Orbweaver from New Zealand: Cyclosa trilobata

Subject: Black Silver Red Spider
Location: New Zealand Bay of plenty Rotorua
March 13, 2014 11:20 pm
Hi bug man
this picture was taken by an early digital camera in about 2004-5 or so. so it not that great but I’ve done a few searches since that time and I still cannot find this spider any were. I describe it as the parts that almost look white were shining silver. the parts that look brown were a bright red and the stripes on its legs were transparent. from what I recall I found lots of them in summer in between long grass co existing with silver orb spiders . there webs are the same as domestic and orb spiders and they sit in the middle of it. they don’t seem to do well in the rain as this one in the picture was washed up on a concrete path and the one that I found earlier this year that reminded me of this picture disappeared after it rained yet the orb spiders around where it was are fine. I haven’t found any for years until the one I mentioned. it would be mightily satisfying if you could tell me what it is thanks.
Signature: Alan

Unknown Orbweaver
Orbweaver:  Cyclosa trilobata

Hi Alan,
We agree that this is most likely an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae, but like you, we have not had any luck finding a matching image online.  We will post your photo and elicit input from our readers, and we will also attempt further identification when time permits.

Karl supplies some links:  March 19, 2014
Hi Daniel and Alan:
It is an Orbweaver in the subfamily Araneinae. Unfortunately, the photo is not very clear, but I believe this is a species of Cyclosa. As far as I can tell Cyclosa trilobata (Three-lobed Cyclosa) is the only species that is native to New Zealand (eastern Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand). Cyclosa insulana looks similar but does not occur in New Zealand. The colors are highly variable, ranging from mottled patterns of reds and browns to grays and blacks. The males, and I think this is probably one, are often quite silvery. As the name suggests, the posterior end is distinctly tri-lobed.  I can’t be sure but I believe that’s probably it. Regards. Karl

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