Araneus diadematus, also known as the "cross" or "garden" spider, is commonly seen in gardens in the late summer and early autumn,and is common across the UK and much of Europe. It is an orb web spider and will take up a position in the centre of its web, waiting for prey to fly into the web and become stuck on the sticky threads. The picture is of an adult female. Males have a similar appearance but are significantly smaller. Sometimes males can be seen along the edge of the web of a female, awaiting an opportune moment to mate.
Head and chelicerae of Araneus diadematus
The bottom end of the chelicerae of Araneus diadematus, viewed from the side nearest the mouthparts
Left Pedipalp (male sexual organ) of Araneus diadematus
Epigyne (female sexual organ) of Araneus diadematus. The central finger-like feature is called the "scape", and is unique to the Araneidae. It has several functions, including that of holding on to the pedipalp of the male during copulation.
Spinnerets of Araneus diadematus. Note the silk thread still attached to the spinner in the top right of the picture.
Tarsal claw of Araneus diadematus. The central "hook" and serrated bristles, which together enable the spider to hold on to its web, are clearly visible.
The pedipalp of a female Araneus diadematus, with its single combed claw.