Insect Identification
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Insect Identification

North American Spiders

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 2/25/2014

It is believed that some three-quarters of the human population is intimidated by spiders in one form or another.

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North America is home to about 3,400 of the categorized 40,000 species of spiders in the world. Spiders are known as Arachnids and fall under the class Chelicerata and order Araneae, taking various shapes and forms as well as colors and behaviors. Regardless of the individual species, all spiders consist of eight legs and feature two-piece bodies made up of the cephalothorax (front) and abdomen (the bulbous rear). The cephalothorax contains a multiple-eye arrangement (the number varying by species), mouth parts and the legs while the abdomen holds the the silk-producing facilities of the spider.


Spiders can generally be identified by the type of web they create though not all webs are used to capture prey. Some are used in courtship rituals while others are used to secure egg sacs. Silk is produced by specialized glands found in the abdomen of the spider that are formed of liquid protein generated within the body. This protein hardens once it is outside of the body and released through the rear of the abdomen, guided by spinnerets that allow the spider to customize its release as needed. It is not wholly uncommon for spiders of different species to share a web or a spider to steal another's prey. Other species rely on the element of surprise and bury themselves in loose soil, springing out when prey passes - injecting them with powerful subduing venom.


There are a total of 77 North American Spiders in the Insect Identification database. Entries are listed below in alphabetical order.



