While there are over 550 species of spiders in Connecticut, there are only two dangerous species (the brown recluse and the black widow). On rare occasions, they make their way here from their natural habitat; however, it is usually because they were transported there via crates, boxes, or ming from warmer climates.
The remaining spiders in Connecticut benefit the state’s ecology and are worth any effort you can make to tolerate their presence.
Black widow spiders in Connecticut.
Black widow spiders in Connecticut 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 Connecticut, 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 prevent 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 Connecticut: 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?
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Positively identifying brown recluse spiders in Connecticut.
Identifying brown recluse spiders in Connecticut 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 Connecticut 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 Connecticut apart from most other spiders you will encounter? First, they only have six eyes!
Retake a look at the close-up photo above. You’ll 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.
When you get to the hospital, you can use the picture to help diagnose why you are shrieking in agony and convulsing on their table. Just kidding, we’ll talk more about the bite of brown recluse spiders later.
The slanting legs of the brown recluse spider in Connecticut.
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 Connecticut do not walk funny; instead, the rest with their legs slanted.
Black Lace-weaver: Identification.
This species of black lace-weaver is distinctive for its size, with females ranging from .4–.6 inches in body length and males slightly smaller at .3-.4 inches. Presenting a dark color palette including black, brown, dark red, and tan tones, the abdomen has light yellow markings that resemble an eerie skull mask or ghoulish pattern.
The fascinating thing about this spider?
After hatching, the Black lace-weaver is a matriphagous species, meaning their offspring devour her in cannibalism.
Habitat and distribution of the Black Lace-weaver in Connecticut.
In springtime, adult males of the black lace-weaver species are likely to be discovered indoors while searching for a mate. But, conversely, adult females can be found inside or outside year round! These creatures generally favor dark and humid places like underneath logs, in cellars, and in crevices tucked away beneath stones or worn-out walls.
The majestic Black lace-weaver spider is native to Europe and can be found throughout the continent. Yet, it has been specifically introduced into North America, New Zealand, and some Eastern European countries such as Turkey. Unfortunately, it cannot survive in Northern Europe due to its frigid temperatures.
Cross orb-weaver spider in Connecticut: Identification.
The Cross orb-weaver spider in Connecticut (aka, European garden spider, diadem spider, orangie, cross spider, and crowned orb weaver, is scientifically classified as Araneus diadematus. However, it goes by other names, such as the pumpkin spider, although this can be confused with another species: Araneus marmoreus.
This particular type of orb-weaving arachnid is native to Europe but has spread its webby wings over to North America, where it now resides too!
Cross orb-weaver spiders in Connecticut vary significantly in color, from the faintest yellow to a deep grey. Uniquely though, all of them have white mottling on their backs with four or more segments that form a cross shape. In terms of length, adult females reach up to 0.8 inches while males grow as long as 0.5 inches – and what’s more, they can sometimes consume the male after mating!
The Cross orb-weaver spider is a shy creature that only bites people if they corner or threaten it. To protect itself, this spider will shake rapidly in its web until it becomes a blur – an action meant to confuse would-be predators.
Banded garden spider: Identification.
The banded garden spider (Agriope trifasciata) female may reach up to 1.0 inches in length, making them slightly smaller than the yellow garden spider. Its carapace is adorned with silvery hair. Its elongated oval abdomen tapers off at the posterior into a point without humps or notches like the yellow garden spider.
The background color on its abdomen is usually pale yellow/silver, along with multiple black lateral stripes for contrast. At the same time, their legs are also marked by lighter spots or bands among a paler hue of yellow.
Males of this species rarely exceed .2 inches in length, their abdomens a striking white. Immature banded garden spiders boast an almost entirely white dorsal surface to the abdomen. Furthermore, these arachnids’ egg sacs possess a similar texture and color as that of the yellow garden spider.
The Long-legged Sac Spider (Cheiracanthium mildei) hails from Cheiracanthiidae and is more famously known as the Northern Yellow Sac spider – a title it shares with many other spiders in its genus.
Long-Legged Sac Spiders in Connecticut: Description
Characterized by its paler green or tan hue, the Long-legged Sac spider in Connecticut has darker brown palpi and chelicerae, making it easily distinguishable from other spider species.
Generally measuring between 0.3-0.4 inches in length, the long-legged sac spider in Connecticut is equipped with double claws at the end of each leg, the front pair being notably more extended than the rest (up to two times as long).
The eyes of this spider contain a tapetum lucidum, which acts like a mirror to reflect light once illuminated. Unfortunately, the shape of the tapetum can’t form clear images; yet it may be beneficial for navigating by detecting polarized light from above. Thankfully, although these spiders can bite humans, their effects appear mild.
Striped fishing spiders (Dolomedes scriptus) are often called “writing” signing spiders because of the marking on their backs.
Striped fishing spiders in Connecticut: Description.
