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Shamrock Spider (Araneus trifolium)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Shamrock Spider



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Image Credit: Elizabeth and Desmond L. taken in Pinery Provincial Park, Grand Bend, ON
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Image Credit: Elizabeth and Desmond L. taken in Pinery Provincial Park, Grand Bend, ON
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Image Credit: David B. taken in MI
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Image Credit: Kaleena C. from Streetsboro, OH
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Image Credit: Elizabeth/Jade S. taken in Fultonville, NY
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Image Credit: Brandy L.
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Image Credit: Brandy L.
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The Shamrock Spider may not be green, but gardens are lucky to have these hairy little gems.



Updated: 07/09/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The bold black and white legs of the Shamrock Spider lend this species are a given. The rest of the spider's colors vary per individual. The bulbous abdomen may be light white, yellow, bright red, or even purple. Some of the white speckles on the abdomen follow along the midline.

As an Orb Weaver, the Shamrock Spider creates a new web every day. In the early morning, it eats the strands of its old web first and then rebuilds another, usually in the same place. This is one of the better times of day to see them in action. Orb Weavers tend to sit up-side down in the center of their web, but this species may actually hide in leaves nearby. It attaches a single thread to its hideout so it senses any movement made by an ensnared insect.

Females lay fertilized eggs in a sac spun from spider silk in autumn. The eggs overwinter and spiderlings wait to hatch until warmer spring weather returns. Once they emerge, they disperse and create their own webs and hideouts. Spiders reside in tall shrubs or grasses in woodlands or near water creeks, marshes, and streams. They may also be found in parks and gardens, where they help reduce the number of pest insects.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Patterned insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon


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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
      Order: Araneae
        Family: Araneidae
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          Genus: Araneus
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            Species: trifolium
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Araneus trifolium
Category: Spider
Size (Adult; Length): 4mm to 20mm (0.15" to 0.78")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black, white, yellow, gray, purple
Descriptors: bands, stripes, dots, shoulders, bumpy, halloween
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Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 4mm (0.2in) and 20mm (0.8in)
Lo: 4mm
Md: 12mm
Hi: 20mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Shamrock Spider may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Shamrock Spider. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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