Araneus Trifolium – Shamrock Spider

Araneus trifolium, the shamrock spider, is a widely distributed orb weaver that can come in various colors, mostly beige or brown colors. It can usually be identified by its three dark rings around every leg.

Shamrock Spider Description

The abdomen of the Shamrock Spider can come in several different colors. I have seen pictures of them that were red, orange, pale yellow, white, brown and even greenish.

The quickest way to recognize the Shamrock Spider from other Garden Orb Weavers, is the white bands on the legs. Not all of the Shamrock Spiders have these white bands, but when you do see the white bands, it is likely an Araneus trifolium.

Shamrock Spider
A light-brown shamrock spider. Photography by: Rene Skank – Clio, Michigan

Size

The body of the Araneus Trifolium grows to be about 3/4” (19mm). Including the legs, the Shamrock Spider can grow to almost 1 ½” (38mm) across.

Araneus Trifolium - Shamrock Spider
A darker shamrock specimen. Photography by: Vic Burcar – Yale, Michigan

Web

As other orb weavers as well, the shamrock spider uses a web to catch small flying insects. Some webs of shamrock spiders have been seen with a diameter of over 2 feet (60cm). They rebuild their circular web every single evening to catch insects at night.

Bite

The bite of the Shamrock spider can be somewhat painful and may cause some minor irritations or swellings. The symptoms may be similar to a bee sting.

Araneus trifolium scientific classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Arachnida
  • Order: Araneae
  • Infraorder: Araneomorphae
  • Family: Aranidae
  • Genus: Araneus
  • Species: Araneus trifolium

Distribution of the shamrock spider in the USA

The shamrock spider can be found in every US state and in Canada: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Araneus Trifolium – Shamrock Spider

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