Indiana has both unique spiders and spiders that aren’t bound by territorial borders. Here’s a guide on the spiders in Indiana, information on how to distinguish them, and crucial data on whether they are dangerous to humans.
1. Bold Jumping Spider
Scientific name: Phidippus audax.
Common name: daring jumping spider, bold jumping spider.
The stereoscopic vision Bold Jumping Spider is an excellent hunter. Its good vision is given by its forward-facing eyes. This spider can be recognized by its thick black body with yellow markings. When these markings are red, it’s often mistaken for the Black Widow.
The spider normally grows to a size that isn’t an inch long.
While not dangerous to humans, its bite can come with itching, pain, and skin redness. It’s believed these mild symptoms go away after 24-48 hours.
These spiders can be seen around the garden, on walls, and in the grass as they only weave a web for mating reasons.
2. Tan Jumping Spider
Scientific name: Platycryptus undatus.
Common name: tan jumping spider.
The Tan Jumping Spider is recognized by its black, white, and gray body color. These hairy spiders also have Chevron markings, normally on their backs.
The spiders look less threatening than others and this is why some people prefer to pet them.
The spider doesn’t weave a web. They only use one silk line for the most demanding jumps which is mostly seen as a safety precaution.
You can find these spiders around the walls inside or outside the house.
Generally friendly to humans, they can still bite. As the Bold Jumping Spider, the bite of the Tan Jumping Spider isn’t dangerous to humans. The symptoms of such a bite are sometimes compared to a wasp sting.
3. Yellow Garden Spider
Scientific name: Argiope aurantia
Common name: yellow garden spider, black and yellow garden spider, golden garden spider, writing spider, zigzag spider, zipper spider, black and yellow argiope, corn spider, Steeler spider, McKinley spider.
Recognized by its black and yellow coloring, the Yellow Garden Spider is large by Indiana standards. It can grow up to a size of 1.5 inches without legs, which makes it look a bit more dangerous than it is. A bite from this spider doesn’t result in severe symptoms.
The Yellow Garden Spider mates two times per year. The male spider courts the female extensively. The best time to see Yellow Garden Spiders is during this mating period as the male weaves a web close to the female’s web as part of the courting process.
4. Spotted Orbweaver
Scientific name: Neoscona crucifera.
Common name: Hentz orbweaver, spotted orbweaver, barn spider.
The Spotter Orbweaver varies in appearance. Most of these spiders are either orange with a bit of red or yellow with a bit of brown. The spiders spin webs that are orb-shaped. However, they are rarely spotted on these spider webs as Spotter Orbweavers prefer to live nearby shaded by a leave.
Avid hunters, Spotted Orbweavers are rarely seen during the day. It’s believed they prefer to hunt during the night to stay away from predators such as wasps.
5. Grass Spiders
Scientific name: Genus Agelenopsis.
Common name: American grass spiders, grass spiders.
Grass spiders are large (up to 19mm body length) and recognized by their yellow-brown color. Black stripes run along with their bodies.
These spiders are some of the fastest in the Agelenopsis species. They use this speed to quickly charge towards the prey that gets caught up in their spider webs. These webs aren’t sticky so the spiders have to move quickly to catch the insects caught up in them.
The spiders are also recognized for spinning a web with a funnel next to it. It’s also believed they have an excellent vision based on their 8 eyes in 3 rows.
6. Orchard Orbweaver
Scientific name: Leucauge venusta.
Common name: orchard orbweaver.
The Orchard Orweaver is considerably smaller than Grass Spiders, but still very common in Indiana.
This spider species is instantly recognizable based on its green legs and its green-striped body. With adult males reaching a length of just 4mm, it might be hard to spot in the grass at first.
The spider is known for creating a sticky orb weave to catch insects. While it doesn’t have the best vision (it has 8 eyes), the spider is still present in high numbers, particularly in gardens and flower orchards. It’s one of the most hardworking spiders with its complex web.
7. Spined Micrathena
Scientific name: Micrathena gracilis.
Common name: spined micrathena, castleback orbweaver.
Forests are among the ideal places to spot a Spined Micrathena. This small spider (up to 10.8mm long) is one of the atypically-shaped spiders. The female of the species is recognized by a bulbous body with spines. Females have more spines than male spiders. The bulbous body is normally white and black.
