There are more than five hundred spider species living in New Jersey. While you may feel afraid of spiders, many of them are excellent at pest control.
We are not going to list all five hundred species in New Jersey, but rather the most common spiders you are likely to encounter, from the most popular to the least popular.
The spiders you are likely to encounter in New Jersey include:
1. Bold Jumping Spider
Bold jumping spiders (Phidippus audax) are small and hairy jumping spiders belonging to the Salticidae family with the ability to jump more than four times its body length, which they use to ambush prey.
Bites are rare, as they are difficult to catch. Don’t be fooled they will bite, though it is no worse than a bee sting and their bites are not considered medically significant.
These small spiders have strong colors, they are black with a white line that runs across the abdomen and two white dots close to the back. They have hair on their legs and pedipalps.
The bold jumping spider is happy to live anywhere from inside your home or office to inside your car.
They do not spin webs to capture prey but are wandering predators that ambush their prey. Their webs are their private retreat, a place to hide and feel safe, consume prey and lay eggs.
2. Orchard Orbweaver
The orchard orb weaver (Leucauge venusta) spins a horizontal web where the spider hangs upside down in the center. This spider has dark green to orange legs and sides with a spotted underside in yellow and black and a silver back with brown and black streaks. The rear of the abdomen has red to orange spots
3. Yellow Garden Spider
Yellow garden spiders (Argiope aurantia) are black and yellow spiders that were first described in 1833.
Their cephalothorax (head space) is white with yellow and black on the badmen. Males are smaller than the females with males growing to 0.35 inches (9mm) in body length and females to 1.10 inches (28mm) in body length.
They will bite if you disturb or provoke them, though their bites are not considered dangerous and will give a nasty sting, which will clear up on its own at home.
Their webs are usually spun close to sunny fields, where the spider is protected from the wind. They build a circular shape web that can be up to two feet in diameter with zigzag silk and the spider hanging in the middle. If the spider feels threatened, they drop from the web, hiding on the ground. These spiders rebuild their webs at night.
4. Spotted Orbweaver
Spotted orbweavers (Neoscona crucifera) are hairy with red legs.
They can create orb-shaped webs up to two feet in diameter. During the day they hide on the edge of the web.
Their colors can range from tan to orange/red and yellow/brown. Some have a visible pattern on their abdomen and dark zigzag lines down the sides.
They prefer fields, gardens, parks, backyards, and woodland and are mostly active from May to August. They are not seen during the day, as they are nocturnal, waiting for prey to get entangled in their webs.
5. Tan Jumping Spider
Tan jumping spiders (Platycryptus undatus) have compressed bodies, which enables them to hide under the bark of trees. Their abdomens have a prominent pattern on a mottled surface with females growing to 13mm in body length and the male being slightly smaller at around 9.5mm.
They prefer vertical surfaces, such as walls and fences. They are very curious about humans. They seldom bite but will bite if they are squeezed and feel threatened.
6. Common House Spider
The common house spider (Parasteatoda tepidariorum) is also known as the American house spider, living in and close to human homes. They spin their webs and then rely on o the vibrations to identify when prey is entangled, which is usually household insects and other pests.
They are various shades of tan to black with patterns on the body. Females can grow to 0.24 inches (6mm) with males being on the smaller side, growing to 0.19 inches (4.7mm). The female has a bulb-shaped abdomen, with male abdomens being less bulb-like.
It is not uncommon for males and females to share a web for an extended period and for females to have their webs close to each other, even though the females are likely to fight when they come into contact with each other.
They are not aggressive towards humans, but they will bite in self-defense. Their vision is very poor and they are only able to see up to four inches away.
7. Spined Micrathena
The spined Micrathena (Micrathena gracilis) is a type of orb weaver, except it has thorn-like spikes on its abdomen, which is not a common trait of this species. The pointed spikes on the female’s abdomen are believed to make her less appealing to predators, hurting the predator when they try and bite the spider.
They are brown, white, and black, camouflaging into their environment, though colors do vary with some being more brown and others being black and white.
Males do not have sharp ridges and have a more black and white coloration with a narrower waist. The female will sit in the center of her web, upside down, waiting for insects to get trapped.
8. Basilica Orbweaver
The Basilica orb weaver (Mecynogea lemniscata) is a beautiful spider, much like a church, you would find in Italy.
The shape, color, and pattern on this spider’s abdomen make it stand out. It has a long abdomen that has shades of orange, yellow and green. The abdomen is a rectangular shape, rather than the typical orb-weaver bulb shape.
