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11 Common Spiders in Iowa (Pictures)

Have you ever seen a spider in your home or while walking around the gardens and woods of Iowa and wondered what it was? There are several spider species in Iowa, but some are more common than others. Some are large and a little intimidating, while others are small and unassuming. This article details some of the most common spiders you might find in Iowa.

11 Common Spiders in Iowa

Here are 11 species of common spiders one might come across in the state of Iowa.

1. Southern Black Widow

Southern black widow on its web
Southern black widow on its web | Image by Marcelo Souza from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Latrodectus mactans

The Southern black widow is shiny and jet-black with a tell-tale hourglass-shaped marking on the underside of the abdomen. This marking is orange or red and only present on the females. The males are smaller than the females and have white or red markings on the top of the abdomen.

Female Southern black widows have a habit of killing and eating the males after mating, which is where the name “widow” comes from. Southern black widows can be found in Iowa hiding under stones and logs or in quiet corners of barns and garages. The female’s bite is venomous and typically requires medical attention.

2. Furrow Orb Weaver

Furrow orb weaver
Furrow orb-weaver | image by gailhampshire via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Larinioides cornutus

A furrow is a long, narrow trench made by a plow. The furrow orb weaver has a zigzag, furrow-shaped marking that runs along the top of its abdomen. This spider is usually tan, brown, or gray and gets its name from the zigzag shape that runs down the top of its tan, brown, or grayish.

Unlike many other spider species, male and female furrow orb weavers are similar in size. Their orb-shaped webs can commonly be found in the eaves of homes, especially near porchlights.

3. Dark Fishing Spider

Dark fishing spider
Dark fishing spider | image by Katja Schulz via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Dolomedes tenebrosus

The dark fishing spider is large, growing up to three inches, including the legs. They are light brown and gray.

This spider is most commonly found near the water in Iowa. They are nocturnal and have the unique ability to walk across the water to hunt insects and small fish.

4. Black and Yellow Garden Spider

Black and yellow garden spider
Black and yellow garden spider | Image by Cornell Frühauf from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Argiope aurantia

This large orb weaver spider has a body length of up to one inch and is commonly found in gardens and other areas with heavy vegetation.

The black and yellow garden spider builds orb-shaped webs up to two feet wide. This species has a large ovular abdomen with yellow and black markings and long black legs with yellow or orange markings.

5. Woodlouse Hunter

woodlouse hunter spider on a rock
Woodlouse hunter spider on a rock | image by Mvuijlst via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0

Scientific Name: Dysdera crocata

The woodlouse spider gets its name from the woodlice it prefers to consume. This species does not build webs to catch its meals but instead stalks and hunts its prey.

The females of this species are slightly larger than the males and can measure a little over half an inch long. The woodlouse spider is yellowish-brown and reddish-brown. The woodlouse spider can bite humans if provoked, but they are not venomous.

6. Carolina Wolf Spider

Carolina wolf spider
Carolina wolf spider | image by codystricker via iNaturalist | CC BY 4.0

Scientific Name: Hogna carolinensis

The Carolina wolf spider, despite its name, can also be found in Iowa. This large species can be brown or gray and grow up to two inches long. The female Carolina wolf spider is unique because she carries it around on her back instead of building a web to store her egg sac.

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When the egg hatches, the babies crawl onto her back and ride around with her until they can live independently. You will commonly see this species at night when they come out to hunt for food and spend most of the day in burrows in the ground.

7. Banded Garden Spider

Banded garden spider
Banded garden spider | by USFWS Mountain-Prairie via Flickr

Scientific Name: Argiope trifasciata

The banded garden spider has bands or stripes along its ovular abdomen. The females are significantly larger than the males, measuring up to one inch, including leg span.

The banded garden spider can be found in Iowa’s gardens and other plant-rich areas. While these spiders are large enough to bite humans, they are docile and don’t pose any real threat.

8. Common House Spider

common house spider on artificial plant
Common house spider in artificial plant | image by Fyn Kynd via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Parasteatoda tepidariorum

The common house spider is also called the American house spider because it can be found in every state in the US, including Iowa. They are also commonly found indoors around windows and quiet corners.

Common house spiders are primarily brown with white or black markings. They have skinny legs and build thin, wispy webs. These spiders, though common, are docile and like to be left alone.

9. Bold Jumping Spider

Bold jumping spider on leaf
Bold jumping spider on leaf | image by Brian Tomlinson via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Phidippus audax

The tiny bold jumping spider is a common resident found outdoors in Iowa. The bold jumping spider is black with white markings.

Like other jumping spiders, the bold jumping spider does not use webs to trap food. Instead, the bold jumping spider jumps or pounces on its prey to catch it. They move very quickly and can jump across distances of up to six inches.

10. White Micrathena

white micrathena
White micrathena on red stem | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Micrathena mitrata

The white micrathena is a member of the orb weaver family and can be found in the woods and around the homes and gardens of Iowa. This spider has a black and white abdomen with four black spikes.

They build orb-shaped webs that are unique because, instead of hanging vertically like most other orb weavers, the white micrathena builds its web at a slight angle, making it more horizontal to the ground. The females are slightly larger than the males and can grow up to six millimeters long.

11. Triangulate Cobweb Spider

Triangulate cobweb spider
Triangulate cobweb spider | image by u278 via Flickr

Scientific Name: Steatoda triangulosa

Another common spider found in the homes of Iowa is the triangulate cobweb spider. This small spider can be seen around windows and lights or in quiet, undisturbed corners of areas such as garages.

This species is covered in tiny hairs and is yellowish-orange with yellow legs. They are not venomous and do not pose a threat to humans.