Both the females and the females of the species produce silk. However, the males only use it for mating as it’s the females that make the web.
This species of spiders are also hard-working changing the web every night. It’s the outer sides of the web that remain in place for a few days.
8. Dark Fishing Spider
Scientific name: Dolomedes tenebrosus.
Common name: dark fishing spider.
The Dark Fishing Spider is recognized by its brown and black color. It has black marks on the body and black marks on the legs.
This spider is among the hairy spiders that live next to water sources. Generally seen on the edge of lakes and ponds, it can hunt opportunistically on the surface of the water. The spider can also dive as a defense mechanism when hunted by predators.
These spiders are not dangerous to humans. Reports of bites are very rare. They are normally accompanied by tales of skin redness in the area of the bite rather than other more serious symptoms.
9. Furrow Orbweaver
Scientific name: Larinioides cornutus.
Common name: furrow spider, furrow orb spider, foliate spider.
The Furrow spider or the Furrow Orbweaver is a species that grows to 20mm. It has an unusually large abdomen which aids quick identification. With its brown, white, and grey colors, this spider weaves webs and it comes out during the night.
Circular webs are made by the spider to trap small insects. These webs can be difficult to find during the day as the spiders eat them in the morning, probably as a means of defense or to create a newer stronger web for the following nights’ prey.
10. Zebra Jumping Spider
Scientific name: Salticus scenicus.
Common name: zebra jumping spider.
Zebra Jumping Spiders get their name from zebras, inspired by their stripped look. These black and white spiders are agile jumpers with very specific hunting purposes. They hunt smaller spiders and insects which are sometimes larger than the spiders themselves.
A good ability to jump (with speeds of up to 2.6 feet per second) is based on the way they flex the fourth set of legs. These spiders don’t have muscles in their legs but they use blood pressure to flex and move the legs. This is why they can move their legs in all directions.
11. American Nursery Web Spider
Scientific name: Pisaurina mira.
Common name: American nursery web spiders.
The American Nursery Web Spider has a brown-yellow striped color. It appears golden in direct sunlight. This spider species is often mistaken as a Wolf Spider.
A cannibalistic mating habit best described the character and popularity of the American Nursery Web spider. The female eats the male at the end of the mating process if given the occasion.
Males can shoot silk, mainly to immobilize the female during the mating process. Male American Nursery Web Spiders that make it out alive typically look for another female spider to mate with, mainly to increase offspring numbers.
12. Arrowhead Orbweaver
Scientific name: Verrucosa arenata.
Common name: triangle orb weaver, arrowhead spider, arrowhead orbweaver.
The Arrowhead Orbweaver is identified by its pointed arrow (typically white or yellow) on its back. This red spider has a zig-zag body shape. This makes it appear larger. The size of the spider is relatively small (1/4 inches).
Arrowhead spiders typically live up to a year. Female spiders live more than male spiders.
Those who want to see these spiders in Indiana have the highest chances in the late spring or early summer months. It’s during this time that these spiders can be spotted in gardens, woodlands, wet territories, and areas with plenty of shrubs.
13. Asiatic Wall Jumping Spider
Scientific name: Attulus fasciger.
Common name: Asiatic Wall Jumping Spider.
The Asiatic Wall Jumping Spider originates in Northern Asia. It’s now present in areas of the United States such as Indiana as well as in other countries such as Australia and New Zealand.
This is a small species of spider that reaches an adult size of only 3-4 millimeters. It has a brown-black color which makes it easy to spot around the house. The spider is frequently seen on walls, particularly near light sources. It hunts small flies and insects here.
14. Banded Garden Spider
Scientific name: Argiope trifasciata.
Common name: banded garden spider, banded orb weaving spider.
Similar to the Yellow Garden Spider, the Banded Garden Spider has a black and yellow body. It also has long black and yellow legs.
It uses the legs to freely move on the spider web it weaves daily. The spider lies upside down in the center of the weave.
It’s believed this spider weaves the web according to the position of the sun. It makes the most out of solar radiation. There’s no evidence a bite from the Banded Garden Spider would be harmful to humans in any way.
15. Eastern Parson Spider
Scientific name: Herpyllus ecclesiasticus.
Common name: eastern parson spider.
This unusual spider is part of the Gnaphosidae family. It gets its name from the official attire of late-century clergy. This spider is nocturnal. Rarely seen during the day, the spider typically hides in a silken cocoon. It comes out to hunt during the night.
