Two species of large spider have been spotted by eagle-eyed experts in Epping Forest. 

Natural History Museum expert Jan Beccaloni and her husband came across a female wasp spider hanging between plants on their walk through the forest.  

They also stumbled across a araneus four-spot orb-weaver spider and a araneus diadematus. 

This Is Local London: Four-spot Orb-weaver spider. Photo: George BeccaloniFour-spot Orb-weaver spider. Photo: George Beccaloni

Mrs Beccaloni, curator of spiders at the Natural History Museum, explained: “The wasp spider is a recent arrival in the UK, it originated from the Mediterranean and has slowly spread across the south of England. 

“They are appearing in England now due to climate change, the temperature across the world is rising up meaning they can live in different environments.” 

“They are not particularly common here, though I usually encounter one or two every summer. 

“The yellow, black and white stripes on the abdomen are said to mimic the wasp and warning to keep away predators, however they are harmless to humans." 

This Is Local London: Wasp spider. Photo: Andrew WakefieldWasp spider. Photo: Andrew Wakefield

Geroge Beccaloni, who photographed the four-spot orb-weaver spider, added: “They are quite variable in appearance, ranging from brown to bright orange or green- they also can change colour.   

“Although they always have the characteristic four white spots on the abdomen. If I saw this species in a tropical country I would be delighted at it's 'exotic' beauty.” 

Four-spot orb-weavers can be found during June to October, the wasp spider between August and October. 

This Is Local London: Close up of Four-spot Orb-weaver. Photo: George BeccaloniClose up of Four-spot Orb-weaver. Photo: George Beccaloni

The final spider spotted was an Araneus diadematus, more commonly found in gardens across England during this time. 

Mr Beccaloni continued: “The garden spider known as Araneus diadematus has a distinctive white cross on the abdomen, more technically its opisthosoma.” 

Ms Beccaloni added: “It’s nice if people can look at these large spiders and try not to disturb them. It would be a pity if we destroyed their webs and they had to rebuild homes.” This Is Local London: Araneus diadematus. Photo: Andrew WakefieldAraneus diadematus. Photo: Andrew Wakefield