They have green sides with white dots and the dorsal side is edged in white, filled with orange lines and inlays of black, bright yellow, and brown. The carapace has a cat’s eye with a black line down the center. The legs are green and end in brown feet.
They create circular webs which can be up to two feet in diameter, where the spider hangs upside down in the center. They rebuild their webs daily.
9. Marbled Orbweaver
The marbled orb weaver (Araneus marmoreus) has a unique marbled pattern of colors on their abdomen with an orange head and upper legs and black and white banded lower legs. Some have a yellow and orange abdomen, some black and orange, black and white, or black and yellow.
They live in wooded areas, close to a water source where they build their circular webs on shrubs tall grass, and reeds. They rebuild their webs daily.
Females are double the size of the male and will remain hidden in the perimeter of their webs with a single strand of silk to the retreat, which vibrates when something is caught.
They are mostly active in summer and the fall, falling to the ground when they sense danger.
They are common in gardens and on shrubs just outside the home, where they feed on moths and beetles. Even with their large size, they are not aggressive or dangerous to humans.
10. American Nursery Web Spider
The American Nursery Web Spider (Pisaurina mira) is a dedicated parent, carrying its egg sac with care until the spiderlings hatch. The female gently carries her egg sac with her fangs while she builds a web in high weeds, she then suspends the sac in the curl of a leaf, so it is harder to see and reach. The egg sac is then surrounded in silk, which she then guards until the eggs hatch.
They do not spin webs to capture their prey, they are ambush predators that use their silk to protect their egg sacs.
They are tan to light brown in color with a dark brown streak running down the cephalothorax and abdomen.
The male’s streak is lighter than the female’s.
11. Golden Jumping Spider
The golden jumping spider (Paraphidippus aurantius), also known as the emerald jumping spider is a powerful spider with clear markings and a black and white body. They are black with a white side stripe on the side of the head space and a white border around the abdomen.
The females are usually brown with orange both have green on the abdomen and cephalothorax, which is visible when light reflects off it.
There is a line of hairs down the center of the abdomen with white does and lines on their side of the hairs. They have large front eyes.
This jumping spider can jump more than four times its body length with excellent eyesight. They pounce on their prey as they shoot out a single line of thread, known as a dragline, which stops its prey from escaping.
They are common in homes where they help eradicate unwanted pests. They are not aggressive towards humans but will bite if provoked.
12. Dark Fishing Spider
The female dark fishing spider (Dolomedes tenebrosus) can grow to 1.10 inches (2.4cm) in body length and males are half the size, growing to 0.51 inches (1.2cm). Their body is brown with chevron-like markings and red to brown banding on the legs. There are two rows of eyes, with the larger eyes on the top of the head.
Females lay up to 1,400 eggs in June, which is kept in a sac, attached to her body. A couple of days before the spiderlings are due to hatch, she builds a nursery web around the sac. They do not build webs to catch food but use their webs to protect their spiderlings.
They are common in wooded areas where they live on trees.
These shy spiders are more likely to try and escape than be aggressive towards a human, they only bite if they have no choice. They are not considered dangerous to humans and their bite is a stinging sensation that fades after a few hours or a couple of days.
13. Long-bodied Cellar Spider
The long-bodied cellar spider (Pholcus phalangioides) has an elongated abdomen and rounded bottom with a tapered waist.
They are often referred to as daddy longlegs or skull spiders.
They are often seen bouncing in the middle of their web which blurs their appearance to observers, disorientating predators. They hang upside down and wait for insects to get entangled in their web. These spiders have very small mouth parts, which makes it impossible to bite and inject poison into humans.
14. Northern Yellow Sac Spider
The northern yellow sac spider (Cheiracanthium mildei) is pale green to tan in color with dark brown chelirae and palpi. They grow to around 0.4 inches (10mm) in body length with their legs ending in a double claw. The front legs are double the length of the other legs. Their eyes reflect light.
These are excellent hunters and will bite if provoked, though the effects on humans are mild.
They are common both inside and outside the home in New Jersey.
15. Eastern Parson Spider
The Eastern parson spider (Herpyllus ecclesiasticus) is often an unwanted house guest with a white stripe in the black abdomen which looks like a ruffled necktie that the men wore in the clergy back in the day. They are medium in size and hairy, they are also exceptionally fast.
They belong to the ground spider family and do not spin webs to catch prey, rather roaming walls and floors at night searching for insects which they ambush. They hide under rocks and debris during the day. While they are woodland spiders, they are known to venture indoors and are often encountered inside homes.