This spider is potentially dangerous to humans. Its venom can cause a painful reaction when bitten. However, some people might experience more severe reactions such as allergies after a bite.
16. Common House Spider
Scientific name: Parasteatoda tepidariorum.
Common name: common house spider, American house spider.
The Common House Spider is one of the most representative spiders for Indiana. This spider is truly well adapted to areas where humans live. It prefers to live in man-made structures.
Like other spiders, the differences in size for the male and female are considerable. The male has a small athletic figure, ideal for an active lifestyle. The larger female has a wider abdomen, ideal for carrying eggs.
The female also lays more eggs than many other spider species. After mating once it lays eggs multiple times. It can take up to 6 days for the female spider to lay up to 300 eggs at a time without needing to mate with the male spider again.
17. Marbled Orbweaver
Scientific name: Araneus marmoreus.
Common name: marbled orbweaver, pumpkin spider.
As one of the most vividly colored spiders in Indiana, the Marbled Orbweaver is easy to recognize. This spider has red legs and a colored body which is either yellow or white mixed with orange or black. Looking like a piece of marble, this spider is very smart, particularly in the eyes of danger.
It prefers to fall on the ground and lay there without moving when it senses danger.
The spider is generally fond of woodlands, particularly near water sources. In gardens, the spider is seen in tall grass where it weaves a spider web.
18. Long-bodied Cellar Spider
Scientific name: Pholcus phalangioides.
Common name: daddy long-legs spider, long-bodied cellar spider, skull spider.
Long-bodies Cellar Spiders are species that are identified by their longitudinal shape and pale yellow or light brown body and legs.
As its name suggests, this spider lives in basements. It prefers humid dark environments which means basements are its ideal living place.
Finding these spiders in the basement is easy since they have a thick web. The thick web is the result of continuous repairs and layering of the initial web. While other spiders eat their webs and create new ones, the Cellar Spider adds new layers on top of the original web.
19. Northern Yellow Sac Spider
Scientific name: Cheiracanthium mildei.
Common name: Northern yellow sac spider.
The spider species are found across Indiana gardens. Its pale yellow color and double claw legs make it easy to identify.
The Northern Yellow Sac Spider spends a lot of the time on the spider web during the day. It’s a patient spider that awaits its pray for hours.
The spider is venomous but not poisonous. Bites from the spider are followed by mild symptoms such as rashes. Its bite has been covered by scientific research. It shows pain from a bite normally goes away after 1-2 hours.
20. Golden Jumping Spider
Scientific name: Paraphidippus aurantius.
Common name: emerald jumping spider, golden jumping spider.
The spider species is known for its hunting abilities. This species doesn’t weave spider webs. However, it hunts extensively in all types of areas. It’s also a solitary spider species as it’s only seen in pairs during the mating period.
This species is not dangerous to humans. This small (a maximum length of 12mm) spider typically uses venom to immobilize small insects and bugs. Its venom is not dangerous to humans, however.
21. American Green Crab Spider
Scientific name: Misumessus oblongus.
Common name: American Green Crab Spider.
This spider species is unique by look, lifestyle, and behavior. The spider has a pale green color which mimics the area it lives in the best. It lives on shrubs, plants, flowers, and grass. It’s an excellent pollinator.
This small spider prefers to live in solitude.
It’s estimated the average American Green Crab Spider lives up to 1 year.
Its bite is not dangerous. The spider is not the best pet as it can still bite humans. However, the reactions are small and normally include skin redness and two small puncture marks.
22. White-jawed Jumping Spider
Scientific name: Hentzia mitrata.
Common name: white-jawed jumping spider.
This spider species is part of the Salticidae family. It moves rather slowly so it can be seen frequently in Indiana. You can recognize it by its white hair follicles. This spider is an avid hunter having very good vision and navigation.
The spider uses its hydraulic legs to jump on its prey. Using 4 pairs of eyes it has excellent vision seeing its prey from a distance. The spider lives a solitary life hunting through various environments such as meadows and woodlands.
23. Wetland Giant Wolf Spider
Scientific name: Tigrosa helluo.
Common name: Wetland giant wolf spider.
These spiders can be recognized by the yellow line that runs down its body to the cephalothorax. It has all of the attributes of Wolf spiders which include small hair follicles and hunting capabilities. It doesn’t weave webs preferring to actively look for prey.
