Late summer is a good time to look for spiders and there are some real gems to be found. Even arachnophobes would surely have to agree that some spiders are really beautiful and, of course, quite harmless (to human beings of course, not insects!).
This colourful specimen is the orb-web spider (Araneus quadratus), a close relative of the common cross spider (the garden spider). It is variable in colour ranging from yellow and green to orange, red and even brown. The one in my photograph is a female full of eggs and so is much bigger in size than they might be at other times. I have to say that it looks to me like a large berry or fruit which one would think adds to the deception that attracts the unwary fly or moth in to its wonderfully detailed, but lethal, web. Despite the colour variation the four white spots are usually conspicuous.
This spider is quite common on the Dorset heaths on heather and gorse and can be found throughout the south of England on rough pasture and scrub .