Cucumber Green Orb Spider - Araniella cucurbitina sensu stricto

    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 and have a red mark under the abdomen.

    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
    ID guidance

    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.
    c.f.
    Araniella opisthographa: 5 pairs of black dots on abdomen sides (excluding the middle ‘dots’), males 7-8 spines on the underside of femur I.

    Recording advice

    Identification to species level "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

    Mainly along woodland edges, hedgerows and other well wooded areas.

    When to see it

    Late Spring to Autumn.

    Life History

    They spin a small web between leaves and don't hide away but rely on colour for camouflage. Predatory mainly on flying insects caught in its orb web.

    UK Status

    Common and widespread in Britain.

    VC55 Status

    Common in Leicestershire and Rutland.

    Further Information

    4,350 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