Spiders in Arkansas: How to Identify

Only two of the over 400 species of spiders in Arkansas are venomous and considered dangerous to humans.

The rest of Arkansas’s spiders benefit the state’s ecology.

Learn which two to avoid, and spare the rest whenever possible–good spiders are free, efficient, and safe pest control!

Black widow spiders in Arkansas
Front close-up of a Brown Recluse spider. Photo credit:Shutterstock.com/Sari O’Neal.

Black widow spiders in Arkansas.

Black widow spiders in Arkansas are the easiest spider to identify. But, unfortunately, black widow spiders are also the most horrifying spider to identify up close and personal. The fear of the hourglass-shaped spider’s bite is world-renowned throughout the temperate regains of the entire world.

In many articles on black widow spiders in Arkansas, the author suggests that the reports of their venom and the inherent dangers of encountering black widow spiders are deemed “over-rated.”

That’s not true. Indeed, the black widow spider is nasty and potentially fatal to young and elderly humans. Therefore, any helpful article will recommend they be avoided, and those who live where black widow spiders reside can identify and avoid them.

The black widow spider in North America can also be red (Latrodectus bishopi ) or brown (Latrodectus geometricus). Despite their color, female black widows have dark-colored and easily identified reddish hourglass markings on the central underside. Only the female has a bite hazardous to humans.

Black widow spiders in Arkansas: Fascinating facts.

A study conducted in the 1950s found that 80% of black widow spider bites happened to men, most of whom were bit on the penis. Ouch! Why? 

As reported in IFLScience.com, “Most of the black widow bites that were reported happened in outhouses. 

“So black widow spiders enjoy dark, low-to-the-ground sort of places. They especially love to make their cobwebs between two objects,” she explained, adding that bugs and flies love the stink of outhouses and made their home in the privvy bowls.

“So putting your web there is excellent. So imagine this. It’s the 1950s. You’re a dude. You need to go number two. You make your way out to the outhouse. You sit down, and your junk hangs there.”

“And as it does, it hits the cobweb. And the usually non-aggressive black widow instinctually runs over and bites down on the new creature that has landed on its web.”

Since bathrooms began moving indoors, the problem (disproportionate targeting of men and penises) seems to have gone away. Their bites today are rarely fatal, with the majority resolving without treatment and others being treatable in hospitals. “

Need any more reasons to fear black widow spiders?

Related: How long do ants live?

Related: What do ants eat?

brown recluse spiders in Arkansas
Front close-up of a Brown Recluse spider. Photo credit:Shutterstock.com/Sari O’Neal.

Positively identifying brown recluse spiders in Arkansas.

Identifying brown recluse spiders in Arkansas begins by considering where you have found the spider in question.

Brown recluse spiders (Loxosceles reclusa) are commonly found in the Southern Central and Midwestern states. Sure, you could be looking at a traveler who has hitched a ride north, further east, or west. However, that spider is well outside its native territory. Indeed, it will never procreate enough to become an actual problem on the level of an infestation.

Traveling spiders (like the Hobo spider) sometimes enter and inhabit new regions. But the brown recluse spider won’t survive such migrations.

Brown recluse spiders: The eyes have it!

Adult brown recluse spiders in Arkansas are about the size of an American quarter (nearly an inch). Surprisingly, they are brown or tannish in color. Their abdomens and legs have no bands, mottling, stripes, or visible spines.

Don’t forget that they neither play violins or fiddles nor possess images of such musical instruments in markings or tattoos.

What sets the brown recluse spider in Arkansas apart from most other spiders you will encounter? First, they only have six eyes!

Retake a look at the close-up photo aboveYou’llll see that brown recluse spiders have a semi-circular eye arrangement (three sets of two), but most spiders have eight eyes. 

Okay, I’ll admit that counting the number of tiny eyes on an inch-long spider is difficult. And no one has a magnifying glass at home, which is readily available anymore. So grab that iPhone, snap a photo, and zoom in on the spider’s face.

The slanting legs of the brown recluse spider in Arkansas.

Brown recluse spiders are rather plain with uniformly tan or brown abdomens, but their legs (which lack spines, as noted above) are covered in fine hairs. In addition, these legs are slanted (hence the scientific name Loxosceles, meaning slanted legs in Latin).

