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 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 the Shamrock Spiders have these white bands, but when you do see the white bands, it is likely an Araneus trifolium.
The body of the Araneus trifolium grows to be about 3/4” (19 mm). Including the legs, the Shamrock Spider can grow to almost 1 ½” (38 mm) across.
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 (60 cm). They rebuild their circular web every single evening to catch insects at night.
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