This page is for spiders that make orb-shaped webs. For larger Orb-Weaver Spiders click on this link.


Female Missing Sector Orb Weaver   (Zygiella x-notata)

Missing-Sector Orb Weaver Spider   (Zygiella x-notata and Zygiella atrica)

A small and very common orb-weaving spider, with a maximum body-length of 11mm for females but most are more commonly 6-7mm.  Males can reach 7mm but are typically 3.5-5mm. Widespread across the UK especially in the SE of England. Often found in warmer areas on the outside of buildings and window frames. Adult Missing-Sector Orb Weavers build an orb web with two of the upper sectors missing connecting threads. Between these two bare sectors the signal thread is usually located which leads to the spider's retreat. These spiders sit in the middle of their web during the evening and night time, and web repairs are done in the early hours of the morning. Both species of Missing Sector Orb Weaver can usually only be distinguished under a microscope. In my garden in SE London this is one of the most common species of spider and specimens can easily be found throughout most of the year on my garden fence, garden shed and on ivy, hydrangea and privet.

LINK 1      LINK 2    LINK 3    LINK 4    British Arachnological Society Factsheet



Female Missing-Sector Orb Weaver  (Zygiella sp)

Both Zygiella x-notata and Zygiella atrica Missing-Sector Orb Weavers can be difficult to tell apart. However, if a specimen has dark grey patches at the front of the abdomen either side of the midline, then the spider is likely to be Zygiella x-notata. If the dark patches are pinkish red then the spider is likely to be Zygiella atrica. 





Female Missing Sector Orb Weaver   (Zygiella x-notata)

The abdomen of this species is highly variable in colour as the three images above demonstrate. They can range from grey, silver, gold, brown or red. But all have the "oak-leaf" shaped pattern on the top of the abdomen. Missing-Sector Orb Weavers often venture into homes during the colder winter months where they frequently build webs on the inside of windows.





male Missing-Sector Orb Weaver   (Zygiella x-notata)








Female Missing Sector Orb Weaver (Zygiella x-notata) in web. Photographed at night on my garden shed in SE London 16th November 2020. 

Typical of webs made by the Missing-Sector Orb Weaver Spider the top right corner of the web can be seen here to be missing in the image above. The missing sector of the web made by this species can be missing from anywhere in the web but is usually missing from the top half.






Female Missing Sector Orb Weaver (Zygiella x-notata) photographed in my SE London garden, 18th August 2021.









Tiny 2mm Missing-Sector Orb Weaver Spiderling (Zygiella x-notata) with Greenfly prey. Photographed in my garden 10th May 2020.








6mm female Green Orb-Weaver Spider

Green Orb-Weaver Spider  / aka Cucumber Spider (Araniella cucurbitina or opisthographa

There are two very similar species of Green Orb-Weaver Spider in the UK that can only be identified with a microscope. The Green Orb-Weaver Spider is very small with a body length of only 4-6mm. Green Orb-Weaver Spiders are a common native species that can be found throughout the UK and northern Europe. Despite their bright and almost fluorescent green colour theses tiny spiders can hide well camouflaged amongst  bushes, plants and hedgerows.  They usually go completely unnoticed until they stray from their usual habitat onto white uPVC windows or door frames in residential areas. The abdomen is bright green / yellow with small black dots. The underside of the abdomen also has a red spot, but this can fade in mature specimens. Young spiders may have a red spot on their head as well. Newly hatched spiderlings are red but their colour changes to brown before the autumn arrives.




5mm female Green Orb-Weaver Spider








3mm juvenile male Green Orb-Weaver Spider








2.5mm juvenile female Green Orb-Weaver Spider








4mm adult male Green Orb-Weaver Spider







Male Green Orb-Weaver Spider








Female Green Orb-Weaver Spider building a web in Common Nettles in North Kent 15/07/2019








Female Green Orb-Weaver Spider is perfectly camouflaged against the leaves of this Privet Bush in SE London 5/5/19.








2.5mm juvenile female Araniella sp Orb-Weaver Spider - (Araniella cf displicata).