Brown recluse soldiers in Arkansas do not walk funny; instead, the rest with their legs slanted.

tiger wolf spiders in Arkansas
Tiger wolf spider. Photo credit: Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren. License.

The Tiger wolf spider in Arkansas: Identification.

Parts of Arkansas are populated by the large and formidable Tiger wolf spider, measuring up to one inch in length. The Tiger wolf spider (Tigrosa aspersa) is a close relative of the much larger Tigrosa helluo.

The Tiger wolf spider is one species of wolf spider.

The stunning Tigrosa aspersa has a narrow, vibrant line of yellow hairs on its carapace near the eyes.

The males are much lighter in color than females and only have a light brown banding at the joints of their third and fourth pairs of legs.

triangulate cobweb spiders in Arkansas
Triangulate Cobweb Spider (Steatoda triangulosa) overwhelmed and paralyzed by solitary wasp species Trypoxylon figulus as prey for the larva. Shutterstock.com/Timelynx

The Triangulate cobweb spiders in Arkansas: Identification.

At first glance, this tiny Triangulate cobweb spider in Arkansas might be easily overlooked since it tends to build its cobwebs in dark corners of households and basements. Measuring only 1/8 – ¼ inch long, the cephalothorax is brownish-orange, while each of its yellow legs contains darker sections at their tips.

The abdomen has a finely pubescent texture with shades of brown and white, triangular spots along the mid-dorsal part, and irregular markings adorn the lateral area.

Triangulate cobweb spider: Habitat.

The Triangulate cobweb spider is abundant locally around houses in North America, spreading rapidly since its introduction. Although rare in South America, evidence of sightings has also been recorded there.

You’ll often find these brush-footed spiders (Theridiidae family) in urban environments, near human constructions, tucked away on walls’ dark corners, around windowsills, and beneath eaves. They weave irregular webs that they hang from as a trap for their victims, using the sharp bristles of their hind legs to ensnare them with sticky silk before finally biting down when the prey is stilled.

The Triangulate cobweb spider in Arkansas is a predator to be wary of, as it can often be found close to the brown recluse and common house spiders. Hiding out inside closets, crevices, and other nooks, this arachnid has been known to feast on ants, ticks, and pillbugs – not to mention its kind!

Rabid wolf spider in Arkansas
Texas rabid wolf spider. Isolated closeup. Rabidosa Rabida. Harmless hunting garden spider. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/Cathleen Wake Gorbatenko

Rabid wolf spiders in Arkansas: Description.

The Rabid wolf spider in Arkansas is a common Missouri wolf spider. It typically hides in leaf litter and sometimes gets into houses. Despite its scary name, the Rabid wolf spider (Rabidosa Rabida) is harmless to people and not rabid.

The Rabid wolf spider can easily be identified by the small white, eyebrow-like marks located behind their eyes. Additionally, if you look closely at the broad brown stripe that outlines its abdomen from top to bottom, you will find tiny whitish spots near where it meets the tan lines on either side of it – meaning this stripe is excellent in hue.

Resembling their fellow wolf spider brethren, these agile arachnids don’t spin webs but pursue their quarry like a wild canine – making them the wolves of the spider world.

Female Rabid wolf spiders in Arkansas are celebrated for their outstanding maternal care, which can be witnessed when they carry blue-grayish egg cases no bigger than a pea. If by chance, these mothers lose their bundles of joy, they will frantically look until it is located and then immediately rush away with them in tow. What’s more, after hatching, spiderlings stay close to mommy’s abdomen while being nurtured before venturing into the universe on their own.

Males of this species have the first pair of black or dark brown legs.

American nursery web spider
Top view of an American Nursery Web Spider (Pisaurina mira) stakes out on a yellow bloom. Raleigh, North Carolina. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/Samray

American Nursery Web spider in Arkansas: Identification.

The American nursery web spider, commonly known as the nursery web spider, is unique with its hard layer of carapace that provides outer protection for the cephalothorax (head and thorax combined). It also has a moderately long abdomen, typically less than twice the length compared to the carapace. What distinguishes it from other similar species, though, is its distinct straight anterior row of eyes.

