Home » 39 Spiders in Massachusetts (Pictures and Identification)

39 Spiders in Massachusetts (Pictures and Identification)

Spiders in Massachusetts weave a delicate web of diversity, their presence spanning from urban settings to lush woodlands. These spiders in Massachusetts, hold a significant ecological role, preying on pests and contributing to ecosystem balance.

Whether it’s the orb-weaving marvels or the agile hunters, spiders in Massachusetts exhibit a remarkable array of adaptations. Understanding spiders in Massachusetts not only unveils their fascinating behaviors but also deepens our appreciation for the intricate web of life they inhabit.

Different Types of Spiders in Massachusetts

Long-Bodied Cellar Spider

Spiders In Massachusetts

The long-bodied cellar spider, scientifically known as Pholcus phalangioides, is characterized by its brown coloration and elongated, thin legs. Typically found in warm, humid environments like cellars, it plays a vital role in controlling spider populations by preying on other species, including redbacks.

Additionally, the silk produced by this spider contains antimicrobial biomolecules, some of which are utilized in biomedical research to combat pathogens like E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus, imparting medical significance to this species in Massachusetts.

Brown Widow

Spiders In Massachusetts

The brown widow, scientifically known as Latrodectus geometricus, is identifiable by its brown and yellow coloring and the distinctive red hourglass mark on its body. While not as dangerous as black widows, its venom can cause severe pain and may require hospitalization. Antivenin is available but can lead to allergic reactions, as it’s derived from horse antibodies. Brown widow sightings have been reported in Massachusetts, warranting caution around this venomous species.

Woodlouse Spider

Spiders In Massachusetts

The woodlouse spider, scientifically named Dysdera crocata, is specialized in preying on woodlice, commonly found under rotting wood or in garages. It targets the woodlice’s abdomen, bypassing its protective chemicals. Despite aggressive behavior toward humans, their non-venomous bites pose minimal threat.

Additionally, they exhibit aggression during mating, risking injuries. Also known as sowbug hunters or slater spiders, they play a significant role in controlling woodlice populations in their habitats.

Zebra Jumping Spider

Spiders In Massachusetts

The zebra jumping spider, scientifically named Salticus scenicus, is easily identifiable by its black and white striped body and legs, resembling a zebra. Typically reaching about 8 mm in size, it employs stealthy hunting tactics similar to cats, approaching prey quietly before leaping with surprise. Arthropods and small spiders comprise its diet. Common throughout the state, this spider plays a significant role in controlling insect populations in its habitat.

Dark Fishing Spider

Spiders In Massachusetts

The dark fishing spider, scientifically known as Dolomedes tenebrosus, boasts a large body and nearly straight legs, making it highly agile both near water and on land. With its hairy body aiding navigation on water surfaces, it preys on small fish and mosquitoes. Often mistaken for wolf spiders, it can be distinguished by the W-shaped black markings on its lower body and legs. Misidentification occurs due to its tendency to wander far from water sources.

Spotted Orbweaver

Spiders In Massachusetts

The spotted orbweaver, scientifically termed Neoscona crucifera, is recognized by its brown, gray, and black coloring, often found near human habitats. Commonly known as the barn spider, it weaves webs around man-made structures like barns and garages. Their size varies based on food availability, ranging from 9mm to 19mm. Females lay up to 1,000 eggs at once and can adapt their activity patterns, turning diurnal after mating in the fall to find food.

Cross Orbweaver

Spiders In Massachusetts

The cross orb weaver, scientifically known as Araneus diadematus, is commonly called the pumpkin spider. Recognizable by its dark brown to gray color and large size (up to 20 mm), it creates characteristic orbweave webs. Known for their cannibalistic tendencies, females often attempt to eat males after mating, especially larger or more experienced ones. For defense, it vibrates its web rapidly to become less visible and deter predators.

Dimorphic Jumping Spider

Spiders In Massachusetts

The dimorphic jumping spider, scientifically known as Maevia inclemens, is notable for its unique mating behavior and appearance. Growing up to 8 mm, it typically has a black body with pale brown legs. Males exhibit varied courtship behaviors, including dancing to impress females. Males create a small web, ejaculate on it, and then seek out a female to mate with. This web later serves as the breeding ground for the female’s eggs.

Eastern Parson Spider

Spiders In Massachusetts

The eastern parson spider, scientifically named Herpyllus ecclesiasticus, earns its moniker from its appearance resembling clergy attire. Active primarily at night, this black spider roams walls and vertical surfaces in search of prey, eschewing web-spinning behavior.

Though its bite is not venomous, it can induce allergic reactions, especially in vulnerable groups like children and adults. Encounters with humans typically occur when the spider becomes trapped in clothing or shoes, as it often inhabits households in pursuit of common household insects.

Northern Yellow Sac Spider

Spiders In Massachusetts

The northern yellow sac spider, scientifically known as Cheiracanthium mildei, is identifiable by its pale yellow or green hue with brown palpi. Frequently encountered around households, distinguishing the Northern variant from other yellow sac spiders poses challenges due to their wide distribution. While some studies suggest its venom may pose a threat to humans, others classify it as non-dangerous. Nevertheless, bites from this spider can cause localized pain in the affected area.

