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Aculepeira spider - Aculepeira packardi

Aculepeira spider - Aculepeira packardi
Skyline Ridge OSP, Santa Clara County, California, USA
May 31, 2009
Size: BL 2-2.5cm
It perched like an Argiope, but doesn't look like the photos I looked through in the guide (plus it looks furry). There was a small orb near it, but it seemed too small for that spider. The spider was sitting on some webbing attached to thistle next to the trail in grassland, and the orb was about 7" or so in diameter, roughly 45 degrees from its midline, across from it. It didn't respond to a 440Hz tuning fork placed against the orb (that seems to work well for the orbs I've tried, but they've been smaller).

Moved from Aculepeira.

Moved from Spiders. An entire new genus, great! John, Steve Lew lists only one species for CA, Aculepeira packardi. See What do you think?

Not sure
I found these images of A. packardi, but they seem a little different:

A. packardi
Looks like there are only two species in the US, A. packadii and A. carbonarioides. A. carbonarioides has not been collected in California, according to Dondale et al. (2003).

Apparently these are higher alititude spiders, found around the treeline or alpine meadows. One way to tell the difference between species is the dorsal pattern is more broken in A. carbonarioides, than in A. packardii - also, the latter has the lobed markings (Dondale), which our spider has.

So, I think you're right about this spider being A. packardii. It looks like we not only have a new genus for BG, but a species for it as well. :)

A. aculifera
Hi John. The World Spider Catalog lists A. aculifera as being in the USA. Is this an error? I can't find any info on this species.

No, I think that's probably right.
It's also listed as a US species in the Nearctic database:

I used Dondale (2003) but I forgot that it mostly lists species also found in Canada, so I didn't check for others. Oddly, though, Spiders of North America (2005), also lists A. packardii and A. carbonarioides as the only two species in the US. I don't know why that is so, but I'd go with the World Spider Catalog as the most up to date and probably correct source.

I haven't got any info on A. aculifera either. I was ready to go with A. packardii, based on the info I had before, but now I'm not so sure!

Very southern?
I'm wondering if the species is so southern that while the world catalog recognizes it, the others do not. I'm getting two new spider books next week, maybe they will shed some light.

What books? :)
What books? :)

Spider Books
How to Know the Spiders & Spiders of North America: An Identification Manual.

Good books
Each is full of useful information.

Aculepeira sp. (Araneidae) ?
Looks alot like one of them. The only picture I can compare yours to is a European species, but it will give you an idea:

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