There are more than 200 species of spiders in Tennessee. This article looks at the particularities of the most popular spiders in Tennessee, also known as ‘The Volunteer State’.
The following list of Tennessee spiders is ordered from the most popular species to the least popular spider species.
1. 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.
The Yellow Garden Spider is popular across Tennessee and US gardens. This spider is easy to identify as it features black and yellow coloration on the abdomen. Female spiders tend to have more vivid coloration and they’re also bigger than male spiders.
The female Yellow Garden Spider is known for weave a large circular web, typically in gardens. Male Yellow Garden Spiders weave a smaller zigzag weave somewhere close most of the time.
This species is not dangerous to humans. While it does make venom, the Yellow Garden Spider can only use it to immobilize flies, bees, and similarly-sized insects.
2. Orchard Orbweaver
Scientific name: Leucauge venusta
Common name: orchard orbweaver.
The Orchard spider is an orbweaver species with venom that isn’t dangerous to humans.
Orchard spiders are typically found in orchards, are their name implies.
The web is horizontal and the spider is typically found hanging upside down in its center position.
This spider can easily be recognized by its green legs and striped carapace. While coloration can vary their size is similar to other orb weavers.
Males are smaller than females. A male orchard spider measures up to 4mm. The female is larger and can measure up to 7.5mm.
3. Spotted Orbweaver
Scientific name: Neoscona crucifera
Common name: Hentz orbweaver, spotted orbweaver, barn spider.
Common in gardens and woodlands, Spotter Orbweaver spiders are easily recognizable with their distinct red legs. They are nocturnal spiders preferring to hide at the edge of a weave that can reach 2 feet in diameter during the day.
The Araneidae spider is mostly active during the summer. However, female Spotted Orbweaver spiders can also be spotted in autumn.
4. Tan Jumping Spider
Scientific name: Platycryptus undatus
Common name: tan jumping spider.
This is a species of spider that jump after its prey. The Tan Jumping Spider is one of the friendliest hairy brown spiders to humans. However, it’s not a friendly spider when it comes to insects as it has good vision and it jumps up to 5 times its length.
Apart from jumping the spider has an arsenal of tools to use to immobilize its prey. For example, it shoots spider silk at the insect it plans to attack. It’s also not uncommon for this spider species to jump directly on the insects it plans to ambush.
5. Bold Jumping Spider
Scientific name: Phidippus audax
Common name: daring jumping spider, bold jumping spider.
One of the most difficult spiders to recognize is the Bold Jumping Spider with its various sizes and colors.
Male Bold Jumping Spiders are can measure up to 15mm but the average sits at around 8 mm. Female spiders are larger and they can reach 18mm, but the average size is 11mm.
The spider doesn’t weave spider webs. In simply moves or jumps around when hunting. Exceptions apply particularly during the mating period when the Bold Jumping Spider can use webbing to lay eggs.
6. Dark Fishing Spider
Scientific name: Dolomedes tenebrosus
Common name: dark fishing spider.
The Dark Fishing Spider lives near water. It has been reported to hunt small water insects, hence its Fishing Spider name.
This spider has distinct brown and black coloration being easy to spot given its large size.
The female spider grows to between 15 and 26mm in adulthood. The male spider is smaller as it grows up to 13mm in adulthood.
Both the female and the male spider are rather harmless to humans. Their bites are generally not followed by a severe health reaction being often compared to a wasp sting.
7. Arrowhead Orbweaver
Scientific name: Verrucosa arenata.
Common name: triangle orb weaver, arrowhead spider, arrowhead orbweaver.
This rare species of Orbweaver spider is shaped like an arrow. Instead of being shaped like a bulb-like spider of its species, it looks like the tip of an arrow. It features red coloration with a distinct arrow-like yellow abdomen.
This spider is also a rarity among Orbweavers when it comes to its sitting position. It sits with its head up waiting for its prey. The spider uses venom to immobilize small insects.
Another particularity of the spider species is the rare sights of its males, which are believed not to have the yellow arrow-like abdomen coloration.
8. Furrow Orbweaver
Scientific name: Larinioides cornutus
Common name: furrow spider, furrow orb spider, foliate spider.
The Furrow spider is characterized by oval abdomens. They come in various colors such as black and grey. Some of these spiders also feature arrow-like coloration on their abdomens.
