Arabesque Orbweaver

Neoscona arabesca

Arabesque_Orbweaver_Neoscona_arabesca_D_Bruns.jpg

Photo of a female arabesque orbweaver spider
The arabesque orbweaver, Neoscona arabesca, is a common orb-weaving spider in Missouri. The coloration is quite variable, but the slanting dark marks on the abdomen help to identify it.
David Bruns
Family

Araneidae (typical orb weavers) in the order Araneae (spiders)

Description

The arabesque orbweaver is a common orb-weaving spider in Missouri. The coloration is quite variable, ranging from tan to yellow, orange, rusty, brown, or blackish brown, but the slanting, not horizontal, dark marks on the abdomen help to identify it.

It is one of the common members of Missouri's spotted orbweavers (in genus Neoscona). The different species in this group can be difficult to distinguish. Neoscona species are spiny-legged spiders that all tend to have camouflage patterns, and they all make characteristic, delicate, wheel-shaped webs to catch prey.

During the day, the female arabesque orbweaver hides in a retreat such as a rolled-up leaf. At night, she sits in her wheel-shaped web with the tip of her abdomen protruding through an open space in the center of the web.

Learn more about this and other spotted orbweavers on their group page.

Human connections

The name "arabesque" apparently refers to the ornate pattern on the tops of these spiders, which resembles the ornate, flowery, interlacing patterns of Arabic or Moorish decoration (think of the patterns in Islamic art, such as on oriental rugs, or in the decorative architecture of mosques). This, of course, is not the only spider with an ornate pattern. But it reminds us to look closely at even the smallest pieces of nature, where we may find unexpected beauty.