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Ophrys araneola.
Ophrys petite araignée.
Early spider orchid.

It is not always recognized that Ophrys araneola is a species in its own right. It can therefore be a subspecies of Ophrys aranifera (or Ophrys sphegodes) according to some authors, or a simple variety. Open a guide and attempt an identification on 1 view and it's a guaranteed nightmare. Go on the internet and Google and you will conversely find so many views that you won't know what you're dealing with either!

We must therefore make up our minds: there is an Aranifera section and affiliated species within the Ophrys. The differences will be of a morphological order (smaller flowers, more or less large sepals compared to the labellum, colors of the petals and sepals...), of a calendar order (early or late flowering) and of a regional order._cc781905- 5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_

Prepare well because the variations are such and the hybridizations so numerous that a doubt will often remain. Only a few rare individuals relate to the type and the others will have to remain cautiously within the section.

Araneola is therefore reputed to be earlier in flowering date than Aranifera (in regions where you can find les deux) but the two often coexist and it's just a question of distribution, more araneola at the beginning of the season and more aranifera at the end of the season. The flowers are a little smaller: generally the labellum seems "tiny" surrounded by long petals and sepals (petals greener and darker than the sepals). It is often rounder and bordered with yellow (aranifera is elongated and also bordered with yellow but this part being folded most of the time, that  is not obvious)._cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b -136bad5cf58d_

The labellum is, according to some authors, slightly domed, others do not report anything. The basal field is like Ophrys aranifera concolor with the labellum.

Click on the photos to enlarge

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