Regular readers of this blog will be delighted, I hope, to learn that my old friend Horace the spider is back in his usual Autumnal place outside my bathroom window.
Now, before spider experts start lecturing me on my foolishness, OK, I know, Horace, the European Garden Spider, Araneus diadematus, our most common orb-weaving spider, also known as the diadem spider or the cross orbweaver, is actually female. The male of the species is a small, weedy creature that only ventures onto Horace’s beautiful orbal web for sex and, if he is not quick enough, he can get eaten by his newly fertilised partner. Horace, female warrior, is a fighter, worthy of her heroic name.
European Garden Spiders have a cross-like pattern on their abdomens and extra long legs to help their web-site dexterity. The large females weave beautiful orb-shaped webs daily to catch insect prey. They wrap their victims in silk before eating them and weave a new web each day after eating the old one. Oh yes, they bite if you put your finger too close but it is only a mild and harmless pain so don’t think harshly of Horace.
If you live in North America, you may well see your own Horaces and you might resent the name European Garden Spider but Horace is not native to America, he/she went over with the Mayflower or some other boat and, I am told quite likes it over there.
All large spiders that have ever taken up residence in my house are called Horace, it keeps relations friendly without getting too intimate. I prefer to stay gender unspecific on these things.
Welcome back Horace.