Montana Spiders

Of the 39 species found in our database, the following are established in Montana. Our current understanding of each spider's distribution is drawn from numerous scientific publications and online spider submissions in order to be as accurate as possible. It is important to remember that spiders are not bound by the territorial lines decided on by humans, therefore their distribution is subject to change. Occasionally, spiders can be found well outside of their known range due to being intentionally or accidentally transported by humans in cars, luggage, and other belongings.

Species Found in Montana

Male Adult Male
Male Agelenopsis spp. spider
Female Adult Female
Female Agelenopsis spp. spider

Agelenopsis spp.
(Grass Spiders)

Summary

“Grass Spiders” are represented by 13 species collectively found throughout most of the U.S. and southern Canada, and northern Mexico. Like all members of the funnel weaver family Agelenidae, they spin dense, non-sticky, sheet-like webs with a funnel-like retreat where the spider hides.

Male Adult Male
Male Araneus diadematus spider
Female Adult Female
Female Araneus diadematus spider

Araneus diadematus
(Cross Orbweaver)

Summary

This spider is named for the pattern of white spots on the abdomen that form a cross in most specimens. Native to Europe, it was introduced to North America long ago. It spins the classic wheel-like orb web, usually sitting head-down in the hub (center), at night as well as during the day.

Male Adult Male
Male Argiope aurantia spider
Female Adult Female
Female Argiope aurantia spider

Argiope aurantia
(Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

Summary

Mature females are enormous, their bold black-and-yellow pattern adding to their intimidating appearance. Common in gardens, orchards, forest edges, old fields, and farms, they spin a classic round orb web which is usually decorated with a bold, zigzag band of silk called a stabilimentum.

Male Adult Male
Male Argiope trifasciata spider
Female Adult Female
Female Argiope trifasciata spider

Argiope trifasciata
(Banded Garden Spider)

Summary

Females are large, silvery spiders with legs banded in black and yellow. Look for this species in late summer and fall in fields, prairies, gardens, and meadows. The circular webs are built close to the ground amid tall grasses and weeds, often with a zigzag band of silk running through the center.

Male Adult Male
Male Castianeira longipalpa spider
Female Adult Female
Female Castianeira longipalpa spider

Castianeira longipalpa
(Ant Mimic Spider)

Summary

This strikingly patterned species is a wandering hunter, often catching prey at night as well as during the day. They live close to the ground, under rocks and logs or in leaf litter, but are also occasionally found on (or in) buildings. Their movements are often ant-like, earning them the nickname “antmimic.”

Male Adult Male
Male Cheiracanthium mildei spider
Female Adult Female
Female Cheiracanthium mildei spider

Cheiracanthium mildei
(Longlegged Sac Spider)

Summary

“Longlegged Sac Spiders” are pale green, tan, or yellow nocturnal hunting spiders with very long front legs. Native to southern Europe, this spider has made its way into North America, where it is now fairly widespread. It is commonly found indoors, where it prowls walls and ceilings at night, looking for prey or mates.

Male Adult Male
Male Dolomedes triton spider
Female Adult Female
Female Dolomedes triton spider

Dolomedes triton
(Six-spotted Fishing Spider)

Summary

A large and strong hunting spider, this species is more closely associated with water than any of the other Nearctic fishing spiders. Find it among aquatic vegetation at the margins of streams and rivers, as well as floating around in lakes and residential pools. It eats aquatic insects, small fish, or even small amphibians!

Male Adult Male
Male Eratigena agrestis spider
Female Adult Female
Female Eratigena agrestis spider

Eratigena agrestis
(Hobo Spider)

Summary

The “Hobo Spider” builds a funnel-shaped web on or near the ground, usually under stones and other low-lying debris. It is especially common near man-made structures here in North America, but is more of a field spider in its native Europe. Recent research has shown that it may not be a spider of medical concern as was once thought.

