Spooky spider with pumpkin face spotted in Sawtry

The spider up close.

The spider up close. - Credit: Archant

Talk about a creepy crawly. Derek Dodsworth spotted this spooky spider on the back door of his Sawtry home.

Its hairy legs and fangs could be straight out of a Hallowe’en horror movie but it was the Pumpkin-like face staring back at him that caught Mr Dodsworth’s eye.

“Its abdomen really does look like a fat Hallowe’en pumpkin,” he said. “Complete with carved grinning face.

“This one seemed to be more body than legs so I took a photo and it was then that I thought ‘Wow, it looks like a glowing pumpkin’.”

While just a glimpse of such a beast would make some people’s skin crawl, Mr Dodsworth, 61, a retired electronic engineer, says he has more sympathy for them. “Spiders really are fascinating creatures and deserve far more respect than they usually get,” he said. “If my daughter was here though, she would be freaking out.”

Brian Eversham, an insect enthusiast and chief executive of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire Wildlife Trusts, identified the arachnid as a four-spotted orbweb spider.

“The females become adult in late summer, and are often huge, and very heavy, and they produce webs in rough grassland which are strong enough that you feel the resistance when you walk through them,” said Mr Eversham. “They’re available in a range of colours, from yellow, orange and brown to greenish. And I suppose the four big white spots with associated dots and dashes are a bit face-like.”

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Its Latin name? Araneus quadratus. Spookius maximus more like.