The Furrow Orbweaver is a type of spider that prefers moist environments. This is why it’s mostly found around sources of water. But it’s also one of the spiders that live in human-made constructions such as under the porch in large numbers.
It weaves a web at grass level where it catches prey. The spider typically comes out at night.
9. Brown Recluse
Scientific name: Loxosceles reclusa
Common name: brown recluse, fiddleback spider, brown fiddler, violin spider.
The Brown Recluse spider is a recluse spider, a type of brown violin spider.
The definite identification method involves analyzing its eyes. This spider species has 6 eyes arranged in pairs.
Most importantly, it’s the first spider on the list with a potentially harmful bite to humans.
Spider web is characterized by irregular shapes. However, almost all Brown Recluse spiders prefer to build their web in various shelters such as garages, as far away from human activity as possible.
Various extermination actions took place in the US targeting a growing population of the species. Still, they can be extremely resilient going almost a full year without food or water.
10. Green Lynx Spider
Scientific name: Peucetia viridans
Common name: green lynx spider.
Characterized by a distinct green color this spider species is mostly found in green shrub plants. It might be difficult to spot when sitting in green plants as it has an all-green body and green legs.
However, this is one of the most useful spiders in the agricultural industry. For example, it has wide uses in the cotton industry as it hunts species of moths.
The Green Lynx Spider is considered dangerous to humans. This is the largest Oxyopidae species spider and it can bite humans. Although the bit hurts it’s not considered life-threatening to humans.
11. Common House Spider
Scientific name: Parasteatoda tepidariorum.
Common name: common house spider, American house spider.
Always living close to humans and human activity, the Common House Spider mainly targets house insects and mosquitoes.
It’s rather small compared to the previous spiders as females grow up to 4.7mm and males up to 3.8mm.
Seen in a wide range of colors from brown to black, the Common House Spider typically shares the web (male and female on the same web). In some cases, females can become dominant as they fight other females.
12. American Nursery Web Spider
Scientific name: Pisaurina mira
Common name: American nursery web spiders.
This wandering spider is part of the Pisauridae family. It’s mostly found in woodlands and meadows where it’s known as an active hunter. It typically hunts gnats and mosquitoes. But the species of spider is mostly known for its radical or cannibalistic mating ritual.
The male American Nursery Web Spider is smaller than the female. It is also vulnerable to fatal attacks from females. This is the main reason the male spider uses its silk web to immobilize the female’s legs before mating. This also ensures the male is not eaten by the female.
The spider is generally not that dangerous to humans. It has venom that can kill small insects but it can’t kill humans.
13. Spined Micrathena
Scientific name: Micrathena gracilis.
Common name: spined micrathena, castleback orbweaver.
This spider species is largely found in oak forests. It has a distinct physical appearance, especially in the female population which is spotted frequently compared to the male spiders.
The female spider has white and black coloration with a distinct body with spikes. It is rather small compared to other spiders in Tennessee but it weaves a web of up to 7 inches in diameter.
This spider also travels a lot. It’s rarely seen on the same web more than a week in a row.
The Spined Micrathena typically lives up to a year, being dormant in the winter. Females lay eggs in the areas they live in, humid areas of the woodlands.
14. Rabid Wolf Spider
Scientific name: Rabidosa rabida
Common name: rabid wolf spider.
The Rabid Wolf Spider is a striped spider of the Lycosidae species. It’s one of the most common wolf spider species in the state and even in the country.
Its sting is not dangerous to humans but since it lives in populated areas (specifically around garbage) it comes in contact with humans frequently.
This type of spider also lives a long life, with a lifespan of around 2 years. During its life, it eats a lot of insects such as ants, crickets, and grasshoppers. At the same time, this perfectly adapted spider isn’t afraid of larger insects or animals.
15. Long-bodied Cellar Spider
Scientific name: Pholcus phalangioides.
Common name: daddy long-legs spider, long-bodied cellar spider, skull spider.
This species of spider is easy to recognize with its very long legs. Often called ‘Dady Longlegs’, the spider has legs that are up to a few times longer than its body.
The spider is quite popular in the state and it mainly resides in cold damp places such as basements. It’s here that it spends most of its life. Alternatively, it can live near homes as well.
