Biosci. Biotech. Res. Comm. 8(2): 204-207 (2015)

The spider diversity of the genus, Neoscona from Akola region of Maharashtra

Chapke Sonali and IA Raja

Research Laboratory of Zoology. Shri Shivaji College, Akola. 444001 India


Indian faunal diversity includes an extremely abundant group of animal, the spiders. They are the most omnipres- ent and frequent predators in both agricultural and natural ecosystems. We have surveyed Faunal diversity of genus Neoscona from 2013 through 2014. The spiders were collected from different localities in all talukas of the district of Akola. A total of 76 spider specimens were captured from different plants, of these, 40 specimens were females, 8 males and 28 specimens were immature/sub adults. Thus majority of the adult spiders were females (App 80%) and these were the ones used for identi!cation based on epigyneal characteristics. We found the genus, is represented by 12 species. Neoscona nautica, Neoscona bengalensis, Neoscona chrysanthusi, Neoscona mukerjei, Neoscona vigilans, Neoscona rump!, Neoscona sinhagadensis, Neoscona theisi, N shillongensis, Neoscona pavida, Neoscona lugubris, and Neoscona odites. The talukas dominated by reserved forest areas like Akot, Telhara, Patur, Barshi-Takli are reported to have rich diversity of Neoscona. However the recorded species have already been reported from other parts of the country.



Spiders are abundant generalist predators in terrestrial habitats and are themselves an important food source for other animals’ forms a valuable component of ecosys- tem function. Order Araneae or Spiders belong to class, Arachnida of phylum Arthropoda, include 3733 genera and 109 families constituting approximately 40, 700 spi- der species, that have been described worldwide,Out of


*Corresponding Author: Received 10th November, 2015

Accepted after revision 12th December, 2015 BBRC Print ISSN: 0974-6455

Online ISSN: 2321-4007 NAAS Journal Score : 3.48

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these, 2299 spider species belonging to 552 genera and 67 families are reported from South East Asia, ( Wise, 1993, Siliwal and Molur, 2007, Platnick, 2008 and Kes- wani et al., 2012).

Major contributions to the Indian spiders study were made by Tikader (1980-1987), he have high lightened spider studies to the notice of other researcher. Tikader (1987) provided the pioneering list of Indian spiders while an updated spider checklist given by Keswani


et al., (2012) and shows 1686 species from 438 genera and 60 families. The spiders in the adjoining state of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh was studied by Gajbe (1995: 2003). Maharashtra too shows very high species diversity of spiders. Many species were discovered dur- ing the study which represents a good percentage of the total spiders species found in the country (Tikader, 1962).

Hippargi, et al., (2011) have reported 75 families of spiders from Sholapur and few Vidarbha districts.

The genus Neoscona of spiders is similar to Caero- stris being nocturnal and cryptically colored. It is also referred to as the hairy !eld spider and has a globosely (round) abdomen which overhangs the carapace. The legs are equipped with numerous spines. During the day this spider takes refuge amongst leaves and in or under bark. This is the spider responsible for the mysterious orb web found spanning from gutter to balustrade at night only to be missing next morning. The orb-web is constructed at night, shortly after dark. Once complete the host will position herself head down at the hub (centre) of the web waiting for prey to "y into the web. Insects are attracted to the window light and it is quite remarkable how the spider knew to select such an unnatural but useful site. At the !rst sign of sunrise, or be fooled at the rise of a full moon, the spider will remove its web only leaving the bridge line and a few supporting threads for construction next evening. Neoscona spiders are found resting under the gutter during the day. As the common name implies these spiders occur in the veil among grasses and bushes, (Hippargi, et al.,2011 and Keswani et al., 2012).

Though Bhatkar, (2011) reported spider species from Melghat reserve in Telhara taluka, yet there is not any comprehensive of!cial records of diversity of genus

Chapke Sonali and IA Raja

Neoscona, prompted this study. The outcome of the study can be used constructively not only to assess the Neoscona diversity of this area but also will help to carry out further studies to conserve the overall spider diver- sity of this district. Akola is a commercial and industrial district in Maharashtra. It has large Paras power plant in Balapur, along with factories in all major towns. It has alarming pollution status specially dust. Thus it is important to survey the biodiversity with reference to spider diversity in this area specially genus Neoscona which is the most diverse group among spiders.



The study area Akola District occupies in the western parts of the Amravati Division of Maharashtra State and is surrounded by Amravati district in the north and north-east, Yeotmal in the south-east, Washim in the south and Buldhana in the west. The world famous Melghat referred as the Satpuda scarp in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra State forms a very small part within the district. In fact, it is only the extreme southern foothill slopes, at an average elevation of about 400 m. that are found within the district forming a linear strip of aver- age width of 2 to 5 km.

Map- Akola district:Maharashtra (India)

The district lies between North Altitude 20.17 to 21.16 and East Altitude76.7 to 77.4 It has a total area of 10,567 square kilometers. Average Rainfall in District750 to 1000 mm, Minimum Temperature 5.6 degree Celsius

Chapke Sonali and IA Raja

Maximum Temperature 45.9 degree Celsius. Area under Forestry is 447.96 Sq. km. The two main rivers of the district are the Purna and the Penganga, the other less important rivers being the tributaries of these two rivers. They are the Katepurna, Shahaimr. Morna, Mun, Nand, Man and Lima, which are the tributaries of the Purna, and the Adan, the Arna and the Pus which are the tribu- taries of the Penganga.The district is divided in to seven talukas, as Akola, Akot, Balapur, Murtijapur, Telhara, Patur, Barshi-Takli. Akot and Telhara have parts of has melghat tiger serve, B.Takli has Well Known Katepurna wildlife sanctuary.

During 2013-14 Spider fauna of the genus Neoscona was surveyed from different localities of all the talukas of Akola district and sampling was done. Special emphasis was given to Akot and Telhara which have parts of has melghat tiger reserve, and B.Takli having well known Katepurna wildlife sanctuary. The spiders were mostly collected by jerking the plants on a cloth sheet; some specimens were also collected by hand from the webs in the morning or other suitable time. The specimens were transferred into a container having 70% ethyl alcohol, before being brought to the laboratory.

Collected specimens were washed with xylene and each specimen was preserved in a separate vial in 95% ethyl alcohol with little glycerin. Permanent slides of the genitalia were prepared. Epigyne and male palpi were removed by using insect needle. Epigyne were cleared by using KOH pellets for variable time (depending on the degree of sclerotization), dehydrated with ethyl alco- hol, then placed in clove oil, xylene and !nally mounted in Canada balsam. Male palpi were washed with xylene and mounted in Canada balsam. Identi!cation was done on the basis of morphometric characters of various body parts and genitalia. The help was mainly taken from the relevant literature (Tikader, 1962 : 1987).

All the specimens were labeled with family, scienti!c name, stratum on which found, date of collection, local- ity and collector’s name. At the completion of study, all the specimens and slides were housed in the Museum, Department of Zoology.


In the present study of the genus, survey was carried out from a large area of Akola district. Presence of longi- tudinal thoracic groove in females separates Neoscona from the members of Araneus. Median ocular quad- rangle, forming a trapezium, slightly longer than wide. anterior median eyes; Anterior median eyes largest or sub equal to posterior median eyes, lateral eyes close to each other and not born on prominent tubercles, poste- rior lateral eyes smallest, both eye row recurved. Coxa I of male with a ventral hook in distal rim. Tibia II with strong prolateral spines. Abdomen variable in shape i.e. ovoid, sub ovoid, triangular, or sub triangular. Epigyne simple and tongue like, scape completely fused to base and bears one or two pairs of lateral lobes; epigynal opening underneath scape. Pedipalp in male with two long and curved spines on patella, cymbium broad. A total of 76 spiders were captured from different plants, of these, 40 specimens were females, 8 males and 28 specimens were immature/sub adults.

This study recorded as many as 12 species, of the genus Neoscona distributed in different talukas of the district. The species we recorded have already been reported from other parts of the Maharashtra and adjoining states (Table 1). Among the seven talukas of Akola district, (Akola, Akot, Balapur, Murtijapur, Telhara, Patur, Barshi-Takli) the talukas dominated by reserved forest areas reported to have richest diversity

Table 1: Occurrence of Neoscona species in different talukas of Akola district during 2013-14.

Chapke Sonali and IA Raja


Gajbe UA (2003). Checklists of spiders (Arachnid; Araneae) of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Zoo’s Print Journal 18, 1223-1226.

Gajbe UA (1995). Spiders Fauna of Conservation Areas: Fauna of Kanha Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh. Zoological Survey of India).

Tikader B K (1962). Studies on some spider fauna of Mahar- ashtra and Mysore states-Part I. J. Univ.Poona, Sci. and Tech. 24:29-54.

Warghat, Nandkishor, Gaur Anil J, Sharma R Navin, Chirde Sudhir G, & Chandrakar Mamta R (2011) Spiders (Araneae) from Agricultural !elds near foothill of Satpuda Mountain arranges of Amravati District, Maharashtra, India. Nature Pro- ceedings : doi:10.1038/npre.2011.5912.1.