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Small Eastern Araneus: A Habitus-based Guide

A place for John B and I to pool our thoughts...

Green carapace

-A. nashoba - Northeastern US (maybe one found in TX) Carapace, sternum, legs green. Abdomen yellow-green enclosing some white spots anteriorly. Eyes unknown, 4 pairs of dark red spots posteriorly, male has legs with wide red bands. Male - 3 mm.

[A] Posterior Median Eyes ringed in yellow & dorsum with black patch

-A. alboventris - (greenish yellow) New England to GA
* black patch bordered by crison red border on golden yellow background

- A. bonsallae - (tranparent green) New York to Florida west to Kansas & Texas
* central black patch of irregular outline, between black patch and white mark is reddish pigment, paired red spots (drawing shows 3 or 4 pairs)

- A. niveus - (transparent green) New Jersey to Florida west to Missouri & Arkansas
* large black patch on dorsum is usually broken into an anterior transverse and a posterior triangular spot, but sometimes is fused, may have a couple of pairs of red spots posteriorly

[B] No dorsal black patch

- A. cingulatus - (light yellowish green) Mass. to Florida west to Missouri & Texas
* A. cingulatus - relatively large dark red spots which may have a yellow halo and are in a longitudinal band of lighter green, no black on dorsal abdomen (drawing shows 4 pairs of spots, photo shows 5 pairs)

[II] Yellow carapace

- A. miami - Florida
* Dorsum of abdomen dark anteriorly between humps, with a dark spot on anterior of each hump, and a brown folium posteriorly on dorsum. Sides white. The abdomen is subspherical, shield-shaped with anteriorly directed humps. Abdomen shape is diagnostic.

- A. carroll - paired red spots on white?

- A. gadus - Mass. to Missouri
* The only female with red banded legs & 4 pairs of black spots posteriorly, each surrounded by a light ring (diagnostic).

- A. guttulatus - New England to Wisconsin, south to southern Georgia & Arkansas.
* discrete 4 pairs of crimson spots, some have a triangular black patch posteriorly, & a transverse anterior black band

- A. prunus - Maryland & Florida (I assume could be found in between states as well)
* paired red spots (drawing shows 4 pairs)

- A. raui - Illinois & Missouri
* probably had paired red spots on white?, no longer visible

- A. texanus - Texas
* very similar to A. guttulatus... fainter pattern

- A. thaddeus - Common in the Eastern US, but rare on the Gulf Coast & FL.
* Carapace, sternum, legs golden yellow. Distal articles of legs with some bands; male second tibia slightly curved with macrosetae, and with a green spot under each femur. Dorsum of abdomen whitish with 5 pairs of dark brown spots that are farther apart anteriorly than posteriorly. Sides of abdomen blackish brown. According to Comstock the dorsum varies from yellowish to pink or purple. Male coloration much the same except carapace darker in the center and almost no dark pigment on abdomen, the lateral bands are indistinct.

[A] Abdomen wider than long & periphery of dorsum spotted

[1] Yellow rings around posterior eyes,
- A. calusa - Florida
* distinct red mark anterior on each lateral hump. A pair of red spots posteriorly on each side. Legs with distal ends of articles darker. (I'd say this means red banded legs.)

[2] 3 pairs of black spots posteriorly

- A. miniatus - Mass. to NE Texas & Florida
* abdomen with transverse white band & 3 pairs of black spots, abdomen wider than long

[3] 4 pairs of black spots posteriorly
- A. partitus - Long Island to Arkansas & Florida
*shoulders with black marks, 4 pairs of black spots, area between the humps is white

[B] Abdomen with green & white longitudinal stripes

[1] Posterior Median Eyes ringed in white

- A. juniperi - (yellowish) Nova Scotia to Florida west to Arkansas & Texas
* may or may not have paired red spots on abdomen; female abdomen subspherical, male abdomen longer than wide. Mandibles may have red stripes.

[2] Posterior Median Eyes not ringed & has median anterior hump

- A. bivittatus - Maine to Mississippi
* Usually no paired spots & legs with dark red spots
(exceptions - carapace & abdomen may be red or green! and some adults may have spots at the edge of stipes)

exception - one set had green stripes that changed to red before molting to adults
You know I realize this spider below appears to have abdomen longer than wide, but it also looks like it has white around the eyes... a feature of A. juniperi. 1951, Archer says that the main difference between A. juniperi & bivittata are that the longitudinal white stripes are more defined in A. bivittata.

[III] Brown carapace
Both of these are also found in the west

- A. detrimentosus -

- A. pegnia - Mass. to Indiana, common in the SE US; in the south west to the Los Angeles area.
* Carapace & legs yellow-brown. Legs sometimes banded; male second tibia with strong macrosetae. Dorsum of abdomen with anterior dorsal white mark, wider than long (like the shape of a butterfly), framed by black. Three to four pairs of black transverse lines, the posterior ones just being a black spot. Some red pigment above the dorsal white mark and some green on sides and posteriorly. Male the same but adbominal black spots much less distinct or absent. Amount of red and green may vary. Female pattern is diagnostic.

