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 and a red mark under the abdomen.
Araniella cucurbitina - detailed examination is required to identify either species:
Araniella opisthographa: 5 pairs of black dots on abdomen sides (excluding the middle ‘dots’), males 7-8 spines on the underside of femur I.
Araniella cucurbitina: 1-4 pairs of black dots on abdomen sides (excluding the middle ‘dots’), males 3-4 spines on the underside of femur I.
Identification to species level requires confirmation of characteristic features.
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.
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.
Fairly frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland.
2,121 British records for this species to 2015.
Leicestershire & Rutland Map
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