New Mexico is home to many different spiders, some of which are considered venomous and some mildly venomous.
Knowing the different spiders, how to identify them, and whether they are dangerous to humans or not, can help you determine if you should be concerned or not. Most spiders are not aggressive and will leave you alone as long as you do not provoke them.
Are There Venomous Spiders In New Mexico?
New Mexico is home to three venomous spiders, namely:
- Western Black Widow (Latrodectus hesperus)
- Southern Black Widow (Latrodectus mactans)
- Brown Widow (Latrodectus geometricus)
It is also home to the false Black Widow (Steatoda grossa), which is considered mildly venomous.
A bite from one of these spiders can have numerous symptoms, including:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle cramps and spasms near the bite site and spread over twelve hours.
- Pain in the chest, black, and stomach
- Shock and restlessness
A bite from one of these spiders is considered a medical emergency and urgent medical treatment is required.
Common Spiders In New Mexico
The most common spiders you will encounter in New Mexico from the most popular to the least popular includes:
1. Western Black Widow
Scientific name: Latrodectus hesperus.
Common name: western black widow, western widow.
The Western black widow is a venomous spider with females being the venomous spiders; males are not considered harmful to humans. Females can grow to 15mm in body length and are black in color with a red hourglass mark on the belly. In some cases, the hourglass is yellow or white.
Males are half the size of the female and are tan with a stripe on the abdomen.
The female is the one with the neurotoxin, which gives unwelcome side effects to bite victims from pain and nausea to muscle spasms and swelling.
2. Texas Brown Tarantula
Scientific name: Aphonopelma hentzi.
Common name: Texas brown tarantula, Oklahoma brown tarantula, Missouri tarantula.
The Texas brown tarantula is also known as the Oklahoma brown tarantula and is one of the most common tarantulas you will encounter in New Mexico.
They grow to a large size of 10cm in leg span and can weigh up to three ounces when adult size. They are dark brown in color with shades varying. They have more distinct coloration after a molt.
They are not aggressive and are relatively docile taking up a stance on their hind legs, raising their front legs when they feel disturbed or threatened.
They have what is called rusticating hairs on their abdomen, which they kick in the direction of their threat, which can cause skin irritation in humans.
They will bite if provoked, but their bites are not considered dangerous, though some people do have an allergic reaction. Their bites are painful and could lead to secondary infection if not cleaned properly.
3. Chiricahuan Gray Tarantula
Scientific name: Aphonopelma gabeli.
Common name: Chiricahuan gray tarantula.
Chiricahuan gray tarantulas range from a light brown to gray color. Their body and legs are covered in hairs, making them look large and scary.
They prefer the dry areas of New Mexico, forming burrows in well-drained soil.
As with other tarantulas, they are relatively docile and not aggressive, but they will bite if provoked. Taking their size into consideration, their bites are painful and can cause localized swelling and secondary infection.
4. Western Spotted Orbweaver
Scientific name: Neoscona oaxacensis.
Common name: western spotted orbweaver, zig-zag spider.
The Western spotted orbweaver is a relatively large spider with females growing to 18mm and males being on the smaller side, growing to 13mm in length.
As with all orbweavers, they spin circular-shaped webs, which are created in open areas with sparse foliage. The spider sits upside down in the center of the web.
They have red or yellow legs with black banding and a bulb-shaped abdomen in brown with yellow specks. The yellow triangles and dots on the abdomen are split by a brown line.
They feed on insects that get entangled in their webs.
5. Western Parson Spider
Scientific name: Herpyllus propinquus.
Common name: western parson spider.
The Western parson spider has a white stripe on the abdomen that resembles the ruffled necktie worn by men in the clergy back in the eighteenth century.
These medium-sized, hairy spiders, are exceptionally fast. They wander walls and floors in search of prey. They hunt at night, hiding under boards, rocks, and debris during the day.
Their bite is not considered dangerous, but it can cause an allergic reaction in some people. They only bite when provoked, such as being caught between your skin and clothing.
6. Bold Jumping Spider
Scientific name: Phidippus audax.
Common name: daring jumping spider, bold jumping spider.