Their venom is not lethal, but some humans have experienced an allergic reaction.
16. Triangulate Combfoot
The triangulate comb foot (Steatoda triangulosa) is a cobweb spider that is a common house spider, hiding in the corner of rooms and outbuildings. They have bad eyesight and rely on vibrations in their web to tell them when the prey has got tangled.
They feed on a range of insects and spiders but are not aggressive to people. It spends the day rebuilding its web.
17. Bronze Jumping Spider
The male bronze jumping spider (Eris militaris) has a dark cephalothorax with white banding on the sides and long chelicerae. The abdomen is lighter than the cephalothorax with white lateral banding.
The female has a lighter cephalothorax and darker abdomen without any lateral banding. They do have a short white band on their abdomens, near the cephalothorax, and white spots. The female can grow to 8mm with males growing to 6.7mm.
They are common in homes and fields, often not seen due to their small size and ability to camouflage into their surroundings. They are not considered medically significant.
18. Broad-Faced Sac Spider
Broad-faced sac spiders (Trachelas tranquillus) are outdoor spiders that tend to wander into homes in the fall when the temperatures start to cool.
They are solid dark brown or red on their cephalothorax and a solid colored abdomen that is gray to tan with a dull sheen. Their legs can range from red to tan or brown with the front pair being darker than the back legs.
Females grow to around 10mm in body length with a 16mm leg span. Males are smaller than females.
These nocturnal hunters create a web to hide in, often found in the crease of ceilings and walls or on windowsills. They can give a painful bite that is not considered medically significant, though some people may develop an allergic reaction.
19. Woodlouse Spider
An adult female woodlouse spider (Dysdera crocata) can grow to 0.59 inches (15mm) in body length with the male being on the smaller side, growing to 0.39 inches (10mm) in body length. They have six eyes and orange to dark red legs and cephalothorax with a shiny yellow-brown to beige-colored abdomen.
They are usually encountered under bricks, logs, rocks, and plant pots, close to woodlice. They do make their way into homes spending their day in a silken retreat and coming out at night to hunt.
When it comes to courtship they are aggressive and are at high risk of injury from each other. They will bite if handled, though they are not considered dangerous and local itching has been reported at the bite site in some bite victims.
20. Flea Jumping Spider
The flea jumping spider (Naphrys pulex) is a gray and black mottled spider, with mottling on the abdomen, legs, and cephalothorax and orange on the sides of the cephalothorax.
They are common in tall grass prairies, along with wooded areas such as hardwood forests with an abundance of leaf litter. They are common n the outside of buildings where insects are attracted to outside night lights.
21. Cross Orbweaver
The cross orb weaver (Araneus diadematus) is also known as the European garden spider or the pumpkin spider. They are distributed throughout Europe and North America.
These spiders can range from a dark gray to light yellow with white markings on the dorsal side of the abdomen and four segments that form a cross with females being and orange to brown color.
Females are larger than males and can grow to 0.79 inches (2cm) in body length with males growing to 0.51 inches (1.3cm) in body length. Some females eat the male after mating, the same as a praying mantis.
The cross orb weaver spins a circular-shaped web that can span two feet in diameter, where the spider hangs upside down in the middle, remaining hidden by foliage. One claw is hooked to a signal line of the main orb, which vibrates if any prey gets entangled.
These shy spiders will only bite if they feel provoked or cornered.
22. Furrow Orbweaver
The female furrow orb weaver (Larinioides cornutus) can grow to 14mm in body length, with males being slightly smaller at 9cm, their leg spans can reach up to 3.5cm.
They have large bulb-shaped abdomens that vary from gray and black to red. The carapace is slightly lighter with an arrow that points in the direction of the cephalothorax, the legs also have an arrow pattern. Their eight eyes are arranged in a row of six eyes with two above.
The furrow orb weaver is found in moist areas, never too far from water. They build their webs between shrubs and grass, hiding during the day. They rebuild their web every night.
23. American Green Crab Spider
The American green crab spider (Misumessus oblongus) is lime green in color with the ability to ambush pollinating prey that comes to flowers to drink the nectar.
These spiders can walk forwards, backward, and sideways. Their front legs are long, helping them grab prey, including butterflies, beetles, and bees that drink the nectar on the flower the spider is hunting in.
These tiny spiders can remain hidden in the petal of a flower.
They have a slender abdomen with a diamond shape and red banding on the side of the abdomen.
24. Six-spotted Fishing Spider
Six spotted fishing spiders (Dolomedes triton) are usually encountered close to lakes, boat docks, and structures near water. They are large in size with bold markings.