Male Adult Male
Male Herpyllus ecclesiasticus spider
Female Adult Female
Female Herpyllus ecclesiasticus spider

Herpyllus ecclesiasticus
(Eastern Parson Spider)

Summary

This a hunting spider that does not spin a web to capture prey. It gets its common name from the black and white color pattern reminiscent of the garb worn by old-time clergymen. Common east of the Rocky Mountains, it sometimes strays indoors in the course of prowling for a meal or seeking a mate.

Male Adult Male
Male Hogna carolinensis spider
Female Adult Female
Female Hogna carolinensis spider

Hogna carolinensis
(Carolina Wolf Spider)

Summary

This species is the largest “wolf spider” in North America. Females reach 22-35 millimeters in body length. Their legspan is greater still. This spider may hunt actively at night, or wait in ambush at the mouth of its burrow, where it hides during the day. Adult males may wander indoors during mating season.

Male Adult Male
Male Misumena vatia spider
Female Adult Female
Female Misumena vatia spider

Misumena vatia
(Goldenrod Crab Spider)

Summary

This spider is an ambush hunter, lying patiently in wait on flowers for an insect to come within striking range. Adult females may be overall yellow or white, with the ability to change back and forth. This species can conquer surprisingly large prey like bees and butterflies.

Male Adult Male
Male Misumenoides formosipes spider
Female Adult Female
Female Misumenoides formosipes spider

Misumenoides formosipes
(Whitebanded Crab Spider)

Summary

This spider waits in ambush on flowers for visiting insects to come within range, seizing a victim in the embrace of its first two pairs of legs. Adult females can change from white to yellow and vice versa, though the change takes some time. Males are very small and strikingly different than females.

Male Adult Male
Male Parasteatoda tepidariorum spider
Female Adult Female
Female Parasteatoda tepidariorum spider

Parasteatoda tepidariorum
(Common House Spider)

Summary

This species is abundant and widespread across the entire world, and is closely associated with buildings and other man-made structures. The teardrop-shaped, papery brown egg sacs can aid in their identification. The spider’s color and body shape cause them to be mistaken for “brown widows” on occasion.

Male Adult Male
Male Phidippus audax spider
Female Adult Female
Female Phidippus audax spider

Phidippus audax
(Bold Jumper)

Summary

The “Bold Jumper” is one of the largest and most common species of jumping spider in North America. The spider is mostly black with a conspicuous white, orange, or red triangular patch in the center of its abdomen. Take a close look at this spider’s chelicerae (jaws), as they have a gorgeous, iridescent sheen to them and come in a variety of colors!

Male Adult Male
Male Pholcus phalangioides spider
Female Adult Female
Female Pholcus phalangioides spider

Pholcus phalangioides
(Longbodied Cellar Spider)

Summary

The Longbodied Cellar Spider is thought to be native to Europe, but can be found globally after having traveled nearly everywhere as a stowaway in commerce. Their long, thin legs and elongated abdomen make them relatively easy to identify. Find them on ceilings, in basements, storage sheds, old wells, caves, and other dry locations with low light.

Male Adult Male
Male Salticus scenicus spider
Female Adult Female
Female Salticus scenicus spider

Salticus scenicus
(Zebra Jumper)

Summary

The zebra-like color pattern makes this species one of the easier jumping spiders to identify in the field. It is most common around urban and suburban areas where it hunts by day on fences, rock walls, the exterior of buildings, and similar situations. Thought to be native to Europe, it is also now established in the U.S., southern Canada, and Asia.

Male Adult Male
Male Tegenaria domestica spider
Female Adult Female
Female Tegenaria domestica spider

Tegenaria domestica
(Barn Funnel Weaver)

Summary

Today, this species occurs nearly everywhere people live, having spread with international commerce. The sheet-like webs of this spider are conspicuous in dark corners of barns, cellars, sheds, garages, cabins, and other man-made structures. Adult males frequently get caught in bathtubs or sinks at night.

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