Spiders are a common, but sometimes unwelcome sight in Utah. These unique creatures are very helpful in controlling the bug population and are generally harmless. This article details the most common types of spiders you might see in Utah and gives details to help ease your mind the next time you see one of these fascinating creatures.
10 Common Spiders in Utah
1. Banded Garden Spider
Scientific Name: Argiope trifasciata
The banded garden spider gets its name from the bands or stripes adorning its long, ovular abdomen. As with most spider species, the females are larger than the males, with a leg span reaching up to one inch. The banded garden spider can be found in gardens and other areas with a lot of vegetation in Utah.
2. Utah Crab Spider
Scientific Name: Bassaniana utahensis
This unique spider can move sideways, which is why it is called the Utah crab spider. They vary in color but are typically darker with lighter spots and patterns. The front two pairs of legs are much longer than the rest, and the males are much larger than the females, measuring almost half an inch in length.
This species prefers to build webs between trees where they can blend in with the bark. Though they can bite if provoked, they do not pose any real threat to humans.
3. Woodlouse Hunter
Scientific Name: Dysdera crocata
The woodlouse spider primarily feeds on woodlice. However, they do not build webs to catch the woodlice. They hunt for and attack their prey.
The larger females can be a little over half an inch long. Males and females are yellowish-brown and reddish-brown in color. The woodlouse spider is not venomous but will bite if cornered or provoked.
4. Hobo Spider
Scientific Name: Eratigena agrestis
The male and female hobo spiders look very similar, and the females are only slightly larger than the males, so they are not sexually dimorphic. This species is brownish red with a herringbone pattern on the abdomen.
The hobo spider can be found living in gardens, fields, and bushes of Utah. A hobo spider bite is unpleasant but doesn’t pose any real threat to humans.
5. Carolina Wolf Spider
Scientific Name: Hogna carolinensis
The Carolina Wolf Spider doesn’t just call the Carolinas home. This spider can be found in other states across the US, including Utah. This species is quite large, measuring up to two inches long.
They are typically brown or gray in color. The Carolina wolf spider is a hunting spider, so it hunts and attacks its prey instead of building a web.
The female of the species carries her egg sac with her, and when it hatches, the babies crawl onto her back and remain there until they are ready to live on their own. Carolina wolf spiders are not great climbers, so they are more commonly found on the ground.
6. Western Black Widow
Scientific Name: Latrodectus hesperus
The female Western black widow is venomous and has a shiny black body with a large, round abdomen. They have a tell-tale red hourglass-shaped marking on the underside of their abdomen.
The males are not quite as shiny or black and have a small red dot on their abdomen instead of an hourglass-shaped mark. The males only grow to be about one-third the size of the females. If bitten by a female Western black widow, it is recommended to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
7. Goldenrod Crab Spider
Scientific Name: Misumena vatia
The goldenrod crab spider is also known as the smooth flower crab spider. This species ranges in color from white to yellow but has the unique ability to change color over a few days to match its environment.
The goldenrod crab spider does not build webs to catch its prey; instead, it lies in wait in flower blooms and attacks insects seeking nectar. Unlike web-building spiders, the goldenrod crab spider has very good eyesight.
8. Bold Jumping Spider
Scientific Name: Phidippus audax
The small bold jumping spider is commonly found outdoors in Utah. This species is black with white markings. The bold jumping spider does not use webs to catch its prey.
Instead, it jumps on unsuspecting insects to catch and eat them. They move very quickly and erratically and can jump across distances of up to six inches.
9. Triangulate Cobweb Spider
Scientific Name: Steatoda triangulosa
Like the common house spider, the triangulate cobweb spider is often found indoors in Utah homes. You may find these small creatures if you look around your window sills and lights or in quiet, undisturbed corners of areas such as garages and attics. This species is covered in tiny hairs and is yellowish-orange with yellow legs.
10. American Grass Spider
Scientific Name: Agelenopsis
The American grass spider, also known as the funnel-web spider, builds funnel-shaped webs in the grass, where it gets its name. This spider is unique because it sometimes uses a web to catch prey and, other times, chooses to hunt prey and drag it back to its funnel web. They are brown and tan with two dark lines along the top of the cephalothorax or head region.