The 11 Most Common (And Deadly) Spiders In The U.S.
Knowledge about spiders helps you identify the poisonous from the nontoxic ones.
RELATED: Survival Skills | Guide to Venomous Spiders
Spiders | Knowing Common Crawlers from the Deadly Ones
Different Spider Species
The sight of spiders sometimes causes panic, especially to those who are arachnophobic.
Truth is, most types of spiders aren’t harmful at all—their prey is not you but insects. But, there are a few species you’d want to avoid.
If you see scary spiders that are not the usual house spiders, then you must be cautious. You wouldn’t want to get bitten by poisonous spiders while doing your daily routine.
Boost your survival skills by knowing a few of these crawling creatures.
1. The Brown Recluse Spider
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Adult brown recluse spiders, usually common in the south, reach about an inch in body length but some grow larger.
A shape of a dark violin can be spotted on the topmost leg area with the tip pointing towards the abdomen. This gave rise to the brown recluse spiders’ nickname, Fiddle Back.
What makes brown recluse spiders unique is they have a pair of six eyes instead of the usual eight. Spider bites from a recluse may cause significant cutaneous injury with tissue loss and necrosis.
2. The Black Widow Spider
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Fully mature black widow spiders can reach about half an inch in body length. They normally have a shiny black color with a yellowish orange or red hourglass mark or dot under the stomach area.
You may come across black widow spiders in these places:
- Underneath piles of rubble and wood
- Inside hollow stumps
- Underneath stones
- Crawl spaces
- Untidy basements
Black widow spiders are among the most venomous spiders. Even a tiny amount of their venom immediately affects the nervous system.
When they bite, a person may experience a severe reaction—manifested through nausea, abdominal pain, headache, fever, extreme blood pressure increase, and vomiting. The good news is black widow spiders do not bite people unless disturbed or threatened.
3. The Red Widow Spider
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Red widow spiders have a black abdomen with red spots, lined with yellow at the borders.
All the rest of their bodies have a reddish-brown color. Typically, their underside has one or more tiny red marks.
They create spider webs in rosemary, palmettos, scrub oak, and other shrubs, mostly in central and southeast Florida’s sand-pine scrub territories. Only the females bite and its venom, being a neurotoxin, leads to muscle spasms.
What is a Neurotoxin? A venom that affects the nervous system that can cause low heart-rate and paralysis.
4. The Hobo Spider
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Adult hobo spiders have several chevron-shaped markings on their abdomen. They have a brownish color and can reach a body length of about half an inch.
The males’ mouth area has two large boxing glove-like parts. Females, meanwhile, have bigger abdomens.
A hobo spider lives anywhere in the following areas:
Spider bites from hobos form a blister after 24 hours. The blister breaks open later and turns into an ulcer with liquid oozing out after a day or two.
A terrible headache is one of the frequent complaints in addition to weakness, nausea, damaged eyesight, short-term loss of memory, and fatigue.
5. The Funnel Web Grass Spider
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Generally, funnel grass spiders are grayish or brownish in color with dark and light stripes on the head. They have long spinnerets with a body size nearly an inch in length.
Their webs are usually made near steps, foundations, window wells, low-lying shrubs, and in the ground. They can be frequently seen in the Northwestern part of the U.S.
The bite of these spiders is of low risk to humans.
RELATED: 10 Natural Ways to Repel Spiders
6. The Brown Widow Spider
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Like the black widow, brown widow spiders have an hourglass-like shape at the abdomen — only it has an orange shade instead of red. Their color is tan or brown with a black accent marking.
They actually look like immature black widows, and it takes an expert to tell the difference.
The most distinctive feature of this spider species from the others is the shape of its egg sac. They have a pollen grain shape instead of a little cotton ball.
7. The Wolf Spider
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An adult wolf spider may reach up to an inch or more in length. It has brown to grayish speckles and a distinct impression of a Union Jack on the upper stomach area.
When laying eggs, the female spiders carry the egg sacs around, as they are attached to their spinnerets. Newly hatched spiders ride on their mother’s back for several days.
Like most spiders, wolf spiders prey on insects, but the bigger ones prey not just insects but lizards and frogs, too.
Wolf spiders are nocturnal ground dwellers. When they feel threatened, they run away swiftly and have burrows lined with silk to retreat into.
A spider bite from a wolf spider is not fatal, but it is still venomous and may cause a reaction to those who are allergic to it. Its bite, however, is quite painful, similar to a bee sting.
8. The Orb Weaving Spider
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Adult orb-weaving spiders can grow to nearly an inch. They have a spherical abdomen, which is often colored with a light to a dark brown pattern.
