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Pumpkin Spider - Araneus diadematus - female

Pumpkin Spider - Araneus diadematus - Female
Eureka, Humboldt County, California, USA
October 5, 2005
Size: One inch
Well, this is the time of year they come out. ^^ Looking them up online, I've seen these guys referred to as "garden spider" a lot. In my area, however, everybody knows these as pumpkin spiders; and starting in about September they are absolutely everywhere! I adore them. Last year, one built a full-sized web across our front doorway and one of my housemates quite nearly ran into it--the only thing that stopped him was the lady herself sitting in the middle.
This particular one is living on a fence outside my neighbor's yard. I believe the right species is Araneus diadematus.

Pumpkin Spiders
I live in Eureka, CA and my garden is FILLED with wonderful Pumpkin Spiders. Their webs are across any place that has a 3 foot span to the next plant. Our yard is loaded with Dahlias and Rhodies and the largest one I have found is the size of the end of my entire thumb end in depth and width. She is getting bigger all the time and hides out under a specific Rhodie leaf. When startled (I did this while mowing the lawn and brushing up against her space) she darted to the center of her web. Sitting here at the computer, I can see 6 webs out the window with a span of about 2 feet.

The largest web is from the wires between the house and barn, I have to stand on my tiptoes with my arm completely stretched upward to barely reach the center of the web. And the width of the web supports is about 10 feet.

Out the other window is another group of webs that are one right after another. No bug has a chance of making it through that gauntlet. Four webs one right after the other stretch from trelles to another rhodie. FOur big fat spiders. They are awsomely magnificent.


Nice photo,
and I agree with your ID. It's a dead ringer for the drawing in the Golden Guide to Spiders.