Virginia Spiders

Of the 39 species found in our database, the following are established in Virginia. 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 Virginia

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 Amaurobius ferox spider
Female Adult Female
Female Amaurobius ferox spider

Amaurobius ferox
(Hacklemesh Weaver)

Summary

Native to Europe, it has become established in southeastern Canada and the eastern U.S., though is not limited to those regions. This robust spider is common in and around homes, but also lives under rocks, logs, in leaf litter, and other dark, humid places. Adult males are notorious for wandering in the spring.

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 tenebrosus spider
Female Adult Female
Female Dolomedes tenebrosus spider

Dolomedes tenebrosus
(Dark Fishing Spider)

Summary

These very large, sprawling arachnids are most often found on vertical surfaces: tree trunks, fence posts, bridge pilings, or the exterior walls of buildings, usually at night. There, they wait in ambush for large insects to come within striking distance. They do not spin webs to catch prey, but simply overpower their victims.

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 Dysdera crocata spider
Female Adult Female
Female Dysdera crocata spider

Dysdera crocata
(Woodlouse Hunter)

Summary

Native to Europe, and now widespread across the globe, this brightly colored spider is hard to miss. The long jaws and fangs are used to stab or turn over its prey: land isopods like sowbugs and roly-polies. This species does not spin a web, but hunts “on foot,” sometimes straying indoors.

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 Kukulcania hibernalis spider
Female Adult Female
Female Kukulcania hibernalis spider

Kukulcania hibernalis
(Southern House Spider)

Summary

This species is often associated with human habitations, spreading its web from cracks and crevices on the exterior of homes, barns, and other structures. Males are frequently mistaken for recluse spiders (genus Loxosceles). The females may live up to eight years.

Male Adult Male
Male Latrodectus mactans spider
Female Adult Female
Female Latrodectus mactans spider

Latrodectus mactans
(Southern Black Widow)

Summary

Mature females are black with a red hourglass on the belly, easily visible as the spider hangs upside down in its web at night. By day, they hide. Immature females have pale stripes and spots, gradually losing those markings as they age. These are shy spiders, and if you avoid placing your hands where you can’t see, bites are unlikely.

Male Adult Male
Male Leucauge venusta spider
Female Adult Female
Female Leucauge venusta spider

Leucauge venusta
(Orchard Orbweaver)

Summary

“Orchard Orbweavers” are brilliantly colored spiders with shimmering silver-white, green, and gold on their abdomens. The orb-shaped web is nearly horizontal and the spider hangs underneath it. It is a common and widespread species in eastern North America, as well as parts of California and Arizona.

Male Adult Male
Male Loxosceles reclusa spider
Female Adult Female
Female Loxosceles reclusa spider

Loxosceles reclusa
(Brown Recluse)

Summary

The “Brown Recluse” is one of the few species in North America whose venom is considered medically significant. It is very timid and non-aggressive and simple precautions can be taken to avoid bites. The eye arrangement is an important diagnostic feature.

Male Adult Male
Male Micrathena sagittata spider
Female Adult Female
Female Micrathena sagittata spider

Micrathena sagittata
(Arrowshaped Micrathena)

Summary

The “Arrowshaped Micrathena” is a unique little orbweaver found in the eastern U.S. west to Nebraska and Texas. The shape and coloration of the female make it easily identifiable. The orb web of this species is usually built in low bushes in open deciduous woodlands and along forest edges.

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 Neoscona crucifera spider
Female Adult Female
Female Neoscona crucifera spider

Neoscona crucifera
(Spotted Orbweaver)

Summary

This species is relatively variable in color and sometimes pattern, but is most commonly seen sporting a rusty-red or golden orange color. The orb-shaped web is very large and is often constructed on buildings and other man-made structures, especially near outdoor lights. This species is most conspicuous in late summer and early fall.

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 Peucetia viridans spider
Female Adult Female
Female Peucetia viridans spider

Peucetia viridans
(Green Lynx Spider)

Summary

This is a relatively large, bright green spider with long, spiny legs and lightning fast movements. They are typically spotted in shrubs and bushes during the day, where they are sit-and-wait predators. Incredibly, this spider is capable of “spitting” venom in self-defense.

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 Pisaurina mira spider
Female Adult Female
Female Pisaurina mira spider

Pisaurina mira
(Nursery Web Spider)

Summary

This is a large hunting spider that comes in a variety of color forms, sometimes making them more difficult to identify. It is a commonly seen species throughout the eastern United States and southeastern Canada. Females construct a nursery web and suspend their egg sac in it, guarding the babies that emerge.

Male Adult Male
Male Platycryptus undatus spider
Female Adult Female
Female Platycryptus undatus spider

Platycryptus undatus
(Tan Jumping Spider)

Summary

These jumping spiders are frequently seen patrolling the outer walls of buildings and other vertical surfaces, looking for bugs to pounce on. The mottled gray, black, and white scalloped pattern on their abdomen makes them one of the easier spiders to identify in the field.

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 Scytodes thoracica spider
Female Adult Female
Female Scytodes thoracica spider

Scytodes thoracica
(Spitting Spider)

Summary

This ornately-marked spider immobilizes its prey by spitting a mixture of silk, glue, and venom onto it. Watch for this slow-moving species leisurely walking the walls and ceilings at night. They are easily recognized by their dome-shaped carapace and thin, banded legs.

Male Adult Male
Male Steatoda grossa spider
Female Adult Female
Female Steatoda grossa spider

Steatoda grossa
(False Black Widow)

Summary

The “False Black Widow” belongs to the same family as true black widows, and is easily mistaken for its dangerous cousins. However, note that this spider does not have the red hourglass on the underside of the abdomen. It is common in buildings, but may live outdoors in sheltered spots such as wood piles, under bridges, or in rock walls.

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.

Male Adult Male
Male Trachelas tranquillus spider
Female Adult Female
Female Trachelas tranquillus spider

Trachelas tranquillus
(Broad-faced Sac Spider)

Summary

This species is a wandering hunter that may be encountered indoors on occasion and is often referred to as the “Broadfaced Sac Spider.” Normally lives in leaf litter, under bark, or in curled leaves, where it hides by day and emerges at night to prowl for insects. Often confused with the “Woodlouse Hunter,” but lacks the long jaws of that species.

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