Spiders In Wisconsin

Wisconsin is home to hundreds of spider species, though chances are you will never encounter all of them. Are you wondering what spider you found in your yard or home? Are you curious about the spider you saw when walking in nature with your family?

While we cannot list all the spider species, we have put a list together of the most common spiders in Wisconsin, from the most commonly encountered species to some of the least encountered spiders.

1. Yellow Garden Spider

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 female yellow garden spider is larger than the male. The female can grow to 28mm in body length, while males only grow to 9mm n body length.

They have a shiny bulb-shaped abdomen with yellow or orange markings on a black background. They have silver hairs on their cephalothorax (the head space, where the legs attach). The legs are black with red or yellow sections near the body.

The yellow garden spider is a member of the orb-weaver family with three claws on its feet. The third claw helps the spider handle the threads of silk as it spins its web.

They prefer areas with an abundance of sunshine, often found in shrubs, flowers, and tall plants.

2. Cross Orbweaver

Cross orb weaver

Scientific name: Araneus diadematus.

Common name: European garden spider, diadem spider, orangie, cross spider, crowned orb weaver, pumpkin spider.

The cross spider has a white cross marking on its brown abdomen, making it easy to identify.

They were originally from Europe and transported to North America, where they are thriving with a similar climate and habitat.

They are not considered a pest, even though they are not native.

They are not harmful to humans.

Females are considerably larger than the male with some females eating the male after mating.

They only live twelve months.

Both genders are brown with short hairs on their legs, which are brown with tan banding. They have white hairs on the cephalothorax and an abdomen with a cross made up of white dashes and dots, which sit on a V-shaped center.

They hang upside down in the center of the web with the legs tucked under. They will drop to the ground if startled or feel threatened.

They are common in woodlands, meadows, grasslands, deserts, forests, and gardens.

3. Bold Jumping Spider

Female bold jumping spider

Scientific name: Phidippus audax.

Common name: daring jumping spider, bold jumping spider.

Bold jumping spiders have eight eyes with the forward-facing eyes being the largest with smaller eyes to the lateral side and some of the top of the head. They have excellent eyesight, which is essential for hunting.

Females grow to 15mm in body length and males to 13mm in body length.

They are hairy with a black abdomen and cephalothorax with white hairs. The abdomen has a large triangular-shaped white spot with two small spots to the posterior and lateral of the main spot.

Juveniles sometimes have orange spots rather than white. The chelicerae are green.

They have very powerful back legs, which helps the spider jump more than four times its body length.

They are common in prairies, grasslands, open woodlands, fields, and backyards.

4. Dark Fishing Spider

Female dark fishing spider

Scientific name: Dolomedes tenebrosus.

Common name: dark fishing spider.

The dark fishing spider can grow up to 90mm in leg span. Females have a body length of 26mm with males being smaller at around 13mm. They are brown with chevron markings and light stripes n the legs.

They prefer wooded areas where they live in trees.

5. Zebra Jumping Spider

Zebra jumping spider

Scientific name: Salticus scenicus.

Common name: zebra jumping spider.

The female zebra jumping spider can grow to 9mm with males being smaller, at around 6mm in body length. Males have larger chelicerae than the female.

They have large anterior median eyes with eight eyes in total. They are small spiders with black and white hairs, forming zebra stripes.

They are harmless to humans with a bite that is no worse than a bee sting.

6. Goldenrod Crab Spider

Goldenrod crab spider

Scientific name: Misumena vatia.

Common name: goldenrod crab spider, flower (crab) spider.

The goldenrod crab spider can use its camouflage as a defense and to capture prey. They will bite to protect themselves, though they are harmless to humans. They are able to change color over a few days to blend in with their environment.

These are small ambush spiders that can entrap prey much larger than themselves. They sit on a flower waiting for pollinating insects to land.

They prefer goldenrod flowers, as they are yellow, which helps them camouflage with ease.

They have long front legs they use to grab their prey. They do not spin webs and wait for prey to get entangled.

Males are smaller than females with dark black front legs and pale green back legs. They have a cream to white colored abdomen with two red lines on the center.

Females are white or yellow and may have red bands or red stripes on the side, though not all females have the markings. Females have pale legs.

Further Reading:

7. American Nursery Web Spider

American nursery web spiders

Scientific name: Pisaurina mira

Common name: American nursery web spiders.

The American nursery spider is an ambush predator and does not rely on a web to capture prey.

They get their name from the way the female takes great care of her egg sac. She will gently carry the sac with her fangs, creating a web in shrubs and high weeds, usually suspending it inside a leaf, making it less visible. She then covers the sac in layers of silk, guarding it until the eggs hatch.

The spiderlings stay in the sac for approximately a week before heading out on their own.

Males vary slightly from the female, females have light brown to tan bodies with a dark brown streak down the middle, males have a lighter colored streak.

8. Banded Garden Spider

Female band garden spider

Scientific name: Argiope trifasciata

Common name: banded garden spider, banded orb weaving spider.

Banded garden spiders are orb weavers that build an orb-shaped web between the plants found in garden beds. The spider then sits in the center of the web, upside down, waiting for prey to get ensnared.

Their colors can vary with some being red/brown with white banding and others being black with yellow and white banding. They get darker as they age.