Six-Spotted Orb-Weaver Spider  (Araniella displicata)

The Six-Spotted Orb-Weaver is a small Orb-Weaver Spider with very limited distribution in the UK where it has been recorded in low numbers at a few known sites in the SE of England. Adults have a body-length of around 4.5-8mm. Usually encountered in early to mid-summer in bushes and lower branches of trees, especially pine trees in areas of heather. Adults can usually be found from March to June. After that juveniles can still be found and this species over-winters as a sub-adult. This species is highly variable in colour and can be brown, orange, red or yellow or a combination of these colours. The spider above is a young juvenile Araniella sp which may be the rare Six-Spotted Orb-Weaver. However this species is inseparable from others of its genus at this stage as juvenile Cucumber Spiders can be very variable in colour too, including shades of brown, and can appear identical to juvenile Six-Spotted Orb-Weavers at this young age.

LINK 1    LINK 2    LINK 3    LINK 4



4mm adult female Araneus cf triguttatus, found on umbelliferous flowers surrounded by broadleaved trees in Greenwich Park, SE London, 30th June 2021.  

Deciduous Orb-Weaver (Araneus triguttatus

The Deciduous Orb-Weaver is a small species growing to a maximum of 4-6mm for females and 3-5mm for males. It is usually found between 1-2 metres above the ground in broadleaved trees or shrubs. It is found mainly in the south and south-east of England where it is classed as locally common. The Deciduous Orb-Weaver is impossible to accurately separate from the visually identical Evergreen Orb-Weaver (Araneus sturmi) but knowing where the spider was found is often enough to identify the two similar species. Araneus sturmi is more common and has a wider distribution.

LINK 1    LINK 2



4mm adult female Araneus cf triguttatus, found in Greenwich Park, SE London, 30th June 2021.  








4mm Zilla diodia with two front legs missing. Found under a privet bush in my garden in SE London, 30th April 2020   

Zilla diodia Orb Weaver 

Zilla diodia is a small orb-weaver with a maximum body-length of around 3.5 - 5mm, with 4mm being typical. It usually builds its web in low vegetation and often in dark shady places. Mainly found in the southern half of Britain, especially the SE of England. The orb-webs are distinctive with a tightly woven lattice area in the centre of the web. Where found it can sometimes be recorded in large numbers. Usually seen sitting in the middle of their orb-web during the daytime.

LINK 1    LINK 2    LINK 3



4mm Zilla diodia found in Lavender in my garden in SE London, 1st May 2020 







4mm Zilla diodia. Its distinctive orb-web was built on an Ivy-covered fence in my garden in SE London, 17th May 2020 








4mm Zilla diodia. Its distinctive orb-web was built on an Ivy-covered fence in my garden in SE London, 17th May 2020 








3.5mm Zilla diodia in orb-web, built in a lavender bush in full sun in my garden in SE London, 8th May 2020 








8mm adult female Metallina merianae found at the base of a hollow tree in woodland in SE London, 29th December 2020   

Shaded Orb-Weaver (Metallina merianae

Metallina species are orb-weavers from the Tetragnathidae family of Wide-Jawed Orb-Weavers or Stretch Spiders. There are three species in the Metallina genus that can be found in the UK and all three are common and widespread. In addition they can all be highly variable in colour and patterns. Metallina segmentata and Metallina mengei both share similar habitat and both have the dark "tuning fork" median mark on the light carapace. Metallina merianae is easiest to distinguish as it has a solid dark mark on the carapace instead.

Metallina merianae also prefers rather different habitat to the other two species. Metallina merianae prefers to make its orb-web in dark, damp spots and is most often seen at cave entrances, hollow trees and mammal burrows entrances. Other locations include under vegetation, under grass tussocks, on stream banks with over-hanging vegetation, behind waterfalls and under bridges. Adult specimens can be found all year round but peak in summer and autumn. During the daytime Metallina merianae often hides itself away from its orb-web in a nearby shaded retreat. The spikey pinkish-white egg-sacs are usually seen in June.

