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Types of Spiders – Complete Guide on the Different Species

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We grow up with the idea that spiders are these frightening pests with several legs that can jump-scare us out of the blue. And while that’s true, we can’t deny there’s more to spiders.

When we talk about spiders, we tend to forget the sheer diversity this word entails. There are over 45,000 spider species on the planet! And that’s only the number we know of.

In contrast, there are “only” less than 7,000 mammal species on Earth. So imagine someone lumping us with all the other mammals into one general term, then multiply that by seven, and that’s what we do with spiders.

As we couldn’t possibly cover all types of spiders in this article, we’ve selected the most exciting and common species to talk about here. So read on as we discuss the different types of spiders!

Wolf Spiders

Wolf spiders are spiders in the Lycosidae family, which encompasses almost 3,000 species alone! Also, wolf spiders don’t get their cool moniker for no reason. Instead, they’re named based on their prominent figure, dark color (often gray, black, brown, or tan), and athleticism.

And unlike most spider species, a wolf spider doesn’t capture prey with spider webs. Instead, the wolf spider runs their prey down with their quick legs and subdue it with their strong body. They can even jump great distances if they need to.

Moreover, wolf spiders are versatile and can adapt to many conditions. Therefore, you can find them in almost every country living in vastly different terrains. For example, some live in the deserts of Australia, while others live in the mountainous ranges of Nepal.

Jumping Spiders

Jumping spiders are often called the cutest spiders on the planet since they’re known for their petite size, large adorable eyes, shyness, and superb vision.

When we say jumping spiders are petite, we mean they’re tiny! A giant jumping spider wouldn’t even exceed an inch in length, and that’s only in a few species, while the average is closer to the 0.1-0.3 inch mark.

These adorable spiders get their name because of how they hunt. A jumping spider doesn’t trap prey by spinning webs. Instead, they follow their target around and jump at the prey’s moment of weakness.

Jumping spiders can also jump high for their height. In fact, they can jump a bit over 6 inches, which is more than ten times their body size!

Ground Spiders

Ground spiders aren’t the prettiest species with their jagged legs, separated spinnerets, and shiny eyes. Luckily, though, they almost always live outdoors in forests, often living under tree bark or leaf litter. However, if it gets cold enough, they might sneak into your home for shelter, so be careful!

During the daytime, ground spiders like to hide in dark areas and wait for the night so they can start their hunt. Once they find their prey, they don’t trap it with stealthy orb webs, instead choosing to run after them on the ground, hence their name.

Be careful around these, as ground spiders are venomous creatures. And even though their venom isn’t very harmful to humans, you should still avoid it.

Yellow Sac Spiders

Yellow sac spiders are some of the more common types of spiders you might encounter since they notoriously sneak into buildings, where they like to build a new web sac to house them.

You’ll know a yellow sac spider by its tan yellow or light brown color and slender figure. And if you manage to get a closer look, you’ll spot tiny hairs protruding from its body too.

And be careful because a yellow sac spider bite can cause some discomfort, pain, or swelling. And if you’re particularly unlucky, you might be bed-ridden with fever symptoms for a day or two.

Crab Spiders

With their long front legs and short back legs, crab spiders pull off the crab-like shape quite well, especially with their ability to walk sideways and backward. Needless to say, crab spiders are some of the more unique-looking types of spiders.

You can easily tell a crab spider by its brown or gray color and small size, usually about half an inch long. And as we said, these spiders look like crabs with their two long front legs, two slightly shorter second legs, very short third legs, and the fourth legs you might not even see.

Crab spiders also don’t spin webs to hunt. Instead, they wait stealthily for their prey and then attack it.

Black Widow Spiders

Black widow spiders are possibly the most notorious types of spiders globally, thanks to their large size and venom. Fortunately, though, their venom isn’t as deadly as people often mistake it, and it rarely causes death.

It’s very easy to identify a black widow spider by its large size, reaching upwards of 1.5 inches in length. However, more distinct are their large, bloated abdomens with a red mark.

Male black widow spiders tend to hunt since they’re young spiders, while the female spider kills and eats male spiders after mating, and that’s how widow spiders get their name.

And while black widow spiders are venomous spiders, the potency of their venom is often falsely exaggerated. Yes, their venom can cause muscle pain or nausea or paralyze the diaphragm and make breathing difficult. Still, it rarely causes severe medical damage, and death is fortunately sporadic, usually happening to young children, older adults, or people with severe medical conditions.

Brown Widow Spiders

Just like their black-colored cousins, brown widow spiders possess a formidable hourglass figure. However, as their name suggests, they have a dark brown or tan brown color with black, red, or white accent colors. So, in a way, the brown widow spider looks similar to baby spiders of black widows.

Brown widows can reach up to 1.5 inches in length. Moreover, brown widows have relatively long legs.

Fortunately, the brown widow spider venom isn’t as potent as its black cousin’s, possibly because brown widows have less effective venom glands.

