Neoscona

25 September 2022

My last journal entry focused on the most diverse genus of orbweavers: Araneus. It seems right at this time of the year to remain focused on that family since many orbweavers mature in the later summer and early fall.

The genus Neoscona is represented by four species in Minnesota. The common names for these spiders are the Spotted Orbweavers.

N. arabesca is likely the most common member of this genus in Minnesota. The species is common in grassy habitats, particularly near wetlands. This species matures in June-July. There is some variation in this species' appearance but many of them have a reddish tinge or reddish pigment on the abdomen. The spots on the abdomen are quite noticeable.

N. crucifera matures later than the previous species and seems to prefer spinning webs in woodier vegetation from my experience. The pale cross pattern on the abdomen is often subtle and can be obscured in paler individuals and the spots may be difficult to see. As a result, this spider is rather nondescript but fortunately, its large size and habit of spinning webs on man-made structures make it easy to find. It is one of the top ten most frequently recorded spiders for this project.

N. domiciliorum is very similar to N. crucifera but the cross pattern is much brighter and therefore more contrasting with the rest of the abdomen and; the femurs are red as well. This species was only added to the state list in the last month and has a much more southern distribution. Very little is known about its occurrence in the state.

N. pratensis is also very poorly understood in Minnesota (It is only known from Dakota and Traverse Counties). Its common name is the Marsh Orbweaver and it can be found in wetlands as well as grasslands. The abdomen pattern is very dissimilar to the other members of the genus as can be seen in the specimen from Traverse County: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/5288637.

Enjoy the orbweavers while they last. Rarely do the adults make it to the end of October.

Happy spidering!

Posted by cheins1 cheins1, September 26, 2022 02:24

Comments

Really interesting; thank you! This hit at a moment when I was amazing at the number of spiders and elaborate webs in my So. MPLS yard/home, this year. Why so many? Does this suggest something: weather, environmental changes, too much/too little of something (food, predators…), the end times (haha!), etc.?

Posted by jldm 2 months ago (Flag)

Sometimes spiders end up with a highly localized abundance. I have seen an abundance of Neoscona crucifera out of the Cities for this year, more than previous years. I'm not sure what to tell you regarding the cause, but enjoy those spiders!

Posted by cheins1 2 months ago (Flag)

Meanwhile, out in Stevens county, we've had a dearth of orbweavers compared to previous years. Even tetragnatha has been scarce this summer.

Posted by pzmyers 2 months ago (Flag)

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