Cross Orb Weaver  (four photos)
Araneus diadematus

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

cross spider in Salt Lake City, Utah
This is a gravid (pregnant) female and she's about to give birth.  Mike (last name unknown) found this spider in his
yard in the Holliday area of the Salt Lake valley and offered it to my niece, Candice, probably because he'd heard she
had a spider crazy aunt.  Evidently, one of his kids had run into the web and it had wrapped (freakishly) across their
body.  I can imagine the screaming that went on.  Luckily, spiders are faster than we are at getting out of the way and
the child did not have the spider plastered to their shirt.  I remember walking into an orb weaver's web one night in
the dark and I recall most vividly a lot of arm-flapping and dancing going on. © Mike (Candice's yard guy) 10-6-2014


female Araneus diadematus
 While the spider was waiting in a jar for transport to my house, Mike's wife felt sorry for her and decided to let her
go so she opened the jar and laid it on the ground. The spider left but returned with some leaves to help cover an egg
sac she had just laid in the jar.  This picture is her guarding the opening to the jar.  The yellow blob in the lower right
corner is the egg sac. Cross Orb Weavers vary in color from dark grey to light yellow, are native to Europe, and can
 now be found throughout the U. S. This is a non-native species we are fortunate to have. © Carol Davis 10-14-2014


araneus cross spider
After I got her and took the lid off the jar, she decided that she needed to string silk in the opening so nothing
could come in and get her egg sac.  This is a picture of her giving me the "eye".  She has remained inside
the jar for a few days now. I understand that soon she will leave the area and die or maybe she will just
pass away in the jar, like any good mother, guarding her future children.  © Carol Davis 10-10-2014


European garden spider
This is a close-up of the hairy, dimpled abdomen after laying eggs. You might be wondering what the black
dots or "dimples"  are. I asked the experts on Bugguide.net and Richard Bradley was kind enough to give me
 the answer.  Here it is: "those are "sigilla" or singular "sigillum" sometimes referred to as apodemes (external
 skeletal elements), they are in fact the external appearance of the internal muscular attachments for the heart
 (which hangs just below the dorsal surface of the abdomen in spiders). They are often evident in large orb
weavers (family Araneidae), but are visible in many spiders. They are sort of anchors for the heart suspended
 below." For more information on Cross Orb Weavers you can visit 
Nick's Spiders of  Britain and Europe and
Spiders.us, which had the pronunciation for Araneus diadematus that I posted at the top of this page.  By the way,
tonight (October 11), the spider left the jar and now the egg sac is on its own (in my shed because I don't know
what the heck to do with it until spring. I just hope I don't forget about it).  Update!! Her babies hatched and
her are some pictures of the tiny things.  © Carol Davis 10-10-2014


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