Flea Jumping Spider

Spiders In Massachusetts

The flea jumping spider, scientifically named Naphrys pulex, is a favored pet due to its friendly demeanor and non-reactive nature. Renowned for its exceptional hunting skills, it preys on insects, including grasshoppers, with remarkable accuracy. Sporting a furry appearance, this spider boasts excellent vision and can jump up to 8 times its body length, making it one of the most agile jumpers in the region. While producing venom, it poses no danger to humans.

Spined Micrathena

Spiders In Massachusetts

The spined Micrathena, scientifically named Micrathena gracilis, is an active species with a lifespan of up to a year, females typically outliving males. Known for its spiky body, this spider navigates its bulbous form with ease. It constructs webs in new locations weekly, consolidating them daily around its central area of activity. Common in woodlands, areas abundant with vegetation, and around oak trees, the spined Micrathena contributes to the ecosystem as an efficient predator.

Northern Black Widow

Spiders In Massachusetts

The northern black widow spider, scientifically named Latrodectus variolus, belongs to the same genus as the southern and western black widows. Venomous in nature, its bites necessitate prompt medical treatment due to the potency of its venom, which carries approximately 0.254 mg.

Fortunately, antivenin has been available for northern black widow bites for several years, providing effective treatment options unlike its southern counterpart. Recognizable by its black coloration and red hourglass marking, it’s important to exercise caution around this spider species.

False Black Widow

Spiders In Massachusetts

The false black widow, scientifically known as Steatoda grossa, resembles the black widow but lacks the iconic red hourglass marking. With a dark-colored body featuring brown nuances, it’s often referred to as the Cupboard Spider due to its common habitat. While its venom is painful and can cause muscle spasms, fever, and excessive sweating, it’s not as potent as that of the black widow. Latrodectus antivenin is administered for severe reactions to its bite.

Triangulate Combfoot

Spiders In Massachusetts

The Triangulate Combfoot spider, scientifically named Steatoda triangulosa, earns its nickname “Cupboard spider” from its tendency to weave webs in dark, secluded places like cupboards. Sporting a dark brown body with triangular markings on the abdomen, it reaches up to 6 mm in length as an adult female. Found near homes, it preys on arthropods, ants, and ticks. Unlike other species, females lay only around 30 eggs, resulting in reduced mating outcomes.

Filmy Dome Spider

Spiders In Massachusetts

The filmy dome spider, scientifically named Neriene radiata, constructs distinctive dome-shaped webs. Hanging upside down from these webs, it awaits prey. Recognizable by its pale brown body, thin long legs, and white markings resembling those of the Orchard Orbweaver, it’s easily identified. This sheet-weaving spider’s unique web architecture sets it apart, making it a fascinating species to observe in its natural habitat.

Goldenrod Crab Spider

Spiders In Massachusetts

The goldenrod crab spider, scientifically named Misumena vatia, showcases a yellow body that can adapt its coloration. This helps it blend seamlessly into flowers, where it awaits unsuspecting prey attracted by pollination. As a carnivore, it feasts on a diverse array of insects, including flies, bees, bumblebees, dragonflies, honeybees, and moths. While beneficial for natural flower pollination, its presence can pose challenges for honey production, demonstrating its complex role in ecosystem dynamics.

Six-Spotted Fishing Spider

Spiders In Massachusetts

The six-spotted fishing spider, scientifically named Dolomedes triton, sports a dark hue adorned with white-cream lines along its body, facilitating easy recognition. Typically found near water bodies like lakes, rivers, and streams, it’s adept at hunting smaller fish. Surprisingly agile, it can even tackle prey larger than itself. Utilizing surface-level water movements and keen vision, it employs various hunting strategies to secure its next meal, showcasing its adaptability and predatory prowess.

White-Jawed Jumping Spider

Spiders In Massachusetts

The white-jawed jumping spider, scientifically named Hentzia mitrata, features a pale brown body with distinct white front legs adorned with small hairs. As a member of the Salticidae family, it is a jumping spider renowned for its agility. Typically found on leaves, shrubs, and flowers, it hunts prey using its excellent jumping ability to pounce directly on insects. This small spider plays a significant role in controlling insect populations in its habitat.

Bronze Jumping Spider

Spiders In Massachusetts

The bronze jumping spider, scientifically named Eris militaris, is among the smallest jumping spiders, ranging from 4 to 7 mm in size. Recognizable by its dark body adorned with bronze-colored hairs, it’s commonly found on tree bark in suburban and residential areas. While not venomous, it displays aggression towards humans, and bites can be painful. Even in captivity, these spiders may bite when provoked, highlighting their defensive nature despite their harmless venom.

Black-Palped Jumping Spider

Spiders In Massachusetts

The black-palped jumping spider, scientifically known as Pseudeuophrys erratica, belongs to the Salticidae family, the largest group of spiders. Recognizable by its dark body adorned with golden-brown hairs, it has short, thick legs characteristic of jumping spiders. Commonly found around buildings in Massachusetts, it preys on household insects. Its widespread distribution makes it a familiar sight both in the state and globally, contributing to pest control in urban environments.