Brown Recluse Spiders

Brown recluse spiders are possibly the most notorious of the dark brown spiders, especially in the USA, Canada, and Mexico, as North America is the only continent the brown recluse spider inhabits.

The brown recluse spider prefers to live in hotter climates, so you’ll mostly find it in southern US states such as Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. You might still see it in colder states outside the south, but it’s unlikely.

Unlike most spiders with eight eyes, the brown recluse spider only has six, arranged in a semicircle.

Be careful around these beasts, as they’re among the most dangerous spiders commonly found in American homes. Fortunately, most brown recluse spider bites don’t cause serious harm, but you should still seek medical attention if one bites you.

House Spiders

House spiders, also known as giant house spiders, are large and frightening dark tan spiders found in small and dark spots in homes.

And although common house spiders are huge and their legs can span up to 5 inches, they manage to sneak into houses from small window openings, through chimneys, or under doors.

They like to web their nests in bathrooms, garages, or cavities in walls, especially in quieter rooms.

Fortunately, common house spiders rarely bite humans, and their bites aren’t dangerous anyway.

Long-Bodied Cellar Spiders

Long-bodied cellar spiders are most famous for two things: their freakishly long and thin legs and their hilarious alternative moniker “daddy longlegs.”

The daddy longlegs have a small, oval-shaped, tan, or grey body, surrounded by four pairs of legs that span up to 6 inches.

Long-bodied cellar spiders are often considered a nuisance more than a threat since they tend to leave webs everywhere and don’t bite humans.

Tarantulas

Tarantulas are notorious for their large and hairy bodies, which is enough to scare most people into letting a scream out when they see them.

However, tarantulas are some of the least aggressive spiders. Their venom isn’t very potent, and the worst they could do to people (apart from nearly putting them in cardiac arrest) is a painful bite that feels like a bee sting.

Because of their passivity, tarantulas are common in exotic pet trading circles.

Cave Dweller Spiders

With 85 described species in 10 genera, these are also known as long-legged cave spiders and have six eyes, but some don’t have any.

Camel Spiders

Although many people consider them spiders because of their shape, camel spiders aren’t true spiders, at least not anatomically. Instead, camel spiders are in their own order (Aranaea) and are a sort of mix between scorpions and spiders.

Camel spiders have been shrouded in myths, especially in the Middle East deserts, where they’re rumored to be large predators that can run as fast as a human and like to eat flesh, especially camel meat, hence their name.

However, while the myths aren’t true, camel spiders are still large and fast compared to other spiders. They can reach up to 6 inches in length and can run at 10 miles per hour.

Oh, and don’t worry, they’ll try to hide from you and will only bite if provoked. And even then, their bite isn’t deadly, just a bit painful.

Hobo Spiders

Hobo spiders, sometimes called the funnel-web spiders because they build funnel-shaped webs where they live and catch prey, often like to live away from human disturbance in dark areas, such as basements and crawlspaces.

Funnel-web spiders are often confused with other species and sometimes mistaken to be venomous.

However, the hobo spider bite isn’t fully understood yet. And in 2017, the CDC stopped considering this spider a venomous species until the confusion was cleared up.

Redback Spiders

Redback spiders are closely related to the notorious black widow, and both species look pretty much alike.

The differences between the redback and black widow are very minimal. The biggest difference is that the redback only inhabits Australia and its surrounding region, while the black widow mainly inhabits North America.

Brazilian Wandering Spiders

The Brazilian wandering spider is an aggressive creature armed with strong bristles on its two front legs and a potent venom that damages the human nervous system.

Wandering spiders are scarily large, reaching a leg span of up to 6 inches. But fortunately, they’re not commonly found in households, instead choosing to live in rain forests under leaf litter.

Mouse Spiders

Unless you’re Australian, you may have never seen a mouse spider before, since only a few species and almost all of them live in Australia, with the only exception being in Chile.

Mouse spiders are medium-sized, averaging an inch in body length. Regardless, mouse spiders are easily distinguishable by their black or dark brown glossy color and thick legs.

Trapdoor Spiders

“Trapdoor spider” can refer to several different groups of spiders that dig burrows with a web trapdoor that helps them capture prey. The term commonly refers to spiders in the small family Ctenizidae, but it can also refer to other spiders.

These spiders are characterized by their rigid shape and the camouflaged trapdoor they build, which most of their prey fall for.

The trapdoor spider isn’t the meanest, with a body length of 0.5-1 inch, but its intelligence allows it to thrive.

Orb-Weaver Spiders

Orb-weaver spiders are among the most common web-building spiders, and they’re recognizable by their neon-like yellow-banded legs and brown-reddish body.

All orb weavers like to build their nests suspended in the air, often between gaps in whatever spot they pick as the foundation of their new home.

These spiders eat whatever gets trapped in their webs, such as flies and cicadas. Once in a while, they may even trap a small bird or bat, which they also eat.