This spider isn’t dangerous to humans, but it is dangerous to other spiders, even to deadly spiders. It hunts spiders practically eliminating all other spider species in its environment.
Its silk is now heavily studied for potential benefits in health and medicine.
16. Golden Jumping Spider
Scientific name: Paraphidippus aurantius.
Common name: emerald jumping spider.
The Golden Jumping Spider is a type of jumping spider from the Salticidae family.
It’s an efficient spider when it comes to hunting its prey. With very good vision, this orange and vivid green spider is highly efficient at seeing and estimating where its potential prey insects might be heading when making a leap attack.
The spider is also largely seen around homes, but not necessarily around its web as it hunts for insects. However, this spider is generally fearful and prefers to hide than to come in contact with humans or large animals.
17. Southern Black Widow
Scientific name: Latrodectus mactans
Common name: southern black widow, simply black widow, shoe-button spider.
The Southern Black Widow is a venomous spider of the Latrodectus genus.
The spider gets its name from a potentially deadly habit of killing its male partner after reproduction. But this black spider is also dangerous to humans, not just to male Black Widow Spiders.
While generally not deadly, the venom of the Southern Black Widow can come with health complications that need wound treatment or antivenin shots.
The spider’s might can be complicated for humans who experience symptoms such as headaches and who need hospitalization.
To prevent Black Widow bites it’s best to wear gloves while gardening as many of these spiders hide under rocks and ground-level objects.
18. Arrow-shaped Orbweaver
Scientific name: Micrathena sagittata.
Common name: arrow-shaped micrathena.
As its name suggests, this spider is an orbweaver of the Araneidae family.
It’s one of the easiest spiders to recognize given its arrow-shaped body. With red legs and a bright yellow body, this spider is often seen on its web, especially the females of the species.
The spider is mostly seen in gardens and forests. It prefers these retreat natural places to create a spiral wheel-shaped web.
19. Thin-legged Wolf Spiders
Scientific name: Genus Pardosa.
Common name: Thin-legged Wolf Spiders.
This species of spider is characterized by its long legs and its love for humid environments. Easily found around water sources, the spider can be recognized by its black and gray stripes on the abdomen and carapace.
Thin-legged Wolf Spiders don’t build a web to catch prey. They hunt it by roaming around. This species of spider looks for insects both during the day and during the night.
20. Tigrosa annexa
As a species of Wolf spider, the Tigrosa annexa is recognizable by its mostly black, brown, and tan coloration. The spider is also characterized by a long carapace and thick strong legs.
The species is mostly seen in places with human activity. Unlike many spiders that are more active in the summer, the Tigrosa annexa is very active during the spring, particularly in April.
21. Marbled Orbweaver
Scientific name: Araneus marmoreus.
Common name: marbled orbweaver, pumpkin spider.
The Marbled Orbweaver is one of the largest Araneidae spiders. While males are smaller, female spiders of this species can reach sizes of up to 18mm.
But the looks of this spider are more striking. With a marbled carapace and a bright orange-red head, this spider stands out in its environment.
Marbled Orbweavers are spiders that weave a new web every day. The females are generally responsible for checking if something has caught onto the web.
These spiders, like other Araneidae, are most active during the summer and fall months.
22. White-jawed Jumping Spider
Scientific name: Hentzia mitrata.
Common name: white-jawed jumping spider.
This type of jumping spider is recognizable by its white-yellow color. Female White-jawed Jumping Spiders are larger than males of the species. It’s also believed the female spider is paler in color than the male spider.
Also characterized by hairy legs, this spider prefers water sources. The spider is difficult to spot in the same place as it prefers to roam around looking for prey.
23. American Green Crab Spider
Scientific name: Misumessus oblongus
Common name: American Green Crab Spider.
The American Green Crab Spider gets its name from its crab resemblance. With legs pointing to the sides, this is one of the spiders that can move freely in all directions.
But the distinct characteristic of the species is its neon-green color. The spider generally lives in plants and shrubs, hiding on green leaves. Its camouflage color is perfect for staying undetected by its prey such as bees and insects interested in collecting pollen.
The female of the species can also show interest in its eggs which are generally kept in proximity.