Metallina merianae is a small / medium-sized orb-weaver with a typical body-length of around 4.5 - 7mm for males and 5.5 - 9mm for females. Some specimens reach 12mm.

LINK 1    LINK 2    LINK 3    LINK 4    LINK 5



8mm adult female Metallina merianae found at the base of a hollow tree in woodland in SE London, 29th December 2020   








8mm adult female Metallina merianae found at the base of a hollow tree in woodland in SE London, 29th December 2020   








Adult female Common Orb-Weaver (Metellina segmentata) on low tree branch in SE London, 6th September 2016

Common Orb-Weaver  aka Lesser Garden Spider, Stretch Spider.  (Metellina segmentata)

Metellina segmentata is another of the three commonly found orb-weaver spiders of the Metellina genus and can be found in most types of habitats on vegetation and other structures up to a height of 2 metres in gardens, parks, grassland, waste-ground, hedgerows and woodland. Metallina segmentata is a small orb-weaver with a typical body-length of around 4 - 6mm for males and 4 - 8mm for females. The abdomen can vary in colour from orange, yellow and red to dull light brown. Males are usually darker. Metallina segmentata and Metallina mengei both share similar habitat. Both have the dark "tuning fork" median mark on the light carapace and can be difficult to separate without close examination. These two species are the most common orb-weavers in the UK.

When disturbed these spiders can lay with their legs fully stretched out in-font and behind them, giving rise to the name "Stretch Spider". When stretched out like this they can have a leg-span of up to an inch in length. Adult specimens can be seen all year round but Metallina segmentata are most frequently seen in August and September and are sometimes referred to as the Autumn Orb-Weaver. Whereas adult specimens of Metallina mengei are most frequently seen in spring and early summer. Another way of helping to distinguish between the two species is to look at the underside of the female. With Metallina mengei the black stripe beneath the abdomen usually extends forward past the epigyne but with Metallina segmentata the black line usually ends at the epigyne.

LINK 1    LINK 2    LINK 3    LINK 4



Adult female Common Orb-Weaver (Metellina segmentata) on low tree branch in SE London, 8th September 2017








6-7mm male Clerck's Thick-Jawed Spider found on low vegetation at the water's edge in a wetlands site in SE London, 27th November 2020   

Clerck's Thick-Jawed Spider (Pachygnatha clercki)

Clerck's Thick-Jawed Spider is a small orb-weaver from the Tetragnathidae family of Wide-Jawed Orb-Weavers. Males usually grow to a maximum body-length of around 5-6mm, whilst the slightly larger females usually reach around 6-7mm. Clerck's Thick-Jawed Spider is common and widespread across the UK.

Juvenile and sub-adult specimens build an orb-web amongst low vegetation in wetland habitats at the water's edge. Clerck's Thick-Jawed Spider is one of three species of Pachygnatha found in the UK, however both the other species, P.listeri & P.degeeri, are both slightly smaller than Pachygnatha clercki. Male and female specimens are similar in appearance but the males show a higher degree of contrast in the light and dark areas of the abdomen. As with all species of Pachygnatha, once fully mature these spiders leave the web and become active cursorial hunters searching for prey at ground level. Whilst Pachygnatha species possess the long chelicerae typical of Wide-Jawed Orb-Weavers they lack the elongated body that other genus in the Tetragnathidae family exhibit.

LINK 1    LINK 2    LINK 3



6-7mm male Clerck's Thick-Jawed Spider found on low vegetation at the water's edge in a wetlands site in SE London, 27th November 2020  








Male Clerck's Thick-Jawed Spider (Pachygnatha clerckishowing his impressive jaws. 








3mm male Degeer's Thick-Jawed Spider found on short grass in my garden in SE London, 5th July 2021. 

Degeer's Thick-Jawed Spider (Pachygnatha degeeri)

Degeer's Thick-Jawed Spider is a very small orb-weaver from the Tetragnathidae family of Wide-Jawed Orb-Weavers. This is one of the most widespread and common species of Wide-Jawed Orb-Weaver and can be found in most habitats, usually in the summer. Males grow to a maximum body-length of around 2.5-3mm, whilst the slightly larger females usually reach around 3-4mm. Adult specimens are found amongst low vegetation often under grass tussocks. Only juveniles build tiny orb-webs. The colour of the abdomen can vary considerably.

