New Jersey has the highest population density of any state. Even though the state is packed with people, it’s also home to many spider species. These 12 arachnids are some of the most common spiders found in the Garden State.
12 Common Spiders in New Jersey
It’s been estimated that there are over 500 spider species in New Jersey. While you can find lots of spiders throughout the state, these spiders are particularly common.
1. Hacklemesh Weaver
Scientific Name: Amaurobiidae
These spiders are drawn to damp environments. In New Jersey, they’re often spotted in basements, especially during the winter. When they’re outdoors, they typically hide under rocks and leaves.
The hacklemesh weaver spins a funnel-shaped web that looks like it’s made from mesh. It’s a reddish-brown color, with light brown markings on its abdomen. This spider is active year-round and can live for up to two years.
2. Sylvana Jumping Spider
Scientific Name: Colonus sylvanus
This spider is usually found outdoors and is most active from late spring through summer. While female spiders are usually tan, males are a mixture of black, red and brown. It doesn’t build webs, but it does spin strands of silk that it uses as a safety line when it jumps!
The sylvana jumping spider is an active hunter that will attack all kinds of insects and arachnids, even other spiders. Many spiders in New Jersey are nocturnal, but the Sylvana jumping spider is active during the day, which makes it easier to spot.
3. Woodlouse Hunter
Scientific Name: Dysdera crocata
Sometimes called the pillbug hunter, the woodlouse hunter mostly feeds on woodlice. While the crustaceans it eats are typically found outdoors, it’s common to spot this spider inside New Jersey homes! They spend their days in a silken cocoon and come out to hunt when night falls.
Woodlice have strong exoskeletons, but the woodlouse hunter has powerful jaws and large fangs that can immobilize its prey. These spiders occasionally bite humans, especially when they’re being handled, but their bites aren’t known to cause any notable medical issues.
4. Eastern Parson Spider
Scientific Name: Herpyllus ecclesiasticus
The eastern parson spider is a hairy spider that sometimes hides itself beneath the floorboards of New Jersey homes. Since this spider hibernates during the winter, it’s always looking for a safe place to rest.
These spiders can be anywhere from 6 to 13 mm long. They’re fast, skilled hunters that stalk their prey at night. While the eastern parson spider isn’t usually dangerous, its bite can cause an allergic reaction in some people.
5. Arrow-shaped Micrathena
Scientific Name: Micrathena sagittata
The arrow-shaped micrathena is one of the strangest-looking spiders you can find in New Jersey. While spiders usually have round abdomens, this spider’s body is shaped like an arrow. Males are typically black, but females are bright yellow with red markings.
This spider weaves wheel-like webs that tend to be close to the ground. They can occasionally be spotted indoors, but they prefer outdoor habitats, where they can hide beneath leaves, rocks, and within tall grass.
6. Long-Bodied Cellar Spiders
Scientific Name: Pholcus phalangioides
These house spiders are commonly seen all over the United States, including in New Jersey. It’s often referred to by another name: Daddy Long-Legs. True to its name, the long-bodied cellar spider loves cellars and basements and is also found in garages.
Even though these spiders spin webs, they’re known to tackle insects and other prey that are nearby. If it’s hungry enough, it’ll even eat other spiders, including spiders of the same species. These spiders can help to get rid of other insects and spiders that may be lurking inside your home.
7. Brown Recluse
Scientific Name: Loxosceles reclusa
The venomous brown recluse spider can be found throughout New Jersey. While this spider is drawn to quiet, dark locations, they sometimes venture inside homes when they’re searching for food. Since it’s a plain brown spider, it can be confused with other spider species, but the fiddle mark on its abdomen makes it distinct.
The brown recluse isn’t aggressive, but it’s known to bite when it feels threatened. Bites can cause swelling, redness, and sometimes lead to more severe symptoms, like vomiting and dizziness. If you suspect that you’ve been bitten by a brown recluse, you should get medical attention as soon as possible.
8. Northern Black Widow
Scientific Name: Latrodectus variolus
Another spider to watch out for in New Jersey is the northern black widow. One of the most venomous spiders in the United States, black widow bites can cause fevers, stomach pain, and other symptoms. Thankfully, this spider isn’t aggressive and almost never bites humans.
All black widows are black with a red hourglass marking. However, on the Northern black widow, this marking is split in the middle. It’s typically found in brush piles, old stumps, and hollow logs.
9. Red-Spotted Ant Mimic Spider
Scientific Name: Castianeira descripta
This sneaky spider mimics ants so that it can get close enough to attack. By disguising itself as an ant, it can also avoid predators. It’s a deep brown color, with reddish-orange markings along its abdomen.
Since this spider hunts ants for food, it doesn’t need to weave webs. However, it does uses its silk to create a nest that it can rest in while it sleeps.
10. Rabid Wolf Spider
Scientific Name: Rabidosa rabida
Not only does this spider have a terrifying name, but it’s on the larger side, with a leg span that can be more than 3 inches. While it’s one of the largest spiders in New Jersey, it isn’t dangerous, and you don’t have to be worried if you spot one in the wild.
These spiders are fast, skilled hunters that stalk and ambush their prey. You’re most likely to see the rabid wolf spider in wooded areas, but it can sometimes be spotted on the outskirts of buildings. They communicate with each other via pheromones and vibrations.
11. Dimorphic Jumper Spider
Scientific Name: Maevia inclemens
The dimorphic jumper spider is known for being colorful, but it has other qualities that make it stand out. Males spiders have two different forms that differ in appearance and courting displays. Some males are black, while others are gray.
These spiders sometimes wander into homes and buildings, especially when it’s cold out, but you’re most likely to see them inside. They’re often found in woodland habitats and may make their home around vines or ivy. The dimorphic spider has excellent vision, which makes it a skilled hunter.
12. Spotted Orbweaver
Scientific Name: Neoscona crucifera
These hairy spiders are rarely found in homes, but they’re drawn to many environments that humans frequent, such as gardens and parks. Since they’re nocturnal, it’s rare to see them during the day, but you may catch a glimpse of their large, orb-shaped webs. When spotted orbweavers wake up each night, they feast on the insects that wandered into their web during the day.
In New Jersey, you’re most likely to spot these spiders from mid-spring to late summer. These spiders can be found in a variety of color combinations, including orange and red or yellow and brown. Some spiders may also have zigzag lines across the sides of their bodies.