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.
© Ted C. MacRae 2014