Araniella opisthographa

    Description

    There are two common Araniella species found in Leicestershire and Rutland: A. cucurbitina and A. opisthographa. They are hard to tell apart in the field and are often found together, expert help may be needed to be certain of correct identification between the two species. Females grow up to 8 mm, males only up to 5 mm. They are a pale yellowish green in colour.

    Similar Species

    Araniella cucurbitina - Conspicuous red spot above spinnerets, visible only from below. Male femur I with ventral median part lacking bristles (regularly 3 bristles basally, 1 bristle distally). Females difficult to identify as this species with certainty. Hybrids with Araniella opisthographa may occur. 
    c.f. 
    Araniella opisthographa - Male femur I with with 7, rarely 8 bristles distributed on whole length. Females difficult to identify as this species with certainty. Hybrids with Araniella cucurbitina may occur. 

    Identification difficulty
    Recording advice

    Confirmation of this species: "Requires examination at high magnification in good lighting, typically examination of the genitalia." Bee, L., Oxford, G., & Smith, H. (2020). Britain's Spiders: A Field Guide. Second Edition. Princeton University Press.

    Habitat

    The spider is found in a wide variety of situations, but most commonly on trees (particularly oaks) and bushes in woodland, scrub and hedgerows, as well as on nearby low vegetation. It occurs in similar habitats to A. cucurbitina, with which it is often, but not always, found.

    UK Status

    The species is widespread in much of southern England from Yorkshire southwards, but it is much more scattered in the west and north as far as central Scotland. It is more sparsely distributed in Wales, Scotland and south-west England than A. curcurbitina.

    VC55 Status

    Fairly frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland.

    Further Information

    2,121 British records for this species to 2015. 

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    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map