Some are 'huge' house spiders. These are almost invariably specimens of Eratigena atrica (= T. gigantea) See my blog "House Spiders", 31 December, 2012.
I was reminded of this when I disturbed a large spider as I was clearing a clump of Pampas Grass.
|Araneus diadematus. Stefan Hill, Daventry|
23 October, 2014
It was a handsome female Araneus diadematus, generally known as the Garden Cross Spider. She was fully mature and her large abdomen showed that she was gravid, i.e. full of eggs, having successfully mated. The much smaller male runs a terrible risk when mating and signals his intent by going through a ritual plucking of her web before advancing too near. With luck he may mate with several females until he becomes weak and...
When, in 1757, the Swedish naturalist Carl Alexander Clerck named this species Araneus diadematus he was referring to the diadem or cross formed by white spots on the abdomen (these spots are actually cells swollen by guanine). The species was revered in ancient times as a bringer of good luck, the cross being seen as a holy sort of talisman.
I have a soft spot for this species and today, as always, I made a point of removing it to a place of safety before resuming my attack on the pampas grass. Hopefully she will live long enough to lay her eggs because with - or soon after - the first frost, she will die.