1
American House Spider
The webs created by American House Spiders are classic Halloween webs: tangled messes in all corners of the attic or windows....
2
Ant Mimic Spider
With bodies shaped more like ants, at first glance, it may be difficult to tell that this creature is a spider. They walk wi...
3
Arrowhead Orb Weaver
It is unusual to see a spider with an abdomen that it not round, especially an orbweaver. Orbweaver spiders belong to the fa...
4
Arrow-shaped Micrathena Spider
The spiny ridges on females are believed to ward off predators, but some sources believe they add to her ability to conceal h...
5
Banded Garden Spider
This spider builds its orb-shaped web between plants in garden beds. It sits in the center of the spiral web with its, up-sid...
6
Basilica Orb Weaver
The colors, pattern and shape of the abdomen make this spider a real stand out. With shades of green, orange and yellow, it ...
7
Black and Yellow Garden Spider
Black and Yellow Garden Spiders are from the Argiope genus found throughout the United States of America and Canada. This spe...
8
Black Tail Crab Spider
Crab spiders have long front forelegs that sit more forward on the body. The back pairs of legs are so much shorter and furth...
9
Black Widow
Female Black Widows are famous for their toxic venom. Males, however, lack such a weapon and are not really known to bite. ...
10
Bolas Spider
The Bolas Spider is not a web spinner. Instead, it casts lines of silk strands with a heavy globule at the end called a bola...
11
Bold Jumping Spider
As a member of the Salticidae family, this small jumping spider has the ability to leap more than 4 times its own body length...
12
Bowl and Doily Weaver Spider
The Bowl and Doily Weaver Spider is a member of the Sheet-Web family. The distinct shape of the web created by this species a...
13
Brown Recluse
The Brown Recluse spider, also known as the Violin Spider, is generally found throughout the southern American states and wes...
14
Brown Widow
The moment the bright orange hourglass on her belly is visible, most people recognize this spider as a type of Widow. The ov...
15
California Trapdoor Spider
California Trapdoor Spiders are native to Southern California. In many ways, they resemble smaller versions of tarantulas, bu...
16
Carolina Wolf Spider
The Carolina Wolf Spider is a hunter like its namesake, not a weaver like other spiders. This species does not wait for prey...
17
Cat-Faced Spider
The Cat-Faced Spider is a common name shared by this species and another North American spider. Its other common name, Jewel ...
18
Comb-Clawed Spider
Comb-clawed, or Comb-Footed, spiders are the most common type of house spider in North America. They come in a variety of col...
19
Cribellate Orb Weaver
The legs of this spider are hairy with flared, feathery tufts of hair at the 'ankles'. The front pairs of legs are extremely...
20
Cross Spider
The white cross marking on the abdomen of the Cross Spider became its name and main identifier. Originally from Europe, it w...
21
Desert Tarantula
Desert Tarantulas are a common sight in the Southwestern states and Mexico. They generally hide during the day, choosing ins...
22
Eastern Harvestman
Harvestman are not spiders, though they resemble them in many ways. They are relatives of the spider in that they are both f...
23
Feather-Legged Spider
Thick legs with long, feathery hairs on them make this spider unique. They may look ferocious, but they actually lack venom ...
24
Fishing Spider
Fishing Spiders are large and look menacing. Their legspan can stretch more than 75mm (3 inches), making it possible to say ...
25
Giant Crab Spider
The Giant Crab Spider is also known as the Golden Huntsman Spider. This is one of the largest spiders in North America with ...
26
Golden Silk Orbweaver
The size of this spider can be frightening. While males remain quite small (up to 1/4 inch), females can grow to become 3 in...
27
Goldenrod Crab Spider
This species of spider uses camouflage as its primary defense as well as offense. It will bite to protect itself as well. Go...
28
Grass Spider
Grass Spiders are common sights throughout North American summers and belong to a family of Funnel Web Weavers. Noted for...
29
Green Crab Spider
The extremely long front legs of the Green Crab Spider help it grab insects like bees, butterflies and beetles that are eithe...
30
Green Lynx Spider
As its name might suggest, the Green Lynx Spider is a bright green spider of the Lynx spider family. Appearing an almost lea...
31
Ground Crab Spider
Crab spiders get their name from the resemblance they share with the crustacean as they walk and when they sit at rest. Their...
32
Ground Spider
Ground Spiders are technically a group of spiders that are ambush attackers and the species Zelotes duplex is one ex...
33
Hacklemesh Weaver
This small brown spider is sometimes mistaken for a Brown Recluse, but it lacks the dark 'violin' silhouette. In addition, H...
34
Hawaiian Garden Spider
Though Hawaiian Garden Spiders can grow to great sizes, they are not poisonous to humans and make great bug-killers in the ga...
35
Hentz Jumping Spider
Hentz Jumping Spider is a member of the Salticidae family. It is not very large; none of the jumping spiders are. Rather th...
36
Huntsman Spider
Although this species of spider is already established in the Southeast, sometimes they stow away on produce from Mexico or C...
37
Johnson Jumping Spider
The Johnson Jumping Spider does not build webs to catch its food. It seeks it out, wandering around until it happens upon a ...
38
Labyrinthine Orb Weaver Spider
The web of this spider is more like a starburst, rather than a typical orb, making it unique and easy to identify. It is a tw...
39
Lattice Orbweaver Spider
The characteristics of the web are useful in identifying the Lattice Orb Weaver Spider. It also has six defined black spots ...
40
