Insect Identification
Insect Identification

Spitting Spider - (Scytodes spp.)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 6/25/2014

A Spitting Spider has no web to care for and does not chase insects. It sprays a sticky spit at an insect to ensure it can't escape.

This spider earned its name by spraying its prey with a sticky secretion. When a Spitting Spider approaches a possible meal, it taps one of its long front legs between it and the insect in order to gauge the distance. It will come within range and then spit at the insect. The Spitting Spider quickly sways its head from side-to-side to form crisscrossing bands that pin the insect prey to the ground or whatever is behind it. Big insects may get sprayed multiple times in order to subdue them. Once the prey is subdued, quickly wraps it in spider silk, spinning it between the back legs while quickly winding the silk. The Spitting Spider than bites the insect, injecting venomous fluid that liquefies the internal parts of the prey's body. It consumes the insect on site unlike other spiders that may drag it to a lair for later consumption.

They can be found in woods, under rocks, stones and leaf litter, and in cellars and closets of homes. Its long, gangling legs make it look like its walking on stilts. They are slow-moving, nocturnal hunters.

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Category: Spider
Common name: Spitting Spider
Scientific Name: Scytodes spp.

  Kingdom: Animalia
   Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
     Order: Araneae
      Family: Scytodidae
       Genus: Scytodes
        Species: spp.

Adult Size (Length): 4mm to 9mm (0.16in to 0.35in)

Identifying Colors: brown; black; yellow

Additional Descriptors: speckled, biting, venomous

North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Arizona; California; Colorado; Florida; Georgia; Louisiana; Mississippi; Nevada; New Mexico; Texas

* 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.