LINK 1    LINK 2    LINK 3



Adult female Lined Orb-Weaver Spider   -   Mangora acalypha

Lined Orb -Weaver Spider  /  Cricket-Bat Orb-Weaver    -   Mangora acalypha

The Lined Orb-Weaver Spider, from the family Araneidae (orb-weavers), produces small tightly woven orb-webs in low vegetation  such as heather and gorse growing in dry sunny locations. This species is common throughout Europe but in the UK it is found mainly in the SE of England. They have a small body-length of 5-6mm for the female and 3-3.5mm for the male.

Adults are highly variable in colour ranging from green to yellow to orange or red and brown. Mangora acalypha are the only species of this genus in the UK and are easily recognisable in the field. Adult specimens have black stripes along the sides of the abdomen and a distinctive black rectangle marking with light spots on the top of the abdomen. Adult specimens can usually be found from May to July but occasionally from April to October.

LINK 1    LINK 2    LINK 3


Adult female Lined Orb-Weaver Spider (Mangora acalypha) found in a poppy field in north Kent, 11th May 2020.








Adult female Lined Orb-Weaver Spider in web  -   Mangora acalypha








4mm Lined Orb-Weaver Spider in my SE London garden, 29th June 2021. 

The Lined Orb-Weaver Spider (Mangora acalypha) has a tightly woven lattice area in the centre of the web, very similar to Zilla diodia It's not uncommon for the Cricket-Bat Spider to be mis-identified as a young Wasp Spider. Not only are the two spiders very different, but so are their webs. The orb-web of the Wasp Spider is loosely formed with the distinctive zig-zag stabilimenta and isn't anywhere near as pretty as these little webs.






6mm adult female Uloborus plumipes found in a nursery / butterfly house in SE London 28/09/2017.

Feather Legged Spider  /  Greenhouse Spider (Uloborus plumipes)

There is only one family of spiders in the UK that does not use venom to subdue and kill its prey. These spiders have no venom glands at all and rely on their prey becoming entangled in their web before they move in and completely wrap their prey in silk before inflicting a bite. This is the Uloboridae family of Cribellate Orb-Weavers, containing two genus and three species.

There are two similar Uloborus species in the UK, Uloborus plumipes and Uloborus waenaerius. These small non-native spiders are often used in greenhouses and garden centres as a biological control for Greenfly, Whitefly and other pests. Uloborus plumipes are common and widespread in greenhouses, botanical gardens and indoor nurseries across the UK. It is believed that hey probably arrived from the Netherlands amidst imports of plants and have been found in the UK since 1992. Females can have a maximum body-length of 6mm, whilst the smaller males only reach 4mm. Males lack the two lumps seen on the abdomen and the feathery tufts on the front legs of the female.

The more scarce Uloborus waenaerius has so far only been recorded at a few heathland sites in central-southern England. The front legs of Uloborus waenaerius are slightly thicker and less tubercula than Uloborus plumipes.

LINK 1    LINK 2    LINK 3

The third and final member of the non-venomous Uloboridae family is Hyptiotes paradoxus. A distinctive species with far shorter and thicker front legs than Uloborus plumipes and Uloborus waenaerius. Hyptiotes paradoxus is found in mixed woodland on evergreen trees and shrubs such as Yew and Box. It's distribution is scarce and scattered across England and Wales.


6mm adult female Feather-Legged Spider (Uloborus plumipes) found hanging upside down in its web in a nursery / butterfly house in SE London 28/09/2017.








6mm adult female Feather-Legged Spider (Uloborus plumipes) found hanging upside down in its web in a nursery / butterfly house in SE London 23/03/2021.








6mm adult female Feather-Legged Spider (Uloborus plumipes) found hanging upside down in its web in a nursery / butterfly house in SE London 23/03/2021.