- A. tuscarora - North Carolina
* Female dorsum of abdomen yellowish brown with anterior transverse band consisting of tiny white spots. Male Dorsum of abdomen orange-brown without white pigment. (descriptions from specimens in alcohol)


Levi in 1973, pp. 473-552 - Small Orb-weavers of the Genus Araneus North of Mexico (Araneae, Araneidae)

Archer, 1951 Studies in the Orbweaving Spiders

Problem that may need to be sorted out:
Levi says males of these two species can not be separated by color. A. pegnia has a median apophysis with two apically directed teeth; A. thaddeus has three teeth of variable size.

Male thaddeus vs. pegnia. Range is very similar.

Reasons for thaddeus
1) Second tibia slightly curved.
2) Carapace darker in mid-line.
3) Distal articles of legs with some bands
4) Groove on second femur.
5) Almoar no dark pigment on abdomen - what does that mean?

Reasons for pegnia
1) Carapace & leg coloring more yellow brown.
2) Legs banded
3) red on abdomen
5) Thoracic groove a longitudinal line.

Spiders that should belong here

May I add this one?

It's currently marked as cingulatus, but characteristics don't match all the descriptions of that species I see.


I've always felt that one green and white striped one
was different from the rest - not at all spotted in appearance. I would be happy if we called that one juniperi

green striped bivittatus vs. juniperi
Yes I agree that one is a bugger. The only thing that bothers me is that it doesn't have the anterior white transverse marking as in the drawing on pg. 523.

I think what it doesn't have are those dark squiggly lines
which cut across the lateral white bands. Paint over that black squiggly in fig 252 with white and you have our image. What it doesn't have is yellow carapace and legs, however!!??

Yes, you are correct.
without that line it would match well if it were a little rounder. I think it's best to leave it alone until we know more for sure. Do you know how Jeff got to juniperi with this one...

No, nothing more than what he posted
Unfortunately, I don't know where there is a drawing of an adult male juniperi

Will this do?
Emerton, J. H. Supplement to the New England Spiders. Trans. Connect. Acad. Arts Sci. 14: 171-236
Plate V fig.1 is supposed to be a male.

Many of the references in the World Spider Catalog have accompanying plates, and I've been able to find most of them at the Internet Archive- though it takes a while before you get the knack of overcoming their horrific cataloging and indexing "system".

Thanks Chuck!
Do you know if there is a description that goes with the drawing? From Emerton, 1909. Now I'd like to read the description if there is one.

The text that goes with the drawing...
is on p.200 of the same document. The original description is here. The plates are at the back of the document.

The vast majority of journals and other references in the World Spider Catalog from the early 1920s and before are available in free-download sites like Internet Archive. You just have to learn how to translate the entries in the Catalog and figure out where to find the documents referenced.

In the case of the original description, you start out with:

Epeira j. Emerton, 1884: 313, pl. 34, f. 6, pl. 36, f. 14-16 (Dmf).

Looking at the bibliography, we find that Emerton 1884 is:

Emerton, J. H. New England spiders of the family Epeiridae. Trans. Conn. Acad. Arts Sci. 6: 295-342.

The journal is Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, volume 6. According to the entry above, the text is on page 313, and there are illustrations on plate 34, figure 6 and plate 36, figures 14-16. The "Dmf" means that the text includes a description, and that the illustrations include views of male and female genitalis.

I go to Internet Archive and type "Transactions Connecticut Academy" into the search box, and come up with a random listing, one item of which is:

Transactions - The Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences (Volume 6) - Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences
Vol. 15, "To the University of Leipzig on the occasion of the five hundredth anniversary of its foundation, from Yale University and the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1909."
Keywords: Science
Downloads: 609

Then it's just a matter of finding the pages I want in the document (which can sometimes be tricky all by itself).

Thanks again.
That other link just had a bunch of poetry?

Unfortunately the description only mentions the color green, not red. It also suggests that the male doesn't have ringed legs.... but again doesn't come right out and say that. The male pattern certainly does appear to match.

Not just poetry
This is the Academy of Arts and Sciences. Some parts are art, some are sciences.

Well there are some images available
here but after seeing what they have for juniperi I'm concerned. And take a look at thaddeus. From these images I'd say most of those problem males would be thaddeus.

I'll see if I can get some mature thaddeus this year.
I see subadults pretty regularly. Maybe I can raise one if we're at home? But I would be hesitant about using that source. Two of the juniperi look like detrimentosus. Two of the Araneus look like Neoscona. And more look to be Metepeira!?

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