Arabesque Orbweaver

Photo of a female arabesque orbweaver spider
Scientific Name
Neoscona arabesca
Araneidae (typical orb weavers) in the order Araneae (spiders)

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.

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.
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About Land Invertebrates in Missouri
Invertebrates are animals without backbones, including earthworms, slugs, snails, and arthropods. Arthropods—invertebrates with “jointed legs” — are a group of invertebrates that includes crayfish, shrimp, millipedes, centipedes, mites, spiders, and insects. There may be as many as 10 million species of insects alive on earth today, and they probably constitute more than 90 percent all animal species.