Neoscona Arabesca – Arabesque Orb Weaver

Neoscona arabesca, commonly known as the arabesque orbweaver, is one of the most common orbweaver species that can be found throughout the United States as well as in Europe. Its name does not have anything to do with the Arab world but refers to the swirling markings on the large abdomen of the spider.

Description of the arabesque orb weaver

The main characteristic to tell the arabesque orbweaver from other orb weaver spiders are the intrinsic markings on its abdomen. After shedding their skin, the markings are clearest and it is generally relatively easy to identify them. However, as time progresses, the beautiful markings slowly fade, and they are sometimes confused with other orb weavers such as the spotted orb weaver or the furrow orb weaver.

female arabesque orb weaver colorful
A beautiful female arabesque orb weaver with clear markings on its abdomen. Photo: Ryan Hodnett

The body of arabesque orb weavers are covered with small hair – a great way to tell them from Araneus orb weavers who have a smooth, hairless abdomen. The body color itself varies greatly between specimen. They can be a pale gray with beige/brown markings, various brown tones, orange or even red. The legs have alterning light and dark stripes.

In the Soutwestern United States, from Texas to California, the range of the arabesque orbweaver overlaps with the western spotted orbweaver (Neoscona oaxacensis). Both spiders can have similar markings. Colorful specimens with red and green are usually arabesque orbweavers while the western spotted orb weaver is mostly black or brown with yellow or cream-colored markings on the back of its abdomen.

Size

Compared to other orb weavers, arabesque orb weavers are relatively small. The body of a female adult grows to 0.2-0.3 inches (5-7 mm) while the male is slightly smaller. Males and females can be distinguished by the different size of the abdomen. While females have a small cephalothorax (the front part of the body) and a large abdomen, the abdomen and cephalothorax of the male is almost the same size.

arabesque orb weaver red
A female Neoscona arabesca found in Virginia. Photo: Judy Gallagher

Web

Like other orb weavers, Neoscona arabesca uses a web to catch flying insects. The web is vertical and up to 20 inches (50 cm) in diameter. While the female spends most of its time on the web, the male often roams around on the ground in search for small insects.

Bite

As is true for all orb weaver spiders, arabesque orbweavers a not aggressive. In the rare cases a bite does occur, the symptoms are generally mild. The initial sting may hurt similar to a bee sting but other than that, it doesn’t have any severe or long-term effects.

Neoscona arabesca orbweaver yellow brown
Beautiful markings on the abdomen of this arabesque orb weaver seen in Virginia by Judy Gallagher.

Neoscona arabesca scientific classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Arachnida
  • Order: Araneae
  • Infraorder: Araneomorphae
  • Family: Aranidae
  • Genus: Neoscona
  • Species: Neoscona arabesca

Distribution of arabesque orbweavers in the USA

Neoscona arabesca arabesque orb weaver range USA

The arabesque orbweaver is native in every US state – Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Neoscona Arabesca – Arabesque Orb Weaver

12 thoughts on “Neoscona Arabesca – Arabesque Orb Weaver

  1. Can someone tell me how long this type of spider lives and how many egg sacs one can produce? I currently have one living in the side mirror of my car with 6 egg sacs! She’s been many places with me. I was also wondering if it’s possible to transplant the egg sacs to a different location? I don’t want to harm them but I really need to wash my car.

    1. Hello Rachel, thanks for getting in touch! I can’t really say how many egg sacs the spider will produce, that can depend on from a lot of factors. The egg sac can be relocated safely. Ideally, they should be placed in a place that provides some protection from winter temperatures. Possibly high grass or hedges.
      The grown spider will probably live until the colder temperatures arrive and die before winter.
      Btw. to me, this spider looks a bit more like Neoscona arabesca than Neoscona crucifera: https://usaspiders.com/neoscona-arabesca-arabesque-orb-weaver/ – but it’s hard to definitely tell them apart.

  2. Found this spider sitting on its web outside my porch in Spartanburg, SC. The markings look to me like an arabesque orb weaver, but the body is roughly an inch (or a little more) in diameter, which seems larger than the typical size those get to. Any thoughts?

    1. Never mind, the body is only about 1/2 inch in diameter. I think I was tricked into thinking it was larger because of the legs. So I guess it is an arabesque orb weaver?

    2. Hello Brett, thanks for getting in touch. Unfortunately, I am not 100% sure about the ID of this lady. It’s almost certainly an orb weaver of the genus Neoscona and it does have the black slanted markings of Neoscona arabesca. But those sometimes also occur on N. crucifera and N. domiciliorum. I would still agree with you that it is probably N. arabesca.

  3. Hello,

    Found this guy close to the ceiling on my front pouch tonight at I came home around ten. He didn’t move at all while I took the shot. He or she is pretty big for me to notice as I was approaching the door.

  4. Found this spider on its web by my garage door. It’s about 1.25-1.5” long (including legs). I can’t identify it. Please help😺

  5. I found this guy in my porch in Phoenix, AZ today. It’s web is huge starting at the roof of my porch going all the way down to a chair and spanning across to the stairs of the upstairs apartment. It hasn’t moved all day from the middle of the web although it has moved around slightly in the same spot, mostly just turning around in circles. Do I need to worry about it hurting my kids and how do I get it to move along somewhere else?

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