Another variety of orb-weaving, the golden orb-weaver spider, has the same round abdomen, but it has a purple-like color instead. These spiders may thrive in your garden during the summer.
You might discover their webs, which may reach a radius of more than 6 feet, between shrubs or buildings. A bite from orb weavers is nontoxic to people.
9. Cellar Spider (Daddy Long Legs)
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Cellar spiders are non-venomous fragile spiders. Their body measures up to a length of 2 to 10 mm and legs up to 50 mm.
A common house spider, it hangs upturned in irregular, tangled, and messy webs found in damp and dark recesses, such as:
- Loose bark
- Beneath rocks
- Deserted burrows
- Undisturbed areas in buildings, such as cellars, thus the name “cellar spider”
- In warm, dry places, like attics and household windows
10. The Huntsman Spider
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Also called giant crab spiders, huntsman spiders have a body length of about an inch or more. Their legs are quite long, as they reach around five to six inches, but a giant huntsman spider has legs 12 inches long!
The two pairs of rear legs are considerably shorter than the two pairs in front. They have dark patches with a brownish beige color on its body.
Huntsman spiders are apprehensive and can move extremely fast going sideways if disturbed. It likes to live beneath flat rocks, peeling tree barks, and inside building roof spaces.
They are a non-aggressive group of spiders and the bite from huntsman spiders is not toxic to humans.
11. The Tarantula
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On average, tarantulas measure 7 to 10 cm in length but are capable of exceeding 30 cm. Smaller tarantulas prey on insects, but like huntsman spiders, giant tarantulas prey on bigger animals like rodents, frogs, snakes, and bats.
Tarantulas commonly come in black or brown in color with distinguishable body hair, which they use as a defense mechanism against predators. They can be found in some if not all parts of:
- New Mexico
Tarantulas thrive all over grassland and open desert areas with soils that are well-drained and dry. But, there are some species that survive in caves, cliffs, trees, including pineapple and banana crops.
Although all tarantulas are poisonous, there has been no recorded data of any deaths caused by a tarantula bite. However, their bites are excruciatingly painful and can last for a number of days.
Watch this video by eHow on identifying spiders of the Midwest in the United States:
Spiders are generally not bad. Many species of spiders are not even aggressive and only bite when provoked. Yet, it is still better to know more about spiders, especially those that are venomous.
If you are knowledgeable about them, you can easily take the necessary precautions to keep them and yourself out of danger.
What’s your take on spiders? Let us know in the comments section below!
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The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on March 12, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
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April 22, 2017 at 2:47 PM
Spiders are not aggressive–in other words, they will not seek you out to attack you. In the above descriptions, the phrases “if provoked” or “if aggravated” can be understood to mean “if grabbed by your hand” or “if caught between your skin and clothing,” both of which are highly unlikely.
Note: There is a new poisonous spider resident in Southern California and Texas to the Atlantic coast, the Brown Widow. It looks just like its black cousin except for coloring, which is tan and marked with various fine lines and swirls. Its web is similar also (a tangled random cluster). It also seems to be much more prolific, with dozens of webs appearing seemingly overnight.
For lots of info, see
August 22, 2018 at 3:28 PM
Im terrified of all spiders, always have been. The only good spider is a dead one as far as I’m concerned . I dislike them all.
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August 17, 2017 at 11:35 AM
I love the spiders in my garden! They are controlling the population of those annoying bugs that fly up your nose. Seriously, a necessary part of the ecosystem. I rescue wolf spiders from the sink (use a light cup and a piece of paper to catch them and place outside), photograph my orb weavers, and morning dewed webs. There’s a great Cherokee legend about how it’s Grandmother Spider who makes a bowl from her webbing that allows Vulture to carry the sun into the sky.
And then of course there’s Spiderman… thwip, thwip…
August 19, 2019 at 7:12 PM
Cherokee huh? A man who claimed Cherokee heritage was liaison between George Wallace and the KKK. His name was Asa Carter. He’s thought to have written George Wallace’s most divisive/infamous speech.
Later he went on to write a series of stories which became the darling literature of the SJWs which were about the experiences of a 2nd American child having injustices visited upon him and his family. Until, that is, it was discovered he was really Asa Carter.