The striped fishing spider in Connecticut is among the eight species in the genus Dolomedes that inhabit North America, north of Mexico. This semiaquatic creature can be found on or near water and does not construct webs for itself like other spiders typically do. Its appearance can vary from brown to tan, grayish hues – sometimes with stripes, but often without them.
Those with a bold white or tanned stripe running down either side of the body are pretty noticeable, and it’s no different for striped fishing spiders. An intricate pattern can be seen on their abdomens, with dark W-shaped marks separated by white “Ws” between them. Atop the carapace (head) lies a clean line that runs all along its center – making these creatures awe-inspiring to behold!
Striped fishing spiders: Habitat.
The striped fishing spider is commonly found near any water body, especially in fast-flowing streams. It typically rests on the stream’s edge with its feet spread across the surface. Its specially adapted hairy legs allow it to move swiftly over land and water – so much so that it can quickly traverse a creek bank or sprint among rocks at a gravel bar.
Striped fishing spiders are savvy predators, controlling many small aquatic animals and insects. But, unfortunately, they are also easy prey to larger creatures such as fish, frogs, dragonfly nymphs, and birds – particularly their young ones. Thus these spiders must be ever-vigilant to survive!
The Dark Fishing spider (Dolomedes tenebrosus) is in the Family Pisauridae (nursery and fishing spiders) and the order Araneae, but it isn’t always found near water.
The dark fishing spider’s larger leg span (sometimes as much as 3.5 inches) and coloration often make it mistaken for a tarantula or a world spider. However, the bite of a dark fishing spider is not medically significant to humans.
Dark Fishing spider in Connecticut: Description.
The dark fishing spider in Connecticut 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: 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 Connecticut actively hunt at night and spend the day sheltering in dark cracks and corners, 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.
The six-spotted fishing spider (Dolomedes triton) is an aquatic arachnid in the Pisauridae family. Living primarily throughout North America, these critters thrive in wetland habitats such as ponds and lakes. They are often called dock spiders because they can quickly scurry away into boat docks’ crevices when disturbed or threatened.
Six-Spotted fishing spider in Connecticut: Description
Easily distinguished by its noticeable features, the spider has impressive size and distinctive markings. With a grey-to-brown body, eight eyes for optimal vision, and a white-to-cream-colored stripe along each side of the cephalothorax – this species is unmistakable.
Furthermore, many small light spots embellish the abdomen alongside delicate lines that trail down either side. When viewed from below, six dark spots are visible on the bottom of said cephalothorax – hence its popular name. Like most arachnids today, this specific type exhibits sexual dimorphism characteristics as well.
The female Six-spotted fishing spider in Connecticut is considerably more significant than the male, measuring around 2.5 inches in length, including legs; her body alone spans 0.6-0.8 inches, while the males only reach a maximum of 0.50 inches long when fully grown. Young spiders look similar to adults but are much smaller – they undergo several molts throughout their lifetime, which helps them grow and eventually become full-sized adults!
The Six-spotted fishing spider in Connecticut is remarkable in its distinct features and behavior – male specimens, for instance, can be identified by the rounded tibial apophysis, which extends past their tibia apex.
Meanwhile, females are distinguishable due to a specific pattern consisting of three pairs of dark sternal spots and several light spots on the abdominal dorsum; additionally, an anterior half within their epigynous area houses loose fertilization tubes alongside the seminal valve part of their copulatory apparatus.
Parson spiders in Connecticut.
Parson spiders in Connecticut, unlike their web-building counterparts, orb weavers, are ground spiders that seek out prey and hunt on the prowl. Usually active at night and taking shelter in leaves or underneath stones during the day, seventeen different genera can be found across America.
However, parson spiders in Connecticut are perhaps the most commonly encountered of all these species as they look for warm areas to hibernate come wintertime – often entering human dwellings!
Parson spiders: Identification.
Herpyllus ecclesiasticus, or the “parson spider,” is an aptly named arachnid distinguished by its abundant black and gray hairs that cover its body. Its chestnut-brown exoskeleton is visible on its legs, while a small white spot lies just above the spinnerets – resembling the cravat worn in centuries past. These spiders are tiny; females measure 1/3 to 1/5 inches long, whereas males average 6 millimeters.
Garden ghost spiders in Connecticut.
Native to the United States and Canada, the Garden Ghost spider, “Hibana gracilis,” commonly known as the garden ghost spider, is a ghost spider belonging to the Anyphaenidae family.
Garden Ghost Spider: Identification.
Garden Ghost Spiders in Connecticut boast an unmistakable appearance, boasting an oblong and pointed abdomen and a creamy-white body further accented by a pale brownish triangular abdominal stripe. Moreover, when viewed up close, the spiders reveal black spines on their eight long legs and two extended pedipalps resembling black boxing gloves – all of which render Garden Ghosts incredibly identifiable.
The small yellowish-white or pale brown-white spiders typically measure 0.15″ – 0.3″ long. Another identifiable feature of Garden ghost spiders in the family Anyphaenidaeis that the two central eyes on the bottom row are the smallest.