They are often confused with a wolf spider, though the six spotted fishing spider has eight eyes. They are brown to gray in color with lighter spots on the abdomen. The female grows to around 26mm in body length, with males being half the size at 13mm.
They are active hunters during the day, diving down to capture prey, rather than spinning webs. They are known to dabble their front legs on the water’s surface to lure fish below.
This spider can identify prey in the water up to 18cm away using surface waves. It then dives below the water to capture the prey, they can also dive up to 18cm below the surface of the water, eating insect larvae, small fish, and tadpoles up to five times their weight each day.
25. Wetland Giant Wolf Spider
The Wetland Giant wolf spider (Tigrosa helluo) belongs to the Lycosidae family found in a range of habitats from marshes and fields to woods and riparian areas. They prefer wetter areas.
They have a brown carapace with a yellow stripe that extends down the cephalothorax. The belly has black spots, which helps you identify this wolf spider from other wolf spiders.
They live and hunt alone, except for breeding season. They are mostly active at night when they are wandering hunters, not relying on webs to capture prey.
These are not aggressive spiders and will bite unless provoked. They are not considered dangerous to humans. A bite will cause pain and swelling, which can be managed at home with over the counter painkillers and a cold compress.
The female wetland giant wolf spider can grow to 31mm in body length with males being smaller at around 24mm in body length. The cephalothorax and abdomen have patterns, males have yellow on their legs, while females’ legs are red-brown without any banding.
These spiders live in grass areas marshes and woods.
26. Rabid Wolf Spider
Rabid wolf spider (Rabidosa rabida) bites are rare, but their large size and fast speeds can alarm anyone, even if you are not scared of spiders. They are crazed in their movements, being fast and erratic. They do not carry the rabies virus and are harmless to humans.
They can inflict a painful bite, which is not medically significant and heals on its own at home.
These spiders are light brown with two dark brown likes running down the side of the head. They have one dark brown line down the center of their abdomen and two thin brown lines on the side of the tan body. Their eyes reflect right at night, which can help you locate one of these spiders in the dark.
These are active hunting spiders that do not spin webs to capture prey. They are useful in controlling pests. They are known to wander indoors but can be encouraged out with a broom.
27. Zebra Jumping Spider
Zebra jumping spiders (Salticus scenicus) belong to the Salticidae family of jumping spiders that are common in homes, offices, and cars.
These spiders are hairy, black and white in zebra-like stripes on the abdomen and cephalothorax. These spiders grow to 9mm in body length for females and males being slightly smaller at 6mm.
They are excellent ambush predators relying on their ability to jump more than four times in their body length in a rapid-fire motion to capture prey and escape predators.
28. Dimorphic Jumping Spider
The male and female dimorphic jumping spiders (Maevia inclemens) are completely different. Dimorphic means two forms and this is where the name comes from for this jumping spider.
Males can either be black with yellow legs or tan with red markings on the abdomen, the two look nothing alike. Females, on the other hand, look like the tan male, just lighter. Their bodies are covered in hairs
The color differences between the male and female Dimorphic Jumping Spider are profound to us but completely natural to them. They can jump far and fast, which they use to ambush prey and escape predators. They are small, fast, and harmless to humans.
29. Garden Ghost Spider
Garden ghost spiders (Hibana gracilis) can grow to half an inch in body length with jaws that can move side to side with small eyes, which are closely grouped. The elongated abdomen is brown and yellow or green/yellow to beige with dark markings found in some individuals.
These are active hunters that hunt for insects at night. During the day, they hide under stones and in folded trees.
They are not considered dangerous to humans with their bite feeling like a pinprick, some swelling and pain may be experienced for a short period.
30. Asiatic Wall Jumping Spider
The Asiatic wall jumping spider (Attulus fasciger) is a small spider from Asia, native to Japan, China, Korea, Mongolia, and Russia. It was only introduced to North America in the 1950s, where it has expanded its range.
The female is slightly larger than the male, growing to 5.5mm and males to 4.5mm in body length.
The carapace of the male is rounded and wide in a very dark brown to black and covered in white and brown hairs, the white hairs form a line down the middle.
Their abdomen is brown and covered in white and brown hairs with two dark bands and white spots at the front half of the body and a large white spot at the rear.
They have short legs that are yellow with black bristles and dark rings.
Females are almost the same as male, just larger, with a wider abdomen, and is more a light brown with yellow markings.
They prefer buildings with plenty of artificial light, which attracts insects.