Pretty, little, no-name spider

I don’t like posting photographs of unidentified “bugs” (insects, spiders, etc.). There are times, however, when my best efforts are thwarted and I’m left with the choice to admit defeat or relegate the photos indefinitely to the “archives”. In this case, the subject in the photos is just cute to hide. I found this bright red spider on the blossom of a flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) this past spring while hiking the North Fork Section of the Ozark Trail near Blue Hole Hollow in Howell Co., Missouri. While I am fairly certain that it belongs to the family Linyphiidae (dwarf and sheetweb spiders), I cannot decide if it is the former or the latter. Among the dwarf spiders (subfamily Erigoninae), it resembles some members of the genus Ceraticelus, while among the sheetweb spiders (subfamily Linyphiidae) it seems a good match for the genus Florinda (as suggested by Bug Eric). Whatever its identity, it is one of the prettiest and most brightly colored little spiders I have seen. (Photographed on 4 May 2014 with a Canon MP-E 65 mm 1-5X lens.)

Edit 8/22/14, 12:20 p.m.—I now believe this to be an orb weaver (family Araneidae), albeit a very small one (only ~8 mm in length); specifically something in the genus Hypsosinga. Take a look at this photo of H. rubens, which seems to be a near perfect match for the individual in these photos.

Ceraticelus minutus?Ceraticelus minutus? Ceraticelus minutus? Ceraticelus minutus? Ceraticelus minutus?

© Ted C. MacRae 2014

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About Ted C. MacRae

Ted C. MacRae is a research entomologist by vocation and beetle taxonomist by avocation. Areas of expertise in the latter include worldwide jewel beetles (Buprestidae) and North American longhorned beetles (Cerambycidae). More recent work has focused on North American tiger beetles (Cicindelidae) and their distribution, ecology, and conservation.
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9 Responses to Pretty, little, no-name spider

  1. brunosellmer says:

    What is the blue background? Is it a sky ou studio? Beatifull any way…

  2. James C. Trager says:

    Nice! This is a new spider for me, notwithstanding my interest and keeping my eye out for them.

    • I’m pretty sure I’ve not run into this one before – at least not since I began carrying a camera and paying attention to things besides wood-boring beetles. Can you imagine how stunning this spider would be if it got to be as large as some of the other orb weavers like Araneus marmorata?

  3. Mike Motto says:

    Beautiful spider. I have never seen one. Looks like a little cherry tomato. Was no one at BugGuide able to ID it? Great photos, too.

    Iowa Voice

    • I didn’t try posting on BugGuide, but I did post on my Facebook page and sent photos to a few arachnophiles I know. I think we all were hung up at first on their very small size, but only after I just wasn’t happy with my original placement in the dwarf spider family did I start browsing through other families – Araneidae seemed the best place to start based on gestalt.

  4. Pingback: Morsels For The Mind – 29/08/2014 › Six Incredible Things Before Breakfast

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