Autumn is a good time to appreciate spiders, when they reach full maturity towards the end of their commonly one-year life cycles, says entomologist Richard Jones.
Here is our expert guide to British spiders, including how to identify different species and where to find (or avoid!) them.
Garden or diadem Spider Araneus diadematus
Named for the diadem on its back (a pale circle and four radiating gleams), this has many colour forms including brown, yellow-green and orange. It spins spiral webs along hedges and between tall stems.
More related content:
- Diamond spider returns from the dead
- British wasp guide: how to identify, lifecycle and why wasps sting in autumn
- Guide to UK insects that bite and sting: how to identify and avoid being bitten
Four spot orb-weaver Araneus quadratus
Britain’s largest spider is plumper, broader, rounder than the garden spider, with four indented dimples on its abdomen, usually outlined with four white spots.
Makes webs in long grass and dense shrubs.
Bridge orb-weaver Larinioides sclopetarius
Elegantly marked, this has velvety grey-and-white colouring (brown hints sometimes) and an undulating white line down each side of its abdomen. Its webs are over water on bridges, lock gates and wharves.
Water spider Argyroneta aquatica
Britain’s only subaquatic spider is reddish brown and grey, streaked, but appears silver because of an air bubble over its abdomen. It makes an air-filled silk-stranded diving bell in pond and stream weeds.
False widow Steatoda nobilis
Glossy black, sometimes with pale crescent on front of abdomen; male has pale mottled fleur-de-lis mark on back of abdomen. It makes a scaffold web in sheds and can give a painful nip if picked up. So don’t.
Walnut orb-weaver Nuctenea umbratica
Glossy dark-brown above, fawn at edges, separated by undulating pale line on each side of abdomen. Broad and flattened, it hides in cracks in fenceposts or under tree bark by day and spins web at night.
Wasp spider Argiope bruennichi
Unmistakable, massive, barred black-and-yellow female; the male is smaller, narrower with orange abdomen. Its low web in long grass has a broad vertical stripe of fuzzy white silk. Grasshopper predator.
Raft spider Dolomedes fimbriatus
Huge and dark chocolate brown, this is edged with two contrasting yellow-white stripes down sides of abdomen; legs are paler. Common in lowland wetlands, fens and boggy upland moors, it walks on water.
Giant house spider Tegenaria gigantea
In browns and greys, its abdomen chevron-marked, very long legs. It makes an untidy web with tubular retreat behind furniture or loose skirting, but also under logs and in hollow trees – its original habitat.