Tuesday, June 24, 2014

An Off the Wall Orbweaver

The Star Bellied Orbweaver certainly stands out from the crowd and deserves the "Coolest Local Spider" prize for its offbeat shape if not for size or color.

There are four species in Canada and the United States, and considering the possibilities enumerated at the BugGuide.Net Acanthepeira page it looks like this is Acanthepeira stellata. As their irregular profile and patterning makes them resemble a small piece of dead leaf or other plant debris, Star Bellied Orbweavers don't stand out so easily in the field and the only thing that gave this female away was the brightly colored Virginia Ctenucha moth hanging in her web.

A couple of closeup shots – this individual was about 10 mm long, roughly twice the size of the Star Bellied Orbweaver encountered a couple of weeks ago.