It’s estimated that there are more than 500 different spider species in Kansas. You can find all kinds of arachnids in the Sunflower State, including venomous spiders and tarantulas. These 12 spiders are among the most common spiders found in Kansas.
12 Common Spiders in Kansas
Kansas is home to many spiders, but some species are especially easy to spot. Whether you’re indoors or outdoors, you should keep an eye out for these arachnids.
1. Carolina Wolf Spiders
Scientific Name: Hogna carolinensis
Ranging from 0.70 to 1.37 inches in size, the Carolina wolf spider is the largest wolf spider in North America. It’s a light brown spider with darker markings on its back and underside. This spider lives in underground burrows, which it sometimes digs on its own.
These burrows provide spiders with protection in the summer, when temperatures in Kansas can get very hot. The Carolina wolf spider tends to hide in its burrow during the day, but comes out to hunt at night.
2. Garden Ghost Spider
Scientific Name: Hibana gracilis
Sometimes mistaken for the yellow sac spider, the garden ghost spider is a pale spider that likes to hide under rocks, leaves, and bark. While it can be spotted in Kansas year round, it’s most active during the spring and summer.
These spiders are active hunters and can run at surprisingly fast speeds in order to catch their prey. They don’t weave webs, but they do make silk nests. While they primarily feed on insects, they sometimes use plant nectar as an extra source of energy.
3. American Funnel Web Spider
Scientific Name: Agelenopsis naevia
The American funnel web spider is a small, brown spider with a thin body. It’s common to spot these spiders in Kansas backyards, but you’re even more likely to see one of their webs! They create large, funnel-shaped webs, which they usually drape across grass and the bottoms of shrubs.
Since these webs aren’t sticky, spiders have to move quickly in order to catch insects that wander nearby. These spiders only live for a year and usually die in late fall or early winter.
4. Black Widow
Scientific Name: Latrodectus
You won’t find many dangerous spiders in Kansas, but the black widow is a potential threat. Kansas is actually home to three different black widow spiders: the northern, southern, and western black widow. Females of all species have a venomous bite that can cause serious side effects.
Black widows have round bodies with red markings on their abdomens that look a lot like an hourglass. You’re most likely to spot these spiders outdoors, where they like to hide beneath rocks or under woodpiles.
5. Texas Brown Tarantula
Scientific Name: Aphonopelma hentzi
The Texas brown tarantula is the most common tarantula in the United States and the largest spider in Kansas. Its leg span can be more than 4 inches, and it can weigh over 3 oz. The size of these spiders makes them intimidating, but they’re not aggressive and aren’t dangerous to humans or pets.
Spiders usually lead short lives, but females of this species can live for more than 40 years! They usually make their homes in underground burrows, but they sometimes live in logs or the abandoned dens of other animals!
6. White-Banded Crab Spider
Scientific Name: Misumenoides formosipes
This unusual spider has a white or yellow body, but it can change its color to blend in with its surroundings like a chameleon. In Kansas, it’s common to spot these spiders in the spring and summer, where they hide in and on freshly bloomed flowers. They’re especially fond of asters, snapdragons, and marigolds.
Like all crab spiders, the white-banded crab spider can walk backwards and side to side. Since they live inside flowers, bees and butterflies make up a big part of their diet. They also feed on flies and occasionally munch on other spiders.
7. Jumping Spiders
Scientific Name: Salticidae
Jumping spiders are believed to be the largest group of spiders in Kansas. They’re most active from the spring through the fall, but can occasionally be spotted inside homes during winter. Some of the most common spiders include the tan jumping spider, the daring jumper, and the zebra spider.
These spiders can use their rear legs to jump long distances. They have longer front legs, which they can use to grasp prey. Jumping spiders are active hunters and are most active at dusk and dawn.
8. Brown Recluse
Scientific Name: Loxosceles reclusa
The brown recluse is another Kansas spider that has the potential to be dangerous. While its bite is initially painless, the bite site will usually become swollen and tender after several hours. Bites sometimes heal on their own, but they can cause necrotic lesions, which is a type of soft tissue infection.
The easiest way to recognize the brown recluse is to look for the violin-shaped marking on its back. These spiders prefer to live outdoors and can be found under rocks, logs, and other types of debris.
9. Dark Fishing Spider
Scientific Name: Dolomedes tenebrosus
The dark fishing spider is another Kansas spider that’s on the larger side. Females can have a leg span of up to 3 inches. People sometimes mistake it for a tarantula or a wolf spider.
You can sometimes find this spider near water, but you’re most likely to see it on logs or in wooded areas. At night, these spiders wander around and stalk their prey! While it’s a ferocious hunter, it’s shy and will usually run away when it sees humans.
10. Labyrinth Orb Weaver
Scientific Name: Metepeira labyrinthea
Even though this spider is very common in Kansas, it isn’t always easy to spot! It likes to camouflage itself by hiding under piles of dried leaves. When insects are ensnared in its web, it comes out from its hiding place and immobilizes them with its venom.
This spider is usually a gray or brown color, with a skull-like marking on its abdomen. Not only does it weave large webs, but it tends to build a new web every day! The labyrinth orb weaver is active from early spring to late fall.
11. Puritan Pirate Spider
Scientific Name: Mimetus puritanus
Most spiders in Kansas feed on insects, but the puritan pirate spider hunts other spiders! It invades the webs of other spiders and pretends to be prey. When the spider comes to investigate, it attacks.
You can usually find these spiders in wooded areas and on buildings. It’s a small, pale spider with red and black markings across its body. It has long, thin legs covered in tiny hairs.
12. Quasi-Social Cobweb Spider
Scientific Name: Anelosimus studiosus
This quasi-social cobweb spider is one of the few spiders in Kansas that lives in colonies! Each colony can be home to up to 50 spiders, which work together to spin large webs. By working together, spiders can trap much larger prey than they could catch on their own.
You’re most likely to find these spider colonies at the edge of woodlands, close to bodies of water. Its web consists of a shallow bowl, with a flat, tangled web above. In the summer, females produce egg sacs that usually contain more than 50 spider eggs!