Alabama is home to over 1,000 species of spiders, but some are more common than others. While some people may find these eight-legged creatures creepy or scary, they are very helpful. Spiders are responsible for capturing hundreds of thousands of insects every day, which helps control the population of pesky insects. This article highlights some of the most common spiders you might find in Alabama.
10 Common Spiders in Alabama
1. Black Widow
Scientific Name: Latrodectus mactans
The black widow is one of the only venomous spiders in Alabama. Only the females have venom, making juveniles and males harmless. The females are shiny and black and have bulbous abdomens with a red hourglass shape on the underside of their bellies.
The males are significantly smaller than the females and are brown with orange or red markings on the top side of their abdomen. The male must escape the female after mating, or else she will eat him.
Female black widows are not typically aggressive but become more aggressive when protecting their eggs. If bitten by a female black widow, you should seek medical attention immediately.
2. Brown Recluse
Scientific Name: Loxosceles reclusa
Another type of venomous spider in Alabama is the brown recluse. As its name suggests, the brown recluse is both brown and reclusive. They are light brown in color and can be identified by a violin-shaped marking on their backs.
This species has a relatively small body and disproportionately long legs. The body of a brown recluse is typically half an inch in length or less, and with its legs fully extended, it can be about the size of a quarter.
Despite its size, a brown recluse bite can cause serious damage, so medical attention is suggested if you believe you have been bitten by one.
3. Yellow Sac Spider
Scientific Name: Cheiracanthium inclusum
This spider is yellowish in color and can grow up to 3/8 of an inch long with a leg span of up to one inch. These nocturnal spiders hide inside their silk tubes or sacs during the day. They build these silk sacs inside curled leaves, under logs, or inside houses where the wall and the ceiling meet.
These spiders have strong fangs and can puncture a person’s skin. Though no deaths have been attributed to a yellow sac spider’s bite, their bite can be painful and may cause issues that need medical attention.
4. Brown Widow
Scientific Name: Latrodectus geometricus
The female brown widow has the same tell-tale hourglass shape on its underbelly but is more orange than red. As the name suggests, the rest of the spider is brown instead of black. The female brown widow can grow up to ⅝ inches in length and is up to twice the size of the males.
Brown widows tend to reside in the dark corners of sheds or outhouses, outdoor furniture, potted plants, and other low-traffic areas. While the female brown widow is as toxic as its black widow cousin, it releases less venom when biting, making it slightly less dangerous.
5. Green Lynx Spider
Scientific Name: Peucetia viridans
The green lynx spider is commonly found in open fields in Alabama, especially those with tall grass. This spider is bright green with black bristly hairs on its legs.
The green lynx spider can jump significant distances to pounce on prey, much like its namesake, the lynx cat. While this species aggressively attacks its prey, it is not known to pose a threat to humans.
6. Emerald Jumping Spider
Scientific Name: Paraphidus aurantius
The emerald jumping spider gets its name from a flashy, emerald, green marking on the abdomen and cephalothorax of both males and females. While both sexes have this green marking, the males are black and white, and the females are brown and orange.
As the name suggests, this spider can jump up to six inches. It uses this jumping talent to pounce and catch prey.
7. Spinybacked Orbweaver
Scientific Name: Gasteracantha cancriformis
The spinybacked orbweaver has two characteristics that make it unique. The first is that its abdomen is wider than it is long, which is unusual for a spider. The second is its six spines along the back and sides of its abdomen.
This species can be white, yellow, orange, or red and typically has black legs and spots. The males are smaller than the females and only have four or five spines instead of six.
8. American House Spider
Scientific Name: Parasteatoda tepidariorum
American house spiders are commonly found in Alabama. These creatures have spindly legs and build wispy cobwebs. American house spiders can be found in windows, corners, and other undisturbed areas.
These small spiders are brown with white or black speckles on their bulbous abdomens. They are not aggressive and tend to keep to themselves.
9. Woodlouse Spider
Scientific Name: Dysdera crocata
The woodlouse spider gets its name from its primary food source, woodlice. They do not build webs but hunt their prey instead. These spiders have a yellowish-brown abdomen and a reddish-brown cephalothorax.
Females, measuring up to .6 inches, are slightly larger than males, which measure up to .4 inches. The woodlouse spider has a strong jaw capable of penetrating human skin, but they are not venomous to humans.
10. Carolina Wolf Spider
Scientific Name: Hogna carolinensis
Despite the name, the Carolina wolf spider is found throughout North America, including the state of Alabama. These large spiders can grow up to two inches in length and are brown or gray.
The female wolf spider first carries its egg sac around, and when the babies hatch, she carries them on her back until they can live on their own. Carolina wolf spiders are nocturnal, so they can usually be spotted hunting at night.
Rather than build webs, these spiders move very quickly to hunt and attack prey. Unlike some other spiders, Carolina wolf spiders are not very good climbers and tend to stay on the ground, living in burrows.