This shows the phylum the orb-weavers fit in due to morphological differences

Domain: Eukarya

~ Organisms of this domain have membrane-bound organelles and a true nucleus. This separates them from the bacteria and archaea. These organisms do not contain a water vacuole or chloroplasts as found in many plant species. An example of a plant species like this would be the Actinidia deliciosa or kiwifruit. Check it out!  Kiwifriut

Kingdom: Animalia

~ Instead of possessing a cell wall as can be seen in many plant species, for example the Ananas comosu or the pineapple. This kingdom only has a plasma membrane surrounding their cells. All animals are motile at some point in their life cycles.

Phylum: Arthropoda

~ Arthropods have an exoskeleton that is segmented and composed of chitin. To grow this phylum goes through the process of ecdysis, or molting. This process is why Arthropods are classified as ecdysozoans along with nematodes, an example of a nematode being, Trichinella spiralis. These organisms are triploblastic meaning that they have three layers of tissue. They have muscles attached to jointed appendages that allow for movement in two directions. Members of this phylum also have open circulatory systems and a true coelom. Another example of an arthropod with an open circulatory system is the Tipula submaculata, also known as a crane fly.

Class: Arachnida

~ This class contains the joint-legged invertebrate animals. All arachnids have 8 legs. The word arachnid is derived from a Greek word meaning "spider" (Bartlett 2004).

Order: Araneae

~These spiders are air breathing arthropods with 8 legs and fangs that inject venom. This order of organisms have a cephalothorax and an abdomen. Another key character is that they have a chelicerae that is used to grasp food and is connected to their venom gland (Balaban 2005). If you are interested in learning more about species in this order I encourage you to check out the zebra spider, Salticus scenicus.

Family: Araneidae

~ The well known orb-weaving spiders belong to this family (Pascoe 1980). They create the well known spiral shaped webs and have 8 eyes. To learn more about another type of orb-weaver my prior classmates check out the Gasteracantha cacriformis.

Genus: Neoscona 

This genus is particularly known having a longitudinal groove on the carapace which separates all Neoscona from Araneus (Pascoe 1980).

Species: Oaxacensis

Unfortunately I could not find the Latin meaning of this species name. However the common name is the western spotted orb-weaver. If anyone can inform me of the Latin meaning I encourage you to email me.

~ The Neoscona arabesca can be separated from oaxacensis by the three pairs of dorsal, slanting, dark spots found on the arabesca. This species stays in its retreat to the side of the web during the day. At night it rests in the center of the web with the tip of the abdomen pushed through the open space in the center of the web (Sensenig et al. 2011).


This next tree shows the relationship of the closest orb-weaving genus to the Neoscona and the key characteristics that can be used to separate the two.

Click here to continue on to learn about the species: