Insect Identification
Insect Identification

Parson Spider - (Herpyllus ecclesiasticus)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 7/18/2014

A houseguest like the black and white Parson Spider is a blessing to some and a bother to others.

The white stripe on the abdomen of the black Parson Spider is said to resemble the cravat or ruffled neck tie commonly used by men of the clergy in the 18th century. It is a medium-sized spider and wickedly fast. This species of spider does not spin a web to catch prey. Instead, it roams the ground and walls, searching for insects to eat. They are ambush predators, running up to and quickly biting insects they they come across.

While the Parson Spider's venom is not lethal, this particular species has a bite has been known to have caused an allergic reaction in some people. Most people consider it a nuisance though it does consume many of the common household pests that could populate a home.

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Category: Spider
Common name: Parson Spider
Scientific Name: Herpyllus ecclesiasticus
Other Names: Eastern Parson Spider

  Kingdom: Animalia
   Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
     Order: Araneae
      Family: Arachnidae
       Genus: Herpyllus
        Species: ecclesiasticus

Adult Size (Length): 10mm to 20mm (0.39in to 0.79in)

Identifying Colors: black; brown; ivory

Additional Descriptors: cross, biting, venomous

North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): 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; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

* Keep in mind that insect reach is not governed by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.