The white cross-like marking on the dark brown abdomen of the Cross Spider led to its common name and became a main identifier. Originally from Europe, the Cross Orbweaver Spider was transported to North America and has settled in nicely thanks to similar climates and habitats. It’s a welcome, hard-working addition to the garden, bringing free pest-control to blooms and harvests.
The cross spider spins a large complex orb-web - up to 40 cm in diameter - used to capture insect prey.The webs are built by the large females. At the tip of the abdomen there are three pairs of spinnerets, which secrete silk used to create the web. They usually face head down on the web, waiting for prey to fly by and get entangled in the sticky web. The prey is quickly captured by the female and wrapped with silk prior to being eaten.
Orb Spiders are said to eat their webs each night along with many of the small insects stuck to it. They have been observed eating the web within a couple of minutes. A new web is then spun in the morning.
The Cross Orbweaver Spider female is almost twice the size of the male. There is evidence that some females eat the male after mating.