Bold jumping spiders can grow to 18mm in females and 15mm in body length in males. They are black with white spots and stripes on their legs and abdomen.
They are ambush predators that use their exceptional jumping ability to ambush and capture prey. They do not build webs to capture prey.
They are common in grasslands and fields, often seen on outside walls, in gardens, and on fences. They are not considered dangerous to humans with bites causing pain, redness, localized swelling, and itching for up to two days.
7. Grand Canyon Black Tarantula
Scientific name: Aphonopelma marxi.
Common name: Grand canyon black tarantula.
Grand Canyon black tarantulas are black to brown in color with some orange to red-colored hairs on the abdomen. They are hairy spiders with females growing to 35mm in body length. This is a docile tarantula that does have hairs on their abdomen, which they use to kick in the direction of any threats.
They are harmless to humans and will usually retreat rather than taking on someone of human size.
8. Cat-faced Orbweaver
Scientific name: Araneus gemmoides.
Common name: Cat-faced spider, jewel spider.
The cat-faced orbweaver is also known as the jewel spider and is a common outdoor spider that is harmless to humans.
They spin their circular-shaped webs in closed spaces, on the sides of buildings and near outdoor lights.
They have two bumps at the top of the abdomen. The cat face is created by the two bumps, forming the ears of the cat. The central pattern forms the face.
They tend to sit upside down in the center of the web, waiting for insects to get ensnared.
9. Spotted Orbweaver
Scientific name: Neoscona crucifera.
Common name: Hentz orbweaver, spotted orbweaver, barn spider.
Spotted orbweavers spin large circular-shaped webs, which can be two feet in diameter. They hide during the day with the spider being tan to an orange/red or brown/yellow. Some have a clear zigzag pattern down the side of their abdomen, while others do not.
They are common in chaparrals, woodlands, fields, parks, backyards, and gardens. They are not often encountered during the day, being a nocturnal species.
10. Woodlouse Spider
Scientific name: Dysdera crocata.
Common name: woodlouse hunter, sowbug hunter, sowbug killer, pillbug hunter, slater spider.
The female woodlouse spider can grow to 15mm in body length, with the male being smaller at around 10mm.
They have a dark red to orange cephalothorax and legs with a shiny yellow/brown to beige abdomen.
They are commonly found under plant pots, bricks, rocks, and logs, not too far from woodlice. They are sometimes found in homes.
They spend their day on their web, hunting at night. Their webs are not used to capture prey but offer a retreat to hide in during the daytime.
11. 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.
Yellow garden spiders are black and yellow spiders with mostly white cephalothorax. They grow to 28mm in females and 9mm in males.
They are not dangerous to humans, but they will bite if harassed.
Their webs are usually found adjacent to sunny fields, where they hide from the wind. They are also commonly found on the eaves of outbuildings and homes. They build large circular-shaped webs, which can be up to two feet in diameter with the spider hanging upside down in the center. During the day the spider reconstructs its web.
12. Hairy Tufted Jumping Spider
Scientific name: Phidippus comatus.
Common name: Hairy Tufted Jumping Spider.
Predominantly gray with black banding both on the body and legs, the hairy Tufted Jumping spider can be identified for the orange to red color hair on their face and front legs.
These hairy and small spiders are curious and will often watch a human as you move past them. They are not aggressive and will often jump away rather than face you. Don’t be fooled, they can give a painful bite which can cause redness, swelling, and itching for a couple of days.
13. Phidippus carneus
This is a medium-sized jumping spider that belongs to the Salticidae family with abdominal markings that varies from one spider to the next. All Phidippus cameus have green chelicerea.
These spiders can jump more than four times their body length to ambush prey and escape predators. They spin webs as a retreat, a place to hide and eat their captured prey.
They are not considered dangerous to humans, though they do give a painful bite, which clears up in a couple of days.
14. Southern Black Widow
Scientific name: Latrodectus mactans.
Common name: southern black widow, simply black widow, shoe-button spider.
The Southern black widow is a shoe button spider and one of the venomous spiders you may encounter in New Mexico.
Females are known for their shiny black bodies with a red hourglass mark on their bellies. Often, they eat their mate after reproduction, which gave them their name “widow spider.” Some females have a yellow or orange hourglass rather than red. The female sizes also vary based on age and whether they are gravid or not.
