While Maine borders the Atlantic ocean, the state is also known for its forests. In fact, its nickname is the Pine Tree State. Whether you’re in the forests or in your homes, you can find a wide range of common spiders in Maine. In this article we look at some of the spiders you’re very likely to see when you visit this state.
12 Common Spiders in Maine
What kinds of spiders can you find in Maine? You can find many spiders in this Northeastern state, but these 12 spiders are especially common.
1. Cross Orb-Weavers
Scientific Name: Araneus diadematus
Sometimes called the European garden spider, this spider originated in Europe. Since then, it’s made its way to many parts of the world, including Maine. Like most orb weavers, it spins orb-shaped webs.
While all cross orb-weavers have cross-like markings along their backs, the coloring of these spiders can vary significantly. Some spiders are yellow or gray, while others are a bright shade of orange! These spiders are usually found outdoors and tend to avoid humans.
2. Long-Legged Sac Spiders
Scientific Name: Cheiracanthium mildei
This pale spider is frequently seen in Maine homes, where it hides away in corners and under beds. At night, it comes out to hunt for prey. It’s an active hunter that can travel at surprisingly fast speeds.
These spiders are willing to eat just about any insect. They tend to avoid people, but they will bite if they feel they’re under threat. Its bite can be very painful and may cause symptoms like swelling.
3. Dark Fishing Spiders
Scientific Name: Dolomedes tenebrosus
Including its legs, a female dark fishing spider can be more than 3 inches long! This makes it one of the largest spiders found in Maine. It’s frequently mistaken for other spiders, including wolf spiders and tarantulas.
Fishing spiders are typically found near water, but the dark fishing spider usually makes its home in wooded environments. It’s a fierce predator that actively hunts insects instead of building webs. However, these spiders are also preyed on by other creatures, like birds and reptiles.
4. Black and Yellow Garden Spiders
Scientific Name: Argiope aurantia
You can find the black and yellow garden spider in many Maine backyards, especially near the end of summer. While some spiders are reclusive, this spider tends to build webs in open areas. Since it feeds on common pests, it can be helpful to have one of these spiders in your garden.
This spider’s bright coloring makes it hard to miss, but its web is also very distinctive. Its circular web can be up to 2 feet long, and it has a zigzag pattern in the center. Every night, it eats its web and weaves a new web with fresh silk.
5. Eastern Parson Spiders
Scientific Name: Herpyllus ecclesiasticus
This hairy brown spider has a cravat-like white marking on its abdomen. While it prefers woodland habitats, it often makes its way into Maine homes, especially during colder months. Since these spiders like to travel in group, it’s not unusual to spot several spiders at the same time!
When these spiders are indoors, they sometimes hide in clothing or bedding. If a spider becomes trapped, it may panic and bite nearby humans. These bites generally aren’t dangerous, but can occasionally cause localized allergic reactions.
6. Furrow Orb-Weavers
Scientific Name: Larinioides cornutus
Since this spider is drawn to moist environments, it’s typically found near bodies of water. While many Maine spiders hibernate during the winter, the furrow orb-weaver is active year-round. Unlike most spiders, it’s capable of handling freezing temperatures.
The furrow orb-weaver has a large, egg-shaped abdomen that’s covered in dark markings. Its abdomen tends to be shiny, while its legs are short and thick. Male spiders are significantly smaller than females and tend to avoid them unless they’re mating.
7. Bold Jumpers
Scientific Name: Phidippus audax
These small, hairy spiders are mostly black, but have colorful markings along the top of their abdomens. Despite their small size, they’re natural hunters that can pounce on prey from a distance. In fact, it can cover up to 50 times its body length in a single jump!
The bold jumper is one of the most commonly seen jumping spiders in Maine. Since it’s an active hunter, it typically prefers more open habitats, like fields and grasslands. However, these spiders are frequently seen in backyards, especially along fences.
8. Nursery Web Spiders
Scientific Name: Pisaurina mira
One of the nursery web spider’s most distinctive traits is its size. Its body usually measures around 0.6 inches, while its legs can be more than 3 inches long. This spider is usually spotted indoors, where it can be seen crawling along bushes, trees, and plants.
Female spiders carry their eggs in a silk cocoon. After the eggs hatch, she weaves a nursery web for her young. Females stay with spider lings until after their first molt.
9. Flower Crab Spiders
Scientific Name: Misumena vatia
The flower crab spider is one of the most unusual spiders you can find in Maine! It’s able to change the color of its body to blend in with its surroundings. This skill provides protection from potential predators and helps it hide from prey.
These spiders tend to hide themselves in or around flowers. Instead of weaving webs, it lies in wait and ambushes bees and other nearby insects. You’re most likely to see these spiders when flowers are in bloom.
10. Wolf Spiders
Scientific Name: Lycosidae
You can find a wide range of wolf spiders in Maine, including the tigrossa wolf spider and hogna wolf spider. Not only are wolf spiders on the larger side, but they can make a hissing noise when they rub their legs together. Like jumping spiders, wolf spiders can also pounce on their prey!
Wolf spiders might look threatening, but they don’t pose any risk to humans or pets. They’re not aggressive, and while their bites can be painful, they’re not associated with any serious health symptoms. Most wolf spiders are shy and will avoid humans as much as possible.
11. Cave Orb Weaver
Scientific Name: Meta menardi
True to its name, this spider is usually spotted in caves! You might see a cave orb weaver if you visit some of Maine’s best known caves, like Devil’s Den in Andover and Moose Cave in Grafton Notch State Park. It can usually be spotted near a cave’s entrance.
Cave orb weavers become sensitive to light when they reach adulthood, which is why they tend to stick to dark environments. At night, they may leave caves to hunt for food. Spiders vary in color, but are usually black or dark brown.
12. Tan Jumping Spider
Scientific Name: Platycryptus undatus
Tan jumping spiders are commonly found across the East Coast. They’re drawn to vertical surfaces, like fences, tree trunks, and the walls of buildings and homes. They have hairy brown bodies with flecks of red and gray, which helps them to blend in with tree bark.
Not only do these spiders jump, but they can occasionally be seen dancing! Male spiders perform elaborate courtship dances to attract the attention of potential mates. During these dances, they’ll wave their legs back and forth and tap them on the ground.