North Carolina is located along the Atlantic Ocean and is filled with forests and wooded areas. It’s an ideal environment for all kinds of animals and is home to more than 700 spiders. While some arachnids found in North Carolina are rarely seen, there are other types of spiders that are much more common. In this article we learn about 10 of these North Carolina spiders.
10 Common Spiders in North Carolina
What kinds of spiders are you likely to find in North Carolina? These are a few of the spiders that are most frequently seen in The Tar Heel State.
1. American Grass Spiders
Scientific Name: Agelenopsis
The American Grass Spiders are a type of funnel spider that is commonly seen throughout North Carolina. Since its web isn’t sticky, it needs to move quickly in order to catch its prey. It happily eats all kinds of insects, including ants, moths, crickets, and grasshoppers.
You’re most likely to spot this spider in grasslands or in wooded areas. It can often be seen in gardens and on stone piles and can be found both indoors and outdoors.
These spiders usually have stripes along their backs and can grow to be around 0.78 in. They’re sometimes mistaken for wolf spiders!
2. Fishing Spiders
Scientific Name: Dolomedes
Many of North Carolina’s largest spiders are fishing spiders! While a variety of fishing spider species can be found in the state, some of the most common specimens include the white-banded, six-spotted, and dark fishing spider. Their bodies are covered in short hairs that naturally repel water.
Some fishing spider species in North Carolina are semi-aquatic, but dark and white-banded fishing spiders usually live in trees away from the water. It’s common to see the six-spotted fishing spider along boat docks, which has earned it the nickname of “dock spider!”
These spiders are active hunters and can even walk along the surface of the water to reach their prey.
3. False Black Widows
Scientific Name: Steatoda grossa
Also known as the cupboard spider, this harmless arachnid is frequently mistaken for more dangerous spiders like the black widow. It’s often found in and around buildings and likes to hide in sheltered areas, such as cracks or crevices.
This spider originated in Europe, but is now common in North Carolina, especially along the coast. It’s similar in size to the black widow, and it has a similar dark color.
However, it doesn’t have the red markings that the black widow is known for. It catches a variety of creatures in its web and will even feed on real black widow spiders!
4. Black Widows
Scientific Name: Latrodectus
You can find false black widows in North Carolina, but you can also see the real thing. In fact, the state is home to two different black widow species: the southern and northern black widow. It’s the most venomous spider in North Carolina, and it can be very dangerous, especially when it bites children or pets.
You’re most likely to find black widow spiders in protected areas. They frequently hide beneath rocks and can also be found in crawlspaces. Black widows feed on a wide range of insects and tend to build messy webs that are close to the ground.
5. American Nursery Web Spiders
Scientific Name: Pisaurina mira
The American nursery web spider can be found across North Carolina, but it’s much more common in the eastern region of the state. These spiders are usually around 0.5 in and have long legs that can be up to three inches long! They’re commonly seen lurking in tall grass and are frequently spotted in backyards.
Most nursery web spiders are tan or brown, but you can occasionally see spiders in more unusual colors, like teal or blue! While they do spin silk, they don’t weave webs and rely on their eyesight to hunt prey. Male nursery web spiders may even give insects to females as a gift when they’re courting.
6. Brown Recluse
Scientific Name: Loxosceles recluse
Another dangerous spider that can be found in North Carolina is the brown recluse. They’re typically found in the western region of the state and can be recognized by its dark brown, violin-shaped body. Brown recluses can be found indoors and outdoors and often hide behind boxes, debris, and wood piles.
These spiders aren’t aggressive, but their bites are very toxic. While brown recluse bites aren’t always painful right away, they can eventually lead to symptoms like blisters, joint pain, and chills. Bites can be fatal to children and pets, which is why it’s smart to seek medical treatment for a suspected spider bite.
7. Filmy Dome Spiders
Scientific Name: Neriene radiata
The filmy dome spider rarely grows to be more than 0.25 in, making it one of the tiniest spiders in North Carolina. It’s commonly found in wooded environments and can be recognized by its web, which resembles an upside-down bowl. They like to feed on pests insects, like mosquitoes and gnats.
These spiders have many color variations, making them hard to recognize! Some spiders have yellow stripes, but others are black and white. While these spiders often stay close to their web, they can sometimes be seen lurking in leaf piles!
8. Wolf Spiders
Scientific Name: Lycosidae
The Wolf spiders are extremely common in North Carolina and can be found all over the state. Some of the most common species include the tiger wolf spider, Carolina wolf spider, and the rabid wolf spider!
Since wolf spiders are large and hairy, they can look intimidating, but they don’t pose any threat to humans. You can find wolf spiders in all sorts of habitats, including meadows and wet coastal forests.
They have a tendency to wander and sometimes make their way into homes. Although wolf spiders don’t weave webs, they may build burrows to protect themselves during rainy weather.
9. Yellow Sac Spider
Scientific Name: Cheiracanthium inclusum
The yellow sac spider has a bright yellow body that makes it hard to miss! While this spider’s body is usually only around 9 mm, its legs can be more than an inch long, making it look much larger than it actually is. It can be seen throughout North Carolina, especially in forests and gardens.
Although the yellow sac spider is an aggressive hunter, it almost never bites humans. It hunts at night and rests in a sac during the day. They sometimes make their way into homes, but since they like to feed on pests like ants and flies, it can actually be helpful to have them around!
10. Orb-Weaver Spiders
Scientific Name: Araneidae
As their name suggests, orb-weaver spiders are known for spinning large circular webs! You can find a variety of orb-weaver spiders in North Carolina, such as the spiny-backed orb weaver, orchard orb weaver, and furrow orb-weaver.
The joro spider, a large orb-weaver spider that’s native to Japan, has also made its way to North Carolina. While it’s common to find orb-weavers in gardens and woodlands, they can also be seen in suburban areas and cities.
They usually stick close to their web so that they can quickly subdue any insects that they catch. Many orb-weavers found in North Carolina have bright colors and unusual appearances, which makes them hard to miss.