Cucumber Green Orb Spider - Araniella cucurbitina sensu stricto
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.
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.
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.
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.
Araniella opisthographa: 5 pairs of black dots on abdomen sides (excluding the middle ‘dots’), males 7-8 spines on the underside of femur I.
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.
Mainly along woodland edges, hedgerows and other well wooded areas.
Late Spring to Autumn.
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.
Common and widespread in Britain.
Common in Leicestershire and Rutland.
4,350 British records for this species to 2015.
Leicestershire & Rutland Map
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Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015