Cross Spider Araneus diadematus
Also known as European garden spider, Diadem spider, or Cross Orbweaver
Family Araneidae (Orb Weavers)
Description: The Cross Spider or Garden Spider is a very common and well-known orb-weaver spider in Western Europe. Individual spiders can range from light yellow, to orange-brown or dark grey, but all European garden spiders have mottled markings across the back with five or more large white dots forming a cross. Usually, the cross-like markings are quite visible. The mother puts eggs in a small cocoon, which looks more like a little web.
How big are they? Adult females range in length from 6.5 to 20 millimeters, and the males are 5.5 to 13 millimeters long.
Range / Habitat: Introduced in the United States from Western and Northern Europe. The cross spider lives in parts of North America, in a range extending from New England and the Southeast to California and the Northwestern United States and adjacent parts of Canada.
The cross spider is common in a wide range of habitats, including gardens, meadows, woodland clearings and hedgerows. It is commonly encountered next to buildings with exterior lighting. The spiders can be found in lighted stairwells of structures in rural areas.