Long-bodied Cellar Spider
The shape of the abdomen aided in an alternate name for the Long-Bodied Cellar Spider. Although the name Daddy-Long-Legs is ...
41
Long-Jawed Orb Weaver
The Long-Jawed Orb Weaver has an incredibly long set of front of legs. The female's mouth part, the chelicerae, is also unusu...
42
Long-Legged Sac Spider
This pale spider is typically found in homes and offices (on ceilings, in corners, under beds, etc). They build thin silk te...
43
Magnolia Green Jumping Spider
The bright Magnolia Green Jumping Spider is quite small. Unlike other jumping spiders, it is not furry and its legs are long...
44
Marbled Orb Weaver
The unique 'marbling' pattern of colors on the abdomen, as well as the orange head and black and white legs make the Marbled ...
45
Metallic Crab Spider
The Metallic Crab Spider is a member of the Running Crab Spider family. They are long with skinny legs and incredibly fast. ...
46
Mexican Orange-Kneed Tarantula
Tarantulas are magnificently large and extremely hairy. Including legs, some can grow as long as 150 mm. This particular spe...
47
North American Jumping Spider
Jumping spiders are opportunistic, ambush predators. They do not weave webs for catching prey though they can make spider si...
48
Nursery Web Spider
The Nursery Web Spider derives its name from the good care it takes of its egg sacs. Females carry the sac with their fangs ...
49
Orb Weaver
Orb Weavers come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. Common traits among some include the rounded abdomen and orange-to...
50
Parson Spider
The white stripe on the abdomen of the black Parson Spider is said to resemble the cravat or ruffled neck tie commonly used b...
51
Putnam Jumping Spider
This spider is a member of the family Saliticidae. These are jumping spiders that can leap four to five times their own body...
52
Red Ant-Mimic Spider
Red Ant-Mimic Spiders play both sides of the game: defense and offense. Their ability to be confused as red ants helps keep ...
53
Red Folding Door Trapdoor Spider
Folding Trapdoor spiders are related to members of the Trapdoor Spider family. They are also related to Tarantulas. The uni...
54
Red Spotted Ant Mimic Spider
The Red Spotted Ant Mimic Spider acts like an ant to gain better positioning when attacking prey. It walks on its back 6 leg...
55
Running Crab Spider
These fast-moving spiders are agile enough to outrun predators as well as human hands trying to collect them. Their camoufla...
56
Running Spider
Running spiders, or sac spiders, do not form webs. Instead they hunt their prey with lightning-quick speed. They are fast an...
57
Sac Spider
When it comes to catching prey, Sac Spiders are predatory hunters, not web weavers. They use their spider silk to weave tent...
58
Shamrock Spider
The bold black and white legs of the Shamrock Spider lend this species a classic Halloween-look. The bulbous abdomen can var...
59
Silver Garden Spider
The Silver Garden Spider can be found in the warmer, southern parts of North America. Young spiders can survive a frost, but ...
60
Southeastern Wandering Spider
Spiders in the Ctenidae family resemble wolf spiders, but they are not the same. Wandering spiders are active hunters, not we...
61
Sowbug Killer Spider
This spider's favorite meal is the sowbug, also known as pill bug, wood louse, or roly poly, depending on where you live. Th...
62
Spined Micrathena Spider
The ridges on the abdomen of the female spider are believed to render it unappetizing to predators. The pointy spines would h...
63
Spiny Backed Orb Weaver
The spines on the side of this female spider make it unique and easy to recognize. Males are considerably smaller than femal...
64
Spitting Spider
This spider earned its name by spraying its prey with a sticky secretion. When a Spitting Spider approaches a possible meal, ...
65
Spotted Orb Weaver
Spotted Orb Weavers spin orb-shaped webs that are up to 2 feet in diameter. During the day, they usually hide in a curled lea...
66
Tan Jumping Spider
A member of Salticidae, this spider jumps to ambush its prey instead of creating webs. They are fast runners and spring on to...
67
Tengellid Spider
The spiders in the Tengellidae family are mostly found in Mexico, but sometimes also in the bordering U.S. states. Many of t...
68
Thin-Legged Wolf Spider
This genus of wolf spiders can be found throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada. They are dark and can have striped,...
69
Trashline Orb Weaver
The name of this spider stems from its thicker line of silk in the web (stabilimentum). The purpose of the stablimentum has n...
70
Triangulate Cob Web Spider
The triangular pattern on the abdomen helped name this spider. It is a common house spider, hiding in dark corners of rooms ...
71
Tuft-Legged Orb Weaver
The fine, mesh web of the Tuft-Legged Orb Weaver is a bit different than other orb weavers. The tighter lace constructions ha...
72
Turret Spider
Native to Northern California, the Turret Spider is part of the larger family of "Folding Trapdoor Spiders" that live in self...
73
Venusta Orchard Spider
Common in forested areas, this colorful spider almost appears to be painted. The abdomen can be a variety of color combinatio...
74
Western Spotted Orb Weaver
Like all Orb Weavers, the Western Spotted Orb Weaver spins a circular web. This species tends to create them in open areas ...
75
Wolf Spider
The Wolf Spider hunts at night, spending the daytime hiding in a burrow under stones, logs or other undisturbed places. They ...
76
Woodland Jumping Spider
Jumping spiders are known for their fantastic ability to leap across large air spaces. The Woodland Jumping Spider is an agil...
77
Yellow Sac Spider
This albino-looking spider is commonly found in homes, high up on walls or crawling on ceilings. Yellow Sac Spiders usually ...
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