24. Triangulate Combfoot
Scientific name: Steatoda triangulosa
Common name: triangulate cobweb spider, triangulate bud spider.
This spider is part of the Steatoda genre. It’s one of the spiders that prey both other spiders as well as insects such as ants and ticks. This spider is known for hunting dangerous spider species such as the Brown recluse.
Interested in weaving a silk web, the poor-visibility spider is dependent on vibrations to determine movement.
This spider has arrived in Tennessee by travelers as it’s believed to be a native of other continents.
25. Magnolia Green Jumping Spider
Scientific name: Lyssomanes viridis
Common name: magnolia green jumping spider.
These jumping spiders get their name from their living location. Most of the spiders live on magnolia trees. This is why their green color almost makes them undetectable when laying on green magnolia leaves.
The spider hunts aphids, ants, and other insects. On occasion, it also hunts other spiders.
The Magnolia Green Jumping Spider is quite fast. It can jump a distance equivalent to 3-4 times its size.
Another characteristic of the species is given by reproductive habits. The female spider lays eggs under green leaves for extra protection.
26. Putnam's Jumping Spider
Scientific name: Phidippus putnami.
Common name: Putnams jumping spider.
This hairy spider is a type of agile jumping spider. With its short legs, its cable of jumping up to 5 times the length of its rectangular body at its prey. The spider shoots a line of silk at bugs and insects when jumping for an attack to prevent them from escaping.
The spider is mostly found on leaves out in nature. It prefers curled leaves as these provide better security and a place where it can hide waiting for its prey.
These jumping spiders are generally not dangerous to humans.
27. Banded Fishing Spider
Scientific name: Dolomedes vittatus.
Common name: Banded Fishing Spider.
The Banded Fishing Spider is a large species that live next to water sources. These spiders are known for lurking at water surface-level looking for prey. Short hairs that can’t get wet cover the body of the spiders. This allows them to float at surface level.
They can often be surprising in their prey choices. Both small fish and small water insects are among its favorite prey.
Banded Fishing Spiders aren’t considered dangerous to humans, but they can appear dangerous at first glimpse given their size.
These spiders grow up to 4 inches. Their large size doesn’t stop them from being fast, however.
28. White-banded Fishing Spider
Scientific name: Dolomedes albineus
Common name: white-banded fishing spider.
The White-banded Fishing Spider is a Dolomedes species. Like other Dolomedes, it lives around water sources. Most White-banded spiders have white and brown colors on their bodies and legs. Others are known for having a green color.
Growing to a size of 23 mm (females), the spider can look a bit scary to humans. But it is not dangerous to people.
29. Basilica Orbweaver
Scientific name: Mecynogea lemniscata.
Common name: basilica orbweaver.
The Beasicila orbweb spider is almost impossible not to spot out in nature. It has a long body with yellow, white, and green stripes.
This spider species gets its name from the domes of cathedrals as their shape resembles its weave, which is cherished properly by the spider. This basilica spider rarely creates new weaves as it prefers to put all the attention to one web and repair it as needed.
Weaves are typically created at the top of the plants by this spider. This is where it can be easily spotted out in the garden or meadows.
While small (it only grows up to 9mm), the spider stands out with its rainbow of stripes and vivid coloration.
30. Black-tailed Red Sheetweaver
Scientific name: Florinda coccinea.
Common name: blacktailed red sheetweaver, red grass spider.
This species of spiders aren’t as easily recognized as others. Part of the Linyphiidae family, the spider is red and it resembles red ants.
It’s a bit different in size from most other popular spiders as males and females grow to almost the same size, females still being larger than males.
These spiders are interested in insects and they build threads and sheets to catch the flies. The Black-tailed Red Sheetweaver also has complex mating habits as it takes the male a few tries to approach the female.
31. Six-spotted Fishing Spider
Scientific name: Dolomedes triton
Common name: six-spotted fishing spider, dock spider.
Six-spotted Fishing Spiders live next to water sources. These are some of the most determined fishing spiders as they hunt prey carefully.
The spiders often hunt at the surface of the water where they make concentric waves to determine the exact location of their prey, which is often larvae. The spiders are also known for diving for small fish. They can dive deep up to a few times the size of their body.
The spiders are also hungry every day as they eat a few times their body weight each day.
They only hunt during the day.