22 hours ago
Say hello to the Shamrock Spider!
The Shamrock Spider, Araneus trifolium, is a large orbweaver in the family Araneidae. The coloration of these spiders can vary greatly; some have bright orange or red abdomens with detailed white markings while others — like this gorgeous individual — have striking, pale yellow opisthosomas lacking patterns altogether. We affectionately called her “candy-cane legs” in the lab due to the characteristic red striping at the joints in her legs. This striping can also be black.
I captured this girl by accident, honestly! While walking through sedges alongside a creek in Panthertown, I had my sweep net in hand. One of my classmates suddenly exclaimed, “Becca!! Look who’s in your net!” and there she was as if she were asking to be collected. How lucky is that?! I then found a male nearby and collected him as well. They were equally beautiful ☺️
Like most spiders, shamrock orbweavers are reluctant to bite and do not have medically significant venom. When disturbed, they will defecate to deter predation and drop some weight in order to make a faster escape.