American nursery web spiders in Arkansas have eight eyes, organized in two neat rows – four look at the front that make a straight line and four towards the back to form a U-shape. Again, this is an example of sexual dimorphism; male American nursery web spiders in Arkansas usually have longer legs and a more considerable leg length relative to their body size than female spiders.

The patterns on the abdomen can vary significantly between individuals – some may display very distinct dark median bands. In contrast, others will feature only indistinct median bands with lateral spots arranged in two rows.

American nursery web spiders in Arkansas: Habitat and range.

The American Nursery Web Spider in Arkansas, a wandering hunter encountered across North America, thrives in tall grasses, shrubs, and bushes. This provides them with ideal hunting grounds – waiting patiently for prey to come within their reach before attacking with powerful pincers – and ensures they are well-populated in transitional areas between woods and fields. Moreover, the American nursery web spider is primarily seen throughout meadows and woodlands.

The home range of American nursery web spiders covers eastern North America from Ontario and Quebec in the north to central Florida and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Their habitat stretches westward as far as Minnesota, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

cellar spiders in Arkansas
Pholcid spider, a spider with very long legs, Daddy long-legs. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/Matauw.

Cellar spiders in Arkansas: Identification.

Cellar spiders in Arkansas range from less than a 1/10th of an inch to 2/5ths of an inch in length. They have peanut-shaped bodies and oversized leg lengths, with some cellar spiders having long spans of nearly two inches.

The length of their legs is one key identifier; most cellar spiders have legs four times as big as their bodies. The other identifier is the body width being three times as wide as long.

They have eight eyes (grouped as two laterals of three and two smaller eyes whose borders touch each other. Cellar spiders have bodies that are colored gray, pale yellow, and brown and sometimes even appear as clear —with chevron marking.

Cellar spiders are found in every country and continent except Antarctica. 

Related: How to identify the Brazilian wandering spider.

Cellar spider webs.

Cellar spiders make unsophisticated and unusual webs for a spider. 

Like black widow spiders, they wait for their prey while hanging upside down. When prey is detected, cellar spiders vibrate their webs with their bodies, and this helps further entangle any insects caught in it. 

When cellar spider bite, they inject a toxic venom (though it cannot harm a human) that is legendarily thought to be the most potent venom in the spider kingdom. This legend has yet to be scientifically proven.

Cellar spiders in Arkansas do not repair, clean, or remake their webs. Instead, they build additional layers on existing webs. This habit may save them time and energy, but in your home or barn, it quickly makes the web of a cellar spider conspicuous.

bold jumping spiders in Arkansas
Bold jumping spider. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/Safwan Rozi

Bold jumping spiders in Arkansas.

Bold Jumping spiders (Phidippus audax) are a member of the genus Phidippus. Notable features include their big eyes and iridescent chelicerae. All jumping spiders employ stereoscopic vision for hunting prey and communicating with potential partners during mating rituals.

Native to North America yet found in Hawaii, the Nicobar Islands, the Azores, and The Netherlands; these black arachnids are identifiable by the white triangle on their abdomen.

Bold Jumping Spiders in Arkansas are solitary hunters that rely on their impressive eyesight to track, capture and devour a range of arthropods, including caterpillars, dragonflies, and grasshoppers. It is common in agricultural areas and has also been studied to ascertain its influence on crop pest numbers. In contrast with most spiders constructing webs for prey-catching purposes, bold jumping actively hunts down their victims!

These spiders can be found in temperate climates in various terrestrial habitats, including grasslands, chaparrals, open woodlands, and agricultural fields. The bold Jumping spider is one of the most commonly occurring spider species within its range and is often found near humans. Bites from Phidippus audax are rare but may occur if they feel threatened or are mishandled. They are generally harmless, but victims must wash the area with water and mild soap if bitten.

Bold jumping spider in Arkansas: Description.

Bold jumping spiders in Arkansas are unmistakable creatures – females reach up to .6 inches in body length, whereas the males strand an oval abdomen, making them easy to spot!