Leaf-Curling Spiders

Leaf-curling spiders fall in the orb-weaving category and are distinguishable by the curled leaf shapes they hide in, leaving only their legs visible, their red-brown legs, and their sour cream-colored bodies.

St. Andrew’s Cross Spiders

How St. Andrew’s cross spiders suspend themselves in their webs is fascinating. These spiders spread their two front legs upwards and their two rear legs backward in an X shape, which resembles the cross of St. Andrew on the Scottish flag.

The webs these spiders build are extensive, too, sometimes reaching 40 inches across.

St. Andrew’s cross spiders can be found in Australian homes, but they tend to stay outdoors as long as the climate suits them.

Huntsman Spiders

Huntsman spiders are possibly the scariest in this guide because of their unbelievably large size, hairiness, and tendency to jump-scare people from behind curtains.

With a body length of 0.7 inches, the huntsman’s body isn’t the largest. However, in terms of reach, these beasts are unmatched by all the other types of spiders since their leg span can reach an incredible 11 inches!

Despite their frightening appearance, huntsman spiders aren’t the most aggressive or deadly spiders. However, their venom can still cause fever symptoms or increased heart palpitations.

Grass Spiders

Notable for their funnel-shaped webs, grass spiders like to nest their homes on grass and lawn in summertime USA when the weather is moderate enough for them to thrive without freezing.

The grass spider is recognizable by its tan body, long legs, and eight eyes arranged in a 2-2-4 top-to-bottom formation.

Despite spinning so much web, the grass spider doesn’t catch prey using its web since it’s not sticky enough. So instead, it runs after its targets.

Peacock Spiders

Peacock spiders are tiny jumping spiders known for the colorful abdomens of males, and their flamboyant mating dance males use to try and attract females.

These tiny cheerful spiders are roughly the same size as a grain of rice, and they’ve captured the audiences on YouTube since the early 21st century with their epic dances.

As you might expect, peacock spiders aren’t dangerous to humans, and their mouths are too small even to penetrate skin most of the time.

Fishing Spiders

Fishing spiders are like wolf spiders on steroids. They’re similar in appearance with their gray color and are similarly athletic. However, they possess a unique ability: running on water.

Because of this divine ability, fishing spiders can sometimes catch unsuspecting small fish or tadpoles in the water. However, these spiders eat insects most of the time, as most other spiders do.

Sea Spiders

When you’re the only marine animal in a list of land-dwelling arachnids, you know you’re a candidate for the most interesting type in this guide, and sea spiders definitely are.

And although they’re not exactly “true spiders,” many people still think they are because they resemble land spiders and their name.

There are over 1,300 species of sea spiders scattered across the world’s oceans, and they greatly vary. For example, some can be only a millimeter long, while others reach a whopping 2.5 feet!

Spider Beetles

Spider beetles are tiny beetles, measuring only a few millimeters, but they can easily be mistaken for spiders when you see their three legs and antennas that look like a fourth pair of legs upfront.

Cobweb Spiders

Cobweb spiders look like a kind of fusion between black widows, redbacks, and orb weavers, boasting a black hourglass shape with red spots on its abdomen. But despite the similarities, cobweb spiders have a few significant differences.

For instance, a cobweb spider is different from orb weavers because it spins webs seemingly randomly and unorganized.

You might also notice the smaller size of the cobweb spider or the white bands around its abdomen, both of which distinguish it from other hourglass-shaped spiders.

Six-Eyed Sand Spiders

Unless you live in southern Africa, you’ve probably never seen a six-eyed sand spider before. And you should probably be thankful for that, as these tricky behemoths are nearly invisible when camouflaging in the sand, thanks to their sandy color and flattened shape.

Moreover, sand spiders deliver possibly the most dangerous venom of all spiders, capable of breaking red blood cells apart, destroying blood vessels and tissues.

Fortunately, though, six-eyed sand spiders are known to be passive, preferring to shy away than to attack.

Goliath Birdeater Spiders

Despite being tarantula spiders, goliath birdeaters are among the most massive spiders on the planet. They’re actually the heaviest, averaging 175 grams, and have the second-longest legs, only bested by the gargantuan huntsman spiders.

The birdeater is famous for its intriguing defense mechanism. It rubs its legs together upon sensing danger and launches a missile attack consisting of sharp hairs, scaring to-be attackers away.

Purseweb Spiders

The purseweb spider is a rarely seen species since it’s so tiny and mainly inhabits a few parts of Europe, in which it spends most of its time hunting and looking for small prey to feed on.

Sightings are so rare that scientists thought this tiny spider had gone extinct until it was rediscovered in 1994.

Lynx Spiders

Another rarely seen type, lynx spiders were first described in 1870.

And how could anyone have seen them when these tiny spiders hide in flowers and feed off small pollinators and nectar?

One interesting fact about lynx spiders is that their females will spray venom at intruders that come near their eggs, even if it’s an ineffective defense.

Moreover, the lynx has an interesting cousin, the green lynx spider, which shines a neon green color and is commonly used for pest control in agriculture.

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