Asiatic Wall Jumping Spider

Spiders In Massachusetts

The Asiatic Wall Jumping Spider, scientifically termed Attulus fasciger, shares similarities with the Black-palped Jumping Spider and has been introduced to the US. Measuring just 3-4mm in length, with males smaller than females, it’s recognizable by its slender abdomen. Like its counterpart, it dwells near homes, particularly in residential areas, where it patiently waits on walls to ambush insects. Despite its diminutive size, it plays a significant role in controlling household pests.

Common White-Cheeked Jumping Spider

Spiders In Massachusetts

The common white-cheeked jumping spider, scientifically named Pelegrina proterva, measures between 3 and 4 mm, distinguishable by its dark brown body adorned with white stripes along the cephalothorax. Its yellow-golden hairs make it conspicuous among shrubs or around homes. Unlike other spiders of similar size, such as the black-palped jumping spider or the Asiatic wall jumping spider, its distinct markings aid in easy identification, facilitating recognition in its natural habitat.

Rabid Wolf Spider

Spiders In Massachusetts

The rabid wolf spider, scientifically named Rabidosa rabida, is a common nocturnal hunter in the US and Massachusetts. Unlike other spiders, it doesn’t spin webs; instead, it relies on ambushing prey at night. With a stripped body, it uses leaves for camouflage, especially when hunting insects. Often found on tree bark, its neutral body colors aid in blending with surroundings. Mating involves the male spider producing specific leg noises to court the female.

Banded Garden Spider

Spiders In Massachusetts

The banded garden spider, scientifically named Argiope trifasciata, showcases brown, black, and white colors on its legs and body. Typically found in gardens, particularly in tall grass, females construct large webs reaching up to 24 inches in diameter. Males often inhabit these webs as well. Positioned beneath the web, females await prey signaled by vibrations through the silk line connecting them to the web’s center. This species plays a vital role in garden pest control.

Marbled Orbweaver

Spiders In Massachusetts

The marbled orbweaver, scientifically known as Araneus marmoreus or pumpkin spider, is one of the largest garden spiders, with females reaching up to 20 mm in size. Recognizable by its round, bulbous body, it constructs vertically oriented webs in shrubs and trees. Connected to the web’s center by a thin silk line, females wait for prey signaled by vibrations. This species plays a significant role in controlling insect populations in garden ecosystems.

Tan Jumping Spider

Spiders In Massachusetts

The Tan Jumping Spider, scientific name Platycryptus undatus, is common in Massachusetts. Known for its tall, flattened body and distinctive abdominal markings, it blends well into mottled surfaces. Unafraid of humans, it often stays put when approached and can be held without trouble. While it rarely bites, its bites are defensive and harmless to humans.

Bold Jumping Spider

Spiders In Massachusetts

The female Bold Jumping Spider (Phidippus audax), also known as the daring jumping spider, is common in Massachusetts. It has a black body with white stripes and often orange or blue markings. Females are larger, averaging 11 mm in body length, compared to males at 8mm. Though not venomous or dangerous, its bite can cause pain. This spider is a proficient jumper and hunter, relying on its strong legs to pounce on prey rather than building webs.

American Nursery Web Spider

Spiders In Massachusetts

The American Nursery Web Spider (Pisaurina mira) is often mistaken for a Wolf spider. It has a brown body with yellow stripes and two rows of eyes. This hunting spider lives near water sources, frequently found in vegetation around woodlands or water. Known for its cannibalistic mating habits, the male restrains the female with silk to avoid being eaten post-mating. Females build protective webs for their eggs in thick vegetation.

Orchard Orbweaver

Spiders In Massachusetts

The orchard orbweaver, scientifically known as Leucauge venusta, thrives in woodlands and orchards. This spider features distinctive leafy green legs and a striped body, blending into green shrubs. Unlike the American Nursery Web Spider, it weaves intricate webs with a central hub of loops. Found at the web’s center, the orchard orbweaver uses its spinnerets to construct these webs in vegetation, making it easily identifiable in its natural habitat.

Common House Spider

Spiders In Massachusetts

The common house spider, scientifically known as Parasteatoda tepidariorum, thrives in human habitats. Identifiable by its small, round body and long legs, this spider builds intricate cobwebs to trap small insects and invertebrates. Uniquely, males and females can coexist peacefully on the same web. The common house spider relies on web vibrations to detect and capture its prey, showcasing its complex behavior and adaptability.

Yellow Garden Spider

Spiders In Massachusetts

The yellow garden spider, scientifically known as Argiope aurantia, is easily recognized by its striking black and yellow coloring. Found in gardens, females build distinctive zigzag-patterned webs to trap insects. Upon ensnaring prey, the spider injects paralyzing venom and wraps it in silk for later consumption. Though its venom has some medicinal uses, bites may require medical treatment, especially for children or the elderly.

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