Indiana is filled with lakes, fertile valleys, and caverns and caves, making it an ideal home for all kinds of wildlife. In fact, the Hoosier State is home to about 400 species of spiders. What kinds of spiders can you find in Indiana? These are 10 of the most common species.
10 Common spiders found in Indiana
The spiders you can spot in Indiana range in size, color and shape. While most spiders are harmless, there are a few spiders with dangerous bites. Read on to learn more about the arachnids you can find in this Midwestern state!
1. Black Lace-Weaver Spiders
Scientific Name: Amaurobius ferox
Even though these spiders are native to Turkey, they’re frequently spotted in Indiana. They’re drawn to dark places and prefer to make their homes in and outside man-made structures. Black lace-weaver spiders often make their way into garages, sheds, and basements, especially in the spring.
Female spiders are around the size of a quarter, but males are smaller. Most spiders are black, but some can be dark brown or even tan.
They have unusual markings on their backs that look a little like a mask or a skull. The spider gets its name from its web, which looks like it’s made out of lace.
2. Dark Fishing Spiders
Scientific Name: Dolomedes tenebrosus
Many fishing spiders are drawn to water, but you’re most likely to encounter this spider in wooded areas. Since it’s a large spider that tends to be black or brown, it’s sometimes mistaken for a wolf spider. Including their leg span, these spiders can measure up to 4 inches long!
Although dark fishing spiders can look a little intimidating, they’re not dangerous. While they occasionally bite humans, they’re not known to be aggressive, and bites generally aren’t more serious than a wasp or bee sting. These spiders are active hunters and like to pounce on their prey before they bite.
3. Brown Recluse Spiders
Scientific Name: Loxosceles reclusa
Most spiders in Indiana are harmless, but the brown recluse spider can be dangerous. While it rarely bites humans, its venom is potent and can cause serious reactions. It’s common to spot these spiders in the southern half of the state, but they’re rarely spotted in the north.
Brown recluses build their webs in a variety of locations, including woodpiles, sheds, and even in closets! When they wander inside of homes, they’re often drawn to cardboard boxes. Female spiders usually stay close to their webs, but male spiders will leave their webs to hunt at night.
4. American Grass Spiders
Scientific Name: Agelenopsis actuosa
These speedy spiders have excellent vision and are some of the fastest spiders in Indiana. Not only are they fast, but they can grow to be fairly large.
Many grass spiders have bodies that are around 19 mm long, and their legs can make them look even larger. Due to their size, people sometimes confuse them for wolf spiders.
Lots of spiders have sticky webs, but the grass spider’s web doesn’t have any adhesive properties. This means that the spiders have to run to catch prey.
They usually make their webs on open grass and wait for insects to approach. Once they catch prey, they can use venom to paralyze it until they’re ready to eat.
5. Orb-weaver Spiders
Scientific Name: Araneidae
You can find all kinds of orb-weaver spiders in Indiana, especially during the fall. Many species are bright and colorful, and they build spiral-shaped webs, which is where they get their names. Some of the more common species in the state include the cross orb-weaver and the furrow orb-weaver.
Typically, orb-weaver spiders are nocturnal, but you can still spot them during the day thanks to their large webs. It’s not unusual for spiders to build a new web every single day! At the end of the day, spiders will eat their old web and rest before they start spinning a new one.
6. Zebra Spiders
Scientific Name: Salticus scenicus
Zebra spiders get their name from their black and white stripes. While they’re frequently found in the trunks of trees, they also like to camp out along windowsills. Indiana is home to many jumping spiders, but the zebra spider is one of the most noticeable and frequently seen species.
These spiders aren’t afraid to feed on prey that’s much larger than them. Not only will they eat mosquitoes that are twice their size, but they’ll even feed on other spiders! Unlike many spiders, zebra spiders have great eyesight, allowing them to hunt from a distance before they pounce on their prey.
7. Common House Spiders
Scientific Name: Parasteatoda tepidariorum
True to its name, the common house spider is present in many Indiana homes. Some spiders will wander into homes accidentally, but this spider has a strong preference for man-made structures. Since it mostly feeds on insects and other spiders, it can actually be helpful to have one of these spiders in your home.
Many spiders are solitary, but male and female house spiders will build webs near each other and will sometimes share webs! These spiders are usually brown or tan and tend to be on the smaller side, typically measuring around a quarter of an inch. Males tend to be much smaller than females and are rarely seen.
8. Northern Yellow Sac Spiders
Scientific Name: Cheiracanthium mildei
This double-clawed spider is frequently seen in Indiana backyards and gardens. Not only are these spiders poisonous, but they have cytoxic venom.
This means that northern yellow sac spider bites can cause damage to cellular tissue. Thankfully, these spiders are nocturnal and aren’t aggressive towards humans.
Instead of weaving webs, these spiders build themselves silk sacs, which is where they spend their time during the day. Many spiders conceal these sacs under branches or pieces of bark. In the early fall, spiders may move into indoor structures so that they have some protection from the elements.
9. White-Jawed Jumping Spider
Scientific Name: Hentzia mitrata
This pale, hairy spider is very slow, which makes it easier to spot than a lot of other spiders that are frequently seen in Indiana. Even though they can’t move quickly, they can use their rear legs to make impressive jumps. They tend to be diurnal, which means they’re most active at dusk and dawn.
While these spiders do build webs, they don’t use these webs to catch prey. Instead, they’re active hunters that leap and ambush their prey.
When these spiders jump, they usually use a strand of silk as a tether so that they have protection from falls. If they do fall, they just climb back up the tether.
10. Long-bodied Cellar Spiders
Scientific Name: Pholcus phalangioides
True to its name, this long-legged spider is usually found in cellars and basements. It’s often referred to by the nickname, “Daddy Long legs,” but that name is also used to describe another type of arachnid. Most spiders are a neutral, but they can be light yellow, brown, or gray.
These spiders tend to build large, messy-looking webs, which can make them a nuisance. Not only do their webs take up a lot of space, but they like to layer webs on top of each other. When cellar spiders are distressed, they can pulse their body, which causes their webs to shake!