Insect Identification logo
Icon of the state of Texas
Icon of a spider
Icon of a beetle insect
Icon of a butterfly
Icon of a bee
Icon of the Bugfinder utility

Parson Spider (Herpyllus ecclesiasticus)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Parson Spider.

 Updated: 8/23/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




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



The white stripe on the abdomen of the black Parson Spider resembles the cravat, or ruffled neck tie, commonly used by men of the clergy in the 18th century. This is a medium-sized, hairy spider, and it is wickedly fast. The Parson Spider does not spin a web to catch prey; it is part of the Ground Spider family. Instead, it roams the ground and walls, usually at night, searching for insects to eat. It is an ambush predator, running up to and quickly biting insects it comes across. During the day, a Parson Spider takes cover under rocks, boards, and other debris. It is typically a woodland spider, but sometimes venture indoors and is frequently seen in homes and buildings.

While the Parson Spider's venom is not lethal, this particular species has a bite that has caused an allergic reaction in some people. It is most likely to bite when trapped between clothing and skin, or between bedding and skin. Most people consider it a nuisance, but it does consume many of the common household pests that can populate a home. It does not infest homes, so some people leave it alone, letting it do its thing. Many people shoo it back outside to return it to its natural habitat.
Insect biting icon
Venomous insect icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
      Order: Araneae
        Family: Arachnidae
          Genus: Herpyllus
            Species: ecclesiasticus
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Herpyllus ecclesiasticus
Other Name(s): Eastern Parson Spider
Category: Spider
Size (Adult; Length): 10mm to 20mm (0.39in to 0.78in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; brown; ivory
Descriptors: cross, biting, venomous
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
State of Arkansas graphic
State of California graphic
State of Colorado graphic
State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
State of Georgia graphic
State of Idaho graphic
State of Illinois graphic
State of Indiana graphic
State of Iowa graphic
State of Kansas graphic
State of Kentucky graphic
State of Louisiana graphic
State of Maine graphic
State of Maryland graphic
State of Michigan graphic
State of Minnesota graphic
State of Mississippi graphic
State of Missouri graphic
State of Montana graphic
State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic




Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
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
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.




Spider Anatomy
Graphic showing basic parts of spider anatomy
1
Legs: Spiders have four pairs of legs and these are attached to the cephalothorax.
2
Pedipalps: Small appendages near the mouth used as taste and smell organs.
3
Cephalothorax: Contains eyes, head, mouthparts, and legs.
4
Abdomen: Contains various organs related to digestion, reproduction, and web-making.
5
Spinnerets: Used in the production of spider silk for fashioning webs or catching prey.
NOTE: Unlike insects, spiders have both an endoskeleton (internal) and exoskeleton (external).