The Bold jumping can easily be identified by its white triangular mark in the center of its back, accompanied by two more minor spots beneath it. Its upper abdomen is also marked with a distinct lateral white band that distinguishes this species.

However, what stands out most about these creatures are their tremendous and powerful legs: males have distinctive fringes on their legs and pedipalp, while females boast a longer fourth pair of legs than those found on male specimens.

The chelicerae of adult males glisten emerald green and boast spectacular markings and tufts of fur over the eyes, whereas spiderlings’ chelicerae display orange hues that gradually lighten with age. Furthermore, Bold jumping spiders in Arkansas come in various sizes and colors depending on their habitat location.

Spotted Orb Weavers in Arkansas
Close-up photo of bristly and corpulent orange and attractive, Spotted Orb Weaver spider (Neoscona crucifera) plying its trade by sucking on its most recent victim in its web. Photo credit: Shuitterstock.com/HM Thompson

Spotted orb weavers in Arkansas.

The Spotted orb weaver (Neoscona crucifera) is a captivating arachnid in the Araneidae family, found from Maine to Florida on the East Coast and Minnesota in Midwest America, reaching down to Arizona and southern California.

The Spotted orb-weaver spider in Arkansas also has two common names: Hentz orb weaver or barn spider – although this latter name can sometimes be misused for another type of creature called Araneus cavaticus.

Spotted orb weaver: Description.

Typically active at night, female Spotted orb weaver spiders may switch to a daily schedule in the fall. Females range between 0.35–0.75 inches long, while males are smaller in size.

The top of their abdomens is brown and hairy with alternating light and dark brown stripes on their legs; meanwhile, the underside displays two white spots against a black background.

The Spotted orb weaver in Arkansas boasts a wide array of colors and patterns but most typically displays rusty red or golden orange. Their webs are incredibly giant in circumference, often erected on artificial structures like buildings several feet above the ground level, particularly around outdoor light.

Southern house spiders in Arkansas
Southern House Spider of the species Kukulcania hibernalis. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/Vinicius R. Souza

Southern house spiders in Arkansas: Description.

Kukulcania hibernalis, the southern house spider, is a large arachnid species found in many regions across America. It was formerly known as Filistata hibernalis and exhibited striking sexual dimorphism.

This remarkable creature dwells from the southeastern USA to Central American countries and islands in the Caribbean, all the way down south to Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay.

Male southern house spiders in Arkansas may be confused with brown recluses due to their similar physical traits. But compared to the latter, these arachnids are typically larger and lack the telltale violin-shaped cephalothorax of a brown recluse. Plus, they possess unusually elongated pedipalps for added distinction.

Females can range from dark brown to black and are typically small. Males grow up to two inches across with longer legs, while their counterparts tend to have more pronounced bodies that appear velvety light gray due to fine-textured hair on the abdomen.

Southern house spiders: Web.

Female southern house spiders in Arkansas are not usually seen, as they construct radial webs around tiny crevices – a phenomenon that has earned their family (Filistatidae) the unique moniker of ‘crevice weavers.’ Females rarely move unless to seize insects stuck in their webs. Conversely, males typically roam in search of bugs and mates without any particular area.

The southern house spider in Arkansas is an extraordinary cribellate spider, meaning its spinnerets do not spin adhesive webbing. Instead, it utilizes its legs to comb a fuzzy and tangled netting from the cribellum – a spiked plate close to the body’s spinnerets- to ensnare insect legs and capture prey. This velcro-like material catches their feet before they can break free!

Carolina wolf spiders in Arkansas
Giant Carolina wolf spider. Shutterstock.com/Nick626

Wolf spiders (Lycosidae), such as the Carolina wolf spider (Hogna carolinensis), are robust and agile hunters who do not spin webs but chase down their prey.

The Carolina wolf spider in Arkansas.

The Hogna carolinensis, or Carolina wolf spider, is one of the largest wolf spiders in Kansas and the eastern United States. With a body length of up to 1.5 inches and an impressive leg span extending up to 3 inches, this robust hunter doesn’t need webs for survival – its agility allows it to chase down its prey simply.

