Four-spotted Orb Weaver - Araneus quadratus


Females can reach 17 mm in length, males approximately half that. The abdomen colour is quite variable, ranging from dark brown to bright orange or yellowy-green. The legs are banded.  The appearance of males is quite different from that of the larger and fatter females, but careful examination will usually show the four pale spots on the abdomen to be present in both sexes. This is Britain's heaviest spider, although other species have much longer legs. 

Identification difficulty

The spider lives in gardens, wooded areas, marshes or long grassland - wherever there is vegetation to string an orb web across.

When to see it

June to October.

Life History

This species builds its web close to the ground to catch jumping insects such as small grasshoppers. The female builds the more elaborate web, complete with a funnel-shaped retreat off to the side where she goes during inclement weather. The web is smaller and closer to the ground than those of other species of orb weaver. Adult females can actively change their color. It takes about three days to take on colors that accurately match their resting surface.

UK Status

Common and widespread in Britain.

VC55 Status

Common in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Further Information

3,459 British records for this species to 2015

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map