Ah, autumn. When the days are warm, the nights are cool, and the garden spiders are large.

A large orb weaver spider

Female orb weaver spider waiting to catch something in October 2023

The video below is a female orb weaver (Araneus diadematus), a common spider here in North America as well as throughout Europe.

Females can get quite large — 2 inches (5 cm) across or more. This one is only 1 inch or so, but she’s still more than twice the size of any male she might meet.

She has a web strung from the top of the greenhouse to an orange tree 10 feet or so away. It’s 15 feet in the air and the web is more than 3 feet across.

I’ve seen all sorts of insects trapped in it, including a surprisingly large dragonfly, so I’m guessing the web is in a good location.

Now that it’s autumn, it’s heading into mating season and she’ll be on the lookout for a male.

It’ll be a bittersweet deal for the male, however. Once she’s done mating with him, she’ll kill and eat him.

(They didn’t mention that in Charlotte’s Web.)


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