These spiders can be seen under rocks, fallen branches, or under leaves. Most of these spiders don’t go out of their way to bite humans. However, they will resort to biting when cornered. The venom injected by these spiders is not dangerous to humans.
24. Flea Jumping Spider
Scientific name: Naphrys pulex.
Common name: Flea Jumping Spider.
Part of the Salticidate family, the Flea Jumping Spider (Naphrys pulex) spider is one of the most recognizable in its family. The spider has a black and orange body. These colors are also seen on its legs.
It prefers to live in woodlands. However, it is a type of mesic spider which means it selects environments with high humidity to live and hunt in. This is why it might also be seen in tall grass where it’s shaded from direct sunlight.
25. Woodlouse Spider
Scientific name: Dysdera crocata.
Common name: woodlouse hunter, sowbug hunter, sowbug killer, pillbug hunter, slater spider.
This spider is easy to recognize in Indiana due to its vivid color. It has a dark red cephalothorax and a bright yellow abdomen which resemble crab colors. It is a type of spider with very specific prey preferences. It eats woodlice by injecting venom first.
The mating ritual of the spider is also interesting. This male spider is dangerous to the female spider and vice versa. They can injure themselves due to their long chelicerae.
26. Triangulate Combfoot
Scientific name: Steatoda triangulosa.
Common name: triangulate cobweb spider, triangulate bud spider.
The large spider is one of the many spider species that have poor vision. It relies on vibrations to sense when prey is caught up in the spider web or to sense danger. This spider is typically fearful and it will hide if it feels nearby predators.
The Triangulate Combfoot spider gets its name from the small triangle spots on its back. Its bulbous abdomen is characterized by small marks in the shape of triangles, typically of pale yellow color.
27. Broad-Faced Sac Spider
Scientific name: Trachelas tranquillus.
Common name: broad-faced sac spider.
This small spider is characterized by a reddish-brown color with a carapace that seems marked by punctures. However, this spider is one of the few in Indiana that is potentially harmful to humans in the eventuality of a bite.
A Broad-Faced Sac Spider bite is always painful to humans. In some cases, it can even trigger severe allergic reactions. It’s believed its painful bite is characterized by venom substances it produces that are influenced by the dead insects this spider likes to eat.
28. Black-tailed Red Sheetweaver
Scientific name: Florinda coccinea.
Common name: blacktailed red sheetweaver, red grass spider.
Part of the Florinda genus, the spider is characterized by its translucent red color. It can easily be identified when in nature given it has a vivid red color. This spider is easily found across the state in parks, particularly in tall grass.
The spider is very small as the male can reach a maximum body length of 3-4mm in adulthood. However, it spread out through the state as it also has a high presence in agricultural fields.
29. Rabid Wolf Spider
Scientific name: Rabidosa rabida.
Common name: rabid wolf spider.
This spider is recognized by its gray, brown, and black body. It has brown and white stripes that run across its body from the eyes to the cephalothorax.
This spider is an active hunter during the night. It constantly looks for prey but it also prefers camouflaging itself to ambush its prey.
Like most Wolf spiders, it has very specific mating rituals. The male spider dances in front of the female Rabid Wolf Spider. The female can be impressed or unimpressed by the dance. When impressed, the female will lay her eggs in front of the male spider.
30. Dimorphic Jumping Spider
Scientific name: Maevia inclemens.
Common name: Dimorphic Jumping Spider.
These small spiders are recognized by their white face and striped black, green, and white bodies. The spiders are seen across many agricultural fields in the state. While small, they like to eat all types of crop pests being considered beneficial spiders.
Apart from eating pests, these spiders also help plant pollination. However, they aren’t too different from other jumping spiders in eating and mating rituals.
The male performs dances in front of the female. The female spider typically shows appreciation for the dance by bowing.
31. Six-spotted Fishing Spider
Scientific name: Dolomedes triton.
Common name: six-spotted fishing spider, dock spider.
This spider species is a known hunter. It prefers to eat fish. Sometimes it eats fish up to five times larger than its own body.
The female spider is bigger than the male spider. This species grows up to 2.4 inches in length.
Reproductive behavior is characterized by cannibalism in Six-spotted Fishing spiders. The female tries to kill the male after mating. Most male spiders manage to escape these attempts moving on to another female spider.