He also wrote a western novel that is considered to have redefined that genre and was later made by Clint Eastwood’s Malpaiso Productions into the film The Outlaw Josie Wales. Carter’s relatives denied any connection to the Cherokee, BTW…
That said I’m all for literature such as Charlotte’s web, myths making demigods who are spider-women into larger-than-life counter heroes and word-of-mouth legends/stories from africa or elsewhere which try to tell a less terrifying version of the existence in our world of spiders. I like most spiders, some some and despise a few. I sleep on the floor of my extremely messy home down where the wandering-type hunting spiders hunt. I just observed a Herpyllus ecclesiasticus hunting right next to my sleeping bag this afternoon. I was happy to see it. For the most part most of those spiders are probably eating larvae of beetles that have been munching on the horse-hair pad ( or whatever’s left of it ) beneath the wall-to-wall carpet that was so injudiciously laid down over the hardwood floors 50 years ago and which will soon be torn up and discarded. Aside from whatever allergy promoting dust the feces and dead bodies/exuviae those produce poses the spiders which predate those provide little in the way of benefit to me. Unless my theory that L. reclusa tend not to be able to “establish” where there is a heavy population of more aggressive/robust 8legged hunters is valid.
The truth is the “little kid inside” just revels in their presence. Good post BTW. I enjoyed reading it.
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May 8, 2018 at 11:46 PM
I do not like spiders…no, make that – I hate spiders!! I know they play a huge part in controlling insects. But in my house the only good spider is a dead spider!
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July 6, 2018 at 1:18 AM
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August 22, 2018 at 12:07 PM
Tarantula are found in ILLINOIS also.
There is a picture on Facebook of a new spider found in the Southeastern part of the United States that they say is deadly and killing people. With no anti-venom available . Is this fake news?
August 19, 2019 at 8:00 AM
It’s probably fake news but then the “fiddlebacks” were not known to be dangerous until fairly recently. But they were always there. As people expand into wild areas with their housing developments it’s always possible to stumble into a population of hitherto-unknown species and that could include a new candidate on the list of spiders which are “species of concern” to public health officials.
Let’s hope it’s fake news for the present. Do you have any links?
February 24, 2019 at 2:51 AM
If you live in the USA , And you are relatively healthy, not even the most poisonous the Brown Recluse is deadly . I am sick and tired of these sensationalist titles . Spiders in your house and in your garden , anywhere really, are good , they eat pests . They make spider webs in the corners of your ceilings, in lower corners, under steps, etc, and trap house and garbage flies and the like . House flies are a much bigger public and private home safety hazard than spiders
August 19, 2019 at 9:34 AM
I love spiders. Right now there’s a barn spider whose web I must have walked through outdoors and which caught a ride on me into my home. I discovered that when I walked through her web in my kitchen. When she put it back up she left a place for me to go through to get to the sink, stove and rear door. I don’t know if it was intentional or not but I’ve observed some rather sophisticated behaviors in some creatures with very small brains.
I moved her to an area where she could spin her web out of my way. I mist the web so she can get a drink and feed her what I can find by the front light on the porch. In fact I’m going to get some wax worms the next time i go in the bait&tackle shop and feed her those just to see if I can get her as large as some of that species I’ve seen in rural areas.
I’ve seen a home healthcare worker come here to help with bathing my AD sufferer relative who showed me a keloid on her inner thigh which was as large as the fist of a 4yr-old child and it was the result of complications arising from the bite of a Loxoceles reclusa. Not the most-common outcome which is often a dry or nearly dry bite but still very unpleasant.
One spider I’ve not seen listed on any site about this subject but worthy-of-mention is a foreign introduction—probably from the Mediterranean area—which is a nasty-looking yellow and makes a silken sac retreat—often where a wall and ceiling intersect. One of those was trying to get a drink from my soda bottle and was sitting near the threads when I took a nice swig and got a spider between my lower incisors and buccal mucosa. I experienced a half-cherry-pit size swelling just inside the lower lip. I became giddy and my tongue–which was not bitten to my knowledge—became numb for awhile. I had to miss the prime time of handing out some fliers at a public venue and most of the target population while I rested to see if any other symptoms would ensue. Literature I’ve read suggests this spider can cause an envenomation syndrome similar flu symptoms. I recovered in two hours and got to argue with a bunch of SJW morons and a rent-a-cop who were the only ones left that day to whom to try to hand out my informative fliers—a total waste.
Not a huge tragedy but a negative impact nonetheless and I’d rather have done without it.
A similar spider to those which I believe to be native and normally found outdoors has, on occasion, been letting itself down on a silk line from a tree, landed on my arm and immediately bitten me. It must have been a “dry bite” because it’s the same or a similar species and no syndrome such as I experienced with the lip-bite ensued. But it was unpleasant and un called-for and I would personally eradicate all spiders of that and/or related species if I could just because they are not good neighbors and can sometimes make us ill. If the lip-bite incident had occurred to a small child or a person with infirmities I wold not hesitate to go to a doc-in-the-box type clinic for evaluation.