These wolf spiders in Virginia are typically brown or grey, with a mottled or striped pattern on their abdomen. They reside in various habitats, including forests, grasslands, and urban areas. The Carolina wolf spider is not dangerous, as it will only bite if it feels threatened. However, their large size and sometimes rapid movements can intimidate some people.

dark fishing spiders in Arkansas
Fishing spider with egg sac.

Dark Fishing spider: Description.

The dark fishing spider in Arkansas is typically brown with three visible black W-shaped marks, each ending in a lighter brown mark and strips on its legs. Females’ bodies are .6 to .9 inches long, and their leg span ranges from 2 to 3.5 inches.

Brown and black rings band on the third segment of the legs, and reddish-brown and black bands are on the fifth.

Unlike most spiders, dark fishing spiders hold their legs straight out. In addition, dark fishing spiders have eight eyes arranged in two rows of four each, but the wolf spiders are often mistaken for their set in three rows, with the largest eyes in the middle row.

The Dark fishing spider (Dolomedes tenebrosus) can be told apart from the Striped fishing spider (Dolomites scriptus) by the Striped fishing spiders’ unbroken white borders around their W-shaped markings. 

Dark Fishing spiders in Arkansas: Habitat.

Dark fishing spiders occur from southern Florida to southern Canada and the Dakota east to Texas and Florida. Although they are in the Dolomedes family, this species does not spend much time around water. Instead, the dark fishing spider prefers to hunt and shelter in vegetation, shrubs, and rocks near the water.

Dark fishing spiders in Arkansas actively hunt at night and spend the day sheltering in dark cracks and corners, in stumps, or under logs.

When dark fishing spiders are near the water, they can pursue prey by running on top of the surface of the water and even take temporary refuge from a threat by diving under it.

Further recommended reading about spiders.

Spider pages: Learn how to identify and avoid these spiders.

Can house spiders hurt you? Are house spiders Venomous?

Do Spiders Sleep? Do They Dream like Humans?

Tiger wolf spider.

Cross orb-weaver spider.

Hump-backed orb weaver.

Triangulate cobweb spider.

Carolina wolf spiders.

Striped fishing spiders.

White-Jawed jumping spiders.

Black lace-weaver spiders.

Black Spiders: How to identify them.

Long-Palped ant-mimic sac spider.

Peppered jumping spiders.

Spotted ground swift spider.

Spinybacked orb weavers.

Parson spiders.

White spiders.

Striped spider in the U.S.

How long do spiders live?

Spider anatomy 101.

The most venomous spiders in the world.

Zebra spiders.

Furrow orb weaver spider.

Marbled orb weaver spiders.

Red house spider identification.

Purse web spider.

Crab spider: How to identify.

Orb weaver Spiders: How to identify and get rid of them.

Common house spiders: How to Identify and get rid of them.

Dark fishing spiders.

Six-Eyed Sand Spider: Is the White Sand Spider Dangerous?

10 biggest spiders in the world.

The Red widow spider

Giant Huntsman Spider: How to Identify the Largest Spider

Brazilian salmon pink bird-eating tarantula

Brazilian Giant Tawny Red Tarantula

Colombian Giant Redleg Tarantula

Cerbalus Aravaensis: Middle East’s Largest Spider

Camel spiders: Myths and Facts.

Net-casting spiders: How to identify these spiders.

White-tailed spider: How to identify and manage.

Katipo Spider: How to identify New Zealand’s venomous spider

Brown widow spider: How to identify and avoid the false widow.

Redback spiders how to identify them and prevent bites

Funnel weaver spiders vs funnel-web

Cellar spiders how to identify and get rid of them

How to identify the wolf spider

How to identify the hobo spider

Brazilian wandering spider how to identify and avoid

Huntsman spider how to identify the eight legged freak

Jumping spiders how to identify these harmless hunters

Black widow spiders how to identify and avoid

Tarantulas appearance diet and mating

Do tarantulas bite?

Brown recluse spiders how to identify and avoid

Dennis V. Gilmore Jr.

Dennis V. Gilmore Jr. is a former Marine Sergeant and the author of several books, including two on night hunting coyotes and red and gray fox. He has written several hundred articles on predator hunting for ThePredatorHunter.com.

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