Spider in Adirondacks
Hello, While camping in Saranac Lake, NY in August 2005, I was sitting around the camp fire with friends when this spider ended up on my shoulder somehow. I quickly shooed it into a cup and snapped a quick picture before dropping it back off in the woods. We always wondered what kind of spider it was and why its abdomen area was so large. Hopefully the cup should give you a reference to its sizeThanks
Lake Saranac, NY

Shamrock Orbweaver

Shamrock Orbweaver

Hi James,
In the autumn, from all over the country, we receive requests for Orbweaver Spider identifications. Those requests just might outnumber all others at this time of year. The main reason is that the female Orbweaver Spiders have attained adult size and become quite noticeable. Often the gorgeous orb webs are in strategic locations. We have three healthy females stretching webs nightly in close proximity to our porch light. Each night they spin a new web and wait for the insects that are attracted to the light, and the spiders have grown quite fat due to the good trapping. When the Orbweaver is in the genus Argiope, we can, with a degree of certainty, provide a species name, but when the Orbweaver is in another genus like Araneus or Neoscona, this is often quite difficult for us. There is much similarity between species, and much variation within an individual species. We believe this is Araneus trifolium, sometimes called the Shamrock Orbweaver. Glancing at the photos posted to BugGuide for this species should provide some idea of the individual variation.

I’m fairly certain that the “shamrock orb weaver” posted recently is actually a color phase of the “marbled orb weaver,” Araneus marmoreus.  They are very closely allied to the shamrock spider (A. trifolium), so it is easy to get confused!

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