This very plump Garden Spider (Araneus diadematus) is a member of the orb weaving group of spiders. It is very easily distinguished by the ‘cross’ markings on its back.
The next bit about them (below the photo), is not for the squeamish!! 🙂
The webs of the Garden Spider are built by the larger female. Once built, she hangs upside down in the centre of the web, with one leg claw hooked to a signal web thread line. This line detects any vibrations on the rest of the web, and thus if any unfortunate prey has been ensnared, she instantly knows. She will dart out and quickly bite the victim, injecting a paralysing venom, hang back for a few minutes to allow it to take affect (in case the victim is capable of stinging the Garden Spider), and then wrap the prey up in silk for consumption later. A particularly horrible thing about this process, is that the venom also contains enzymes, that cause the insides of the prey to liquefy, allowing the Garden Spider to easily digest it at a slightly later time 😦