I beleive the name of the spider that bit my lip is probably cheiracanthium mildei and formerly I saw it listed as Clubionidae cheiracanthium. I hate those particular spiders. I always have even before I was bitten. They’re the color of mucous produced from a bacterial sinus infection and are just about as charming.
I have numerous other regular spider residents in my home including the beautiful little Herpyllus ecclesiasticus which I’ve nicknamed “velvet-painting spiders”, pholcids, Salticids and occasional others which are seasonal visitors or just random accidentals. I’ll feed any Phiduppus audax ( or close relatives ) I find to encourage them. Not for insect eating but just because I love those as much as I despise cheiracanthium mildei.
I believe having a healthy population of more robust and aggressive spiders may have something to do with never having found one L. reclusa ( outside of study specimens in a jar ) in my home. And it’s not that good housekeeping award they keep forgetting to send me or any lack of he habit of bringing in used articles of furniture, appliances and so-forth from homes undoubtedly infested with L. reclusa. There’s something else going on keeping those from establishing.
Most spiders are good. Some are a joy to have around. But others are less-than-optimal and I don’t blame anyone for eradicating those. And you just can’t fight human nature and it’s quite common for that to dictate that a lot of people are going to hate every spider they see. With irrational fears comes sensationalization.
As for certain insect pests being a greater DANGER here in the U.S. I tend to doubt it. Certainly in other parts of the world. Flies can transmit pathogens to food left out in their presence true, but I’ve been discommoded more by spiders than flies. Roaches are nasty and carriers of a large number of pathogens which can cause illness in humans but not one documented case of a roach infestation has ever been found to have caused an zoonotic mediated outbreak of any human disease. At least not here.
I doubt any spider is going to be the successful foil for an infestation of bedbugs or fleas. Same with mosquitoes. A few pet dragonflies might help there… I don’t think any spider is known to control one of the most destructive insect pests—termites. Some good old carpenter ants might though. I tolerate them in my home too. I even tried to start a captive nest of ’em one time but the queen didn’t produce enoug workers to sustain it. My technique was probably inadeqquate. But I’ve seen those running back to their nest wit roach nymphs in their jaws when I didn’t even know there were any roaches in the kitchen–and they’re pretty hard on the little nuisance ants too. I’ve seen a carpenter ant hunker down low where the nuisance ants went so as to better engage and kill them since they’re so much smaller.
I had an infestation of field mice. I doubt any spider anyone would want around ’em would control those but I did notice that most of my spider population and insects as well were AWOL during that period… Talk about dangerous to human health… Online articles about keeping those in a lab environment suggesting full Ft. Deitrick bio-hazard protocols if keeping them indoors. Including UV air sterilization. I don’t think anyone is likely to release a few corn snakes in their house to get rid of a mouse infestation and that’s the same impediment you’re going to encounter suggesting the spiders be tolerated to keep the insect problems down to a dull roar. There are a lot of Jim Staffords “out there” and that’s probably one reason that old song about “I don’t like spiders or snakes” was fairly popular. People just don’t like ’em. Being tired of that isn’t going to change their minds.
March 23, 2019 at 1:00 AM
I live in Pennsylvania and was bitten on my face above my right eye. The spider was some kind of funnel spider since we found his web. It was in my bedroom where it occurred. The venom dissolved some flesh around the bite. My lymph glands under my jaw swelled up a few days later. The swelling lasted a week then receded, however my body became very stiff for several days and I had moderate bleeding from my rectum for about two weeks. I saw my physician twice throughout this and was given anti-biotics too prevent any secondary infections. Within a month I developed atrial fibrillation and was hospitalized for three days. Since that happened I have been on medication. Approximately five months later I suffered an Ischemic Stroke and again was hospitalized, treated and recovered as the blood clot eventually passed through and out of the brain. The stroke was caused by the A-fib condition. Three years later I had a pacemaker permanently implanted when my A/V node stopped functioning. This all started in 2006 and I still have the scars on my fore head. I definitely feel being bitten by this spider was a life altering event that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
June 4, 2019 at 10:34 AM
I’ve suffered similar bites over a lifetime all being varied in results according to many factors besides who is bitten with what . The worst was the black widow while loading the top shelf of a closet in a suite on a business trip in Phoenix . Bitten on top of a blood vain just under the skin . My reaction was to swat and I believe driving everything that little she-devil had straight into the blood . I had yet to notify family of where I was and laid down prepaid for a month . It was three day’s before waking at twenty six years old feeling as if I had been severely beaten .