Easily identifiable, Connecticut’s whitish Garden ghost spider has a distinctly pointed abdomen and pale tan legs with black spines. Additionally, this arachnid species features two rows of four eyes for maximum visibility.
Furrow orb weaver spider in Connecticut: Description.
There are three species of furrow orb weaver spider in the United States. Larinioides corntus (Furrow orb weaver), Larinioides patagiatus (Dusty orb weaver), and Larinioides sericatus (Gray cross spider).
Furrow orb weaver spiders come with gray, red, olive, gray, or tan abdomens with inky, edged zigzag markings running down their lengths. These markings resemble a furrow or edges of a wavy leaf. The front two legs are longer than the rear legs, but all the legs are banded and have small spines on them.
Furrow web spiders can grow to have a body length of about 1/2 inch, not including the leg span.
Furrow orb weavers in Connecticut have exoskeletons that are dark brown, gray, or reddish and overspread with extremely fine hairs. Unlike other orb weavers, their abdomens are not dull looking but smooth and polished.
Unlike most other spiders, furrow orb weaver males are nearly the same size as females and have the same markings. As a result, furrow orb weavers in Connecticut can survive most winters and are often seen waiting in the middle of their webs.
Dimorphic jumping spiders in Connecticut: Description.
These variants employ contrasting courtship methods and appear differently – namely, the “tufted” form has a black body with three dark tufts across its head along with light-colored legs; conversely, the “gray” morph features an array of black and white stripes covering its entire body as well as orange palps in place of tufts.
Despite these considerable differences, each species makes up half of all adult males observed to be equally successful when mate-seeking. Furthermore, a female Maevia inclemens spider can measure anywhere from 0.25 to 0.30 inches long, while a male counterpart falls from 0.18 to 0.25 inches long.
The Dimorphic Jumping Spider in Connecticut is a dimorphic species aptly named for its two distinct forms. Males can be black with yellow legs, or tan splashed with red marks on the abdomen, while females share similar coloring to that of their male counterparts but in paler tones.
Spotted orb weaver in Connecticut: Description.
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.
This orb-weaver spider 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.
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 Connecticut 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 lights.
Bold jumping spiders in Connecticut.
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 Connecticut 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!
Bold jumping spider in Connecticut: Description.
Bold jumping spiders in Connecticut 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 Connecticut come in various sizes and colors depending on their habitat location.
Broad-faced sac spiders in Connecticut.
The Broad-faced sac spider (Trachelas tranquillus) is a species of spider with an expansive range, from New England down to Georgia and Alabama in the south and westward to Kansas and Minnesota.
During the day, Broad-faced sac spiders in Connecticut may be found wandering on foliage outdoors or hidden away within silken retreats they construct under leaf litter, stones, boards, or even windowsills and siding of buildings.
They tend to make appearances indoors during colder autumn months, but their presence does not necessarily indicate them establishing colonies inside homes.
Broad-faced sac spider: Description.
Female Broad-faced jumping sac spiders in Connecticut are typically .25 to .4 inches long, while their male counterparts usually never exceed .25 inches. The chelicerae and carapace have a reddish brown hue and feel hard to the touch; they also appear covered with tiny punctures.
Meanwhile, the abdomen displays an attractive pale yellow or light gray coloration, accented by the slightly darker dorsal stripe on its backside. Lastly, these arachnids possess eight legs: 4 of them (the front pair) being thicker and darker than the rest, who become increasingly thinner toward the last set that completes it all off.
Tigrosa helluo spiders in Connecticut.
The Tigrosa helluo in Connecticut, which can be called a wolf spider and was formerly referred to as Hogna helluo, is an arachnid that belongs to the Lycosidae family. Characteristics like dorsal color patterns, ecology preferences, and body structures have been studied extensively to differentiate it from other spiders in its class.
Tigrosa helluo: Identification.
Tigrosa helluo body lengths can vary significantly between males and females, ranging from 0.4 to 1.20 inches for females and 0.4 to 0.95 inches for males, respectively; however, the average size of Tigrosa helluo is considerably smaller than its close relative T aspersa at just under one inch in length (or precisely 0.7 inches).
Often mistaken for Pisaurina mira, the nursery web spider, Tigrosa helluo can be distinguished by its dark brown carapace featuring a conspicuous yellow stripe extending from the front eyes to the cephalothorax.
Beginning from their median eyes, a series of dimmer yellow stripes continues posteriorly. Furthermore, the bottom side of their abdomen is spotted with several black marks. The outlines found on the dorsal surface of both cephalothorax and abdomen resemble those seen in T. georgicola; however, Tigrosa helluo’s faint yellow lines do not reach as far back.
By observing the legs, you can easily distinguish between males and females of Tigrosa helluo. Males have yellow legs, free from banding or other markings; females’ legs are reddish-brown with no additional patterns visible. Another feature absent in T. georgicola that is present on this species’ abdomen is black spots – a trait not found in its sibling species!
Further recommended reading about spiders.
Spider pages: Learn how to identify and avoid these spiders.