Garden Spider in UV

Garden spiders Araneus diadematus are commonly found across Europe and North America. While their appearance is highly variable, they tend to have very good camouflage when viewed from a distance, and have very drab colours. One of the features common across all garden spiders is their pale cross. To us this looks like a single beige colour, but to spider-vision this will actually be seen as two separate colours. The same goes for their prey (such as flies), and their predators (birds and other spiders).

Who knows what might drive this colour, it could be for sexual selection, prey attraction or putting off predators (or a combination of these). Both photographs were taken outside with my full spectrum Canon 7D with a Nikkor EL 80mm lens and a Baader UV/IR cut filter and Baader Venus U-filter.

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  1. Rob
    October 1

    I’ve heard that garden spiders make webs that show up in UV light (some silk is UV reflective and some isn’t, so they control which parts reflect). Do you have any pictures of their webs?

    • jolyon
      October 2

      HI Rob, good question. I haven’t photographed garden spider webs, but found that the web ornaments of wasp spiders reflect UV along with the rest of their web (it’s just more clear where the strands clump together on the ornamentation).

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