Males are purple or gray in color with white stripes and yellow and orange spots. They create a cobweb, which is used to capture prey.
The female black widow is notorious for its venom, but it is only mature females that can cause problems in healthy humans. The amount of venom injected also varies, which means you can experience anything from very mild symptoms or more serious symptoms if bitten. Always seek medical attention if bitten by a female black widow.
15. Tucson Bronze Tarantula
Scientific name: Aphonopelma vorhiesi.
Common name: Tucson Bronze Tarantula.
The Tucson bronze tarantula is a large species that can grow to a leg span of 15cm or more.
Their venom is designed to help them take down prey, feeding on insects and other arthropods.
These brown tarantulas range from black to dark brown in males and females being a lighter brown.
They have a long life span and are not considered harmful to humans, though their large size, hairy bodies, and relatively fast speed can make them scarier than they actually are.
16. False Black Widow
Scientific name: Steatoda grossa.
Common name: False black widow, cupboard spider.
False black windows are known as cupboard spiders and are common in New Mexico. They are often confused as the venomous black widow.
The female grows to 10.5mm in body length and has a bulb-shaped abdomen, which is dark in color. Their coloration ranges from black to purple/brown with light-colored markings. They do not have a red hourglass pattern on their body.
Males are usually slightly smaller, at around 10mm in body length and their abdomens are more slender. They are similar in color, but males tend to have a red coloration on the legs.
They construct cobwebs, which are used to capture prey, they cannot hunt due to their poor eyesight.
While not aggressive, their bites are usually defensive, when the spider is pinched or squeezed, usually between skin and clothing. Their bites are medically significant, even though minor without long-lasting effects. It is recommended to get medical treatment if bitten by one of these spiders.
17. Carolina Wolf Spider
Scientific name: Hogna carolinensis.
Common name: Carolina wolf spider.
The Carolina wolf spider is the largest of the wolf spiders found in North America and can grow to 35mm for females and 20mm for males. They are brown mottled with a dark underside; males are orange on their sides. They do not make webs to capture prey, they are ambush predators.
They are known for the female carrying her egg sac with her and when the spiderlings hatch, they remain on the mother’s body.
They prefer open and flat areas, never wandering too far from their burrows.
18. Banded Garden Spider
Scientific name: Argiope trifasciata
Common name: banded garden spider, banded orb weaving spider.
The banded garden spider is an orb weaving spider that is common in New Mexico.
They can create webs up to sixty centimeters in diameter, fund between bushes and stems. The female sits in the web, upside down, waiting for potential prey to fall into the web. Males, which are smaller than females, are never far from the female.
19. Apache Jumping Spider
Scientific name: Phidippus apacheanus.
Common name: Apache jumping spider.
The Apache jumping spider is a large jumping spider that can grow to 22mm in gravid females.
They have incandescent green chilicerae and females are black with orange on the top of the cephalothorax and abdomen with a black stripe on the abdomen and yellow, orange, or red dorsal color with a black underside. They have light spots on the abdomen. Males are similar in color, with more red or orange.
They can be encountered in fields, deserts, grasslands, and on shrubs and perennial vegetation in dry areas.
20 Giant Crab Spider
Scientific name: Olios giganteus.
Common name: giant crab spider.
The giant crab spider is also known as the golden huntsman spider and is a large spider that’s body can fit in the palm of your hand, excluding the legs.
They are sandy brown in color with short airs. Their rounded abdomen is slightly smaller than the cephalothorax with a dark stripe down the abdomen, ending in a point.
These giant ambush predators wait on vertical surfaces, waiting for prey. They are fast and can jump to capture their prey.
They are known to wander into homes but prefer arid desert areas.
21. Desert Red Jumping Spider
Scientific name: Phidippus ardens.
Common name: Desert Red Jumping Spider.
The desert red jumping spider belongs to the Salticidae family of jumping spiders, excellent hunters with phenomenal eyesight.
They are not shy, but very docile, often as curious about you as you are of them. Often you can see their large eyes watching you as you move past.
