety of habitats including woodlands, savannas, meadows, gardens, grasslands, semi-arid deserts, and evergreen forests.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Hairy insect icon
Helpful insect icon
Spiny / Spiky insect icon
Venomous insect icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
      Order: Araneae
        Family: Araneidae
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          Genus: Araneus
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            Species: diadematus
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Araneus diadematus
Other Name(s): European Garden Spider, Cross Orbweaver, Diadem Spider
Category: Spider
Size (Adult; Length): 6mm to 20mm (0.23" to 0.78")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown, black, white
Descriptors: cross, hairy, spiky, venomous, helpful
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 6mm (0.2in) and 20mm (0.8in)
Lo: 6mm
Md: 13mm
Hi: 20mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Cross Orbweaver may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Cross Orbweaver. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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