They only bite when provoked, often happy to jump onto a human hand and explore.
22. Goldenrod Crab Spider
Scientific name: Misumena vatia.
Common name: goldenrod crab spider, flower (crab) spider.
The goldenrod crab spider is also known as the flower crab spider and is common in goldenrod sprays and milkweeds. They are known as crab spiders for their ability to walk forwards, backward, and sideways.
Females grow to 10mm in body length, with males growing half the size.
They are white or yellow or a pattern of white and yellow, though some have pale green or pink to replace the yellow. They can change colors based on their environment, which happens during the molting process.
They can consume prey larger than themselves.
They have wide and flat bodies with the first two pairs of legs being the longest.
23. Brown Widow
Scientific name: Latrodectus geometricus.
Common name: brown widow, brown button spider, grey widow, brown black widow, house button spider, geometric button spider.
The brown widow is also known as the brown button spider. These spiders have white and black patterns on the side of their bulb-shaped abdomen with an orange to yellow hourglass on their belly.
They give a painful bite, though not considered as dangerous to the black widow, they still require medical attention.
These spiders range from black to gray or dark brown and tan and have banding on their legs.
They have a neurotoxic venom that acts on the nerve endings. The effects of this spider’s toxin are usually contained to the bite area and surrounding tissues.
24. Desert Blonde Tarantula
Scientific name: Aphonopelma chalcodes.
Common name: Desert blonde tarantula, western desert tarantula, Arizona blond tarantula, Mexican blond tarantula.
The desert blonde tarantula is also known as a western desert tarantula. Their carapace is covered in pale hairs, which contrasts to the abdomen and legs. They are large-bodied spiders that can grow to 13cm in leg span.
They burrow under the ground and are more common during the rainy seasons.
Females are usually uniform tan, while males have black legs, a red-colored abdomen, and copper cephalothorax. Females can grow to 56mm with males growing to 44mm in body length.
They prefer desert soil and live in burrows that they create which are deep, helping them manage fluctuating temperatures.
Their bites are not considered medically significant and are no worse than a bee sting.
25. Grass Spiders
Grass spiders are funnel weavers that were first described in 1869. They weave sheet webs with a funnel shelter on the end. These are not sticky webs.
They are large spiders that can grow to 19mm in body length with eight eyes, arranged in three rows. They also have two hind spinnerets, banding on their legs, and two dark bands on the sides of the cephalothorax.
26. Colonus hesperus
The colonus hesperus can grow to 7mm in body length and have a yellow abdomen with black dots and patterns.
They are often found in trees with mature specimens being observed throughout the year. They are jumping spiders belonging to the Salticidae family with excellent sight and fantastic jumping abilities, which are used to ambush prey and escape predators.
27. White-banded Crab Spider
Scientific name: Misumenoides formosipes
Common name: white-banded crab spider.
White-banded crab spiders are sit-and-wait predators, that capture pollinators visiting the flower where the spider is hiding. They have exceptionally strong front legs, which they use to seize their prey.
Females are larger than males with variable patterns. Females range between white and yellow. Males differ from females with a golden abdomen and dark legs.
They have a white ridge below their bottom row of eyes, giving them their name.
Females can grow to 11.3mm in body length with a rounded posterior. Males are smaller, growing to 3.2mm in body length with longer front legs, darker colored legs, and a golden abdomen.
Males are unable to change their color based on their surroundings, whereas females can change color when molting to ensure they blend in with their surroundings.
28. Hogna antelucana
This is a tan, white and black wolf spider. Wolf spiders are large and fast, which can scare home owners when the spider accidentally wanders into the home, searching for a mate or next meal.
They are not considered dangerous to humans, though they can give a painful bite.
29. 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 better known as Daddy Long Legs and were first recorded in 1775.
Females have a body length of 8mm, with males being smaller.
They prey on other spiders, including some venomous and dangerous spiders.
They do live in human buildings but are not usually a nuisance, as they hide in their webs in dark corners out of the way.
They have a translucent body of pale gray to brown with a dark spot on the cephalothorax and dark spots on the abdomen. They have exceptionally poor eyesight and are known to bounce in their webs, making themselves blurry to potential prey and predators.