Legs are banded in the same colors as the head and abdomen. Their abdomen is wide and round with a furry carapace, that is covered in silver hairs.

They are mostly active from mid-summer.

Males, which are much smaller than the female, sit at the edge of the female’s web before mating. Females will bite if guarding their eggs.

Their webs can be found close to the ground between tall grass, shrubs, and gardens.

9. Marbled Orbweaver

Marbled orbweaver

Scientific name: Araneus marmoreus.

Common name: marbled orbweaver, pumpkin spider.

Marbled orbweavers have a marbled pattern on their abdomens with orange on their upper legs and heads and black and white banding on the lower legs. Some have orange or yellow abdomens, some are black and orange, black and white, or black and yellow. They are colorful and pretty spiders.

They prefer wooded areas near a permanent water source and can be found on shrubs, reeds, and tall grass.

Females tend to stay hidden in their webs and will drop to the ground if she senses danger.

They are not aggressive and are not considered harmful to humans.

10. Grey Cross Spider

Gray cross spider

Scientific name: Larinioides sclopetarius.

Common name: bridge spider, gray cross spider.

The gray cross spider has a size difference between the male and female. Females can grow to 6.25mm and males to 7mm.

They have white hair o their heads that create a silhouette and dark markings on the abdomen.

They are often observed near night lights near bridges and boats, as the lights attract insects.

11. Long-bodied Cellar Spider

Daddy long-legs spider

Scientific name: Pholcus phalangioides.

Common name: daddy long-legs spider, long-bodied cellar spider, skull spider.

Long bodied cellar spiders are often referred to as Daddy Long Legs and have a long tube-shaped abdomen with a rounded bottom and tapered waist.

They have exceptionally bad eyesight and rely on the vibrations in their web to identify when the prey has been ensnared.

They are known to bounce on their web to make it blurred and harder to see. They also hang upside-down waiting for insects to get caught up in their webs.

They have very small mouths with tiny fangs, making it difficult to bite a human, even though they are considered venomous.

12. Furrow Orbweaver

Furrow spider

Scientific name: Larinioides cornutus.

Common name: furrow spider, furrow orb spider, foliate spider.

Furrow orbweavers can grow to 14mm in body length for females and 9mm for males with a 35mm leg span.

They have large oval-shaped abdomens in gray, red, and black. The carapace on the abdomen has a light shaded arrow that points towards the cephalothorax and the same pattern can be seen on the legs.

They have eight eyes, arranged in a horizontal row of six eyes with two eyes just above the center row.

The furrow orbweaver prefers moist areas, close to water. They build their webs in low shrubs and between grass where they hide during the day, remaking their web at night.

13. Tan Jumping Spider

Female tan jumping spider

Scientific name: Platycryptus undatus.

Common name: tan jumping spider.

Tan jumping spiders belong to the Salticidae family and are ambush predators that do not create webs to catch their food.

They are fast and able to jump more than four times their body length.

They shoot out a single strand of silk towards their prey, which reduces the chances of the insect escaping. Once the dragline is in place, the spider bites their prey and drags them back to their web retreat.

These hairy and brown spiders are friendly and can be handled, though they will bite if handled roughly. They are not harmful and their bite is no worse than a bee sting.

14. Eastern Parson Spider

Eastern parson spider

Scientific name: Herpyllus ecclesiasticus.

Common name: eastern parson spider.

Eastern parson spiders have a white stripe on their back abdomen, similar to a ruffled necktie worn by men of the clergy back in the eighteenth century.

They are hairy, medium-sized, and very fast. They are ground spiders and do not spin webs to catch prey.

They are nocturnal and will roam the walls and ground to search for insects at night. They hide under rocks and debris during the day.

They are often encountered indoors.

They are not considered venomous, but some people do experience an allergic reaction to their venom, which can rest in breathing problems and facial swelling. If you start to experience an allergic reaction, seek medical attention immediately.

15. Striped Fishing Spider

Striped fishing spider

Scientific name: Dolomedes scriptus.

Common name: Striped fishing spider.

The striped fishing spider does not always need to be found near water.

They are often misidentified as tarantulas and wolf spiders. They are a black and brown mottled color with white markings and a W shape on their abdomens. Their legs are held straight out and are banded with brown.

They are commonly encountered near shrubs, rocks, and vegetation close to water, but they are also found in wooded areas.

16. Northern Yellow Sac Spider

Northern yellow sac spider

Scientific name: Cheiracanthium mildei.

Common name: Northern yellow sac spider.

The Northern yellow sac spider creates a tube-like sac under the ground, sometimes in man-made structures. They hide during the day in their sacs in trees, forest floors, orchards, and agricultural areas.

These spiders are cream to light yellow, some have an orange/brown stripe down the abdomen. Their body color can be determined by their diet with those feeding on house flies being gray, those eating fruit flies being red.

Females are larger than the male, growing to 10mm with males at 4mm in body length.

17. Spotted Orbweaver

Spotted orbweaver

Scientific name: Neoscona crucifera.

Common name: Hentz orbweaver, spotted orbweaver, barn spider.

Spotted orbweavers create an orb-shaped web that can reach up to two feet in diameter. During the day they hide in curled leaves near the edge of their webs.

They can be tan or orange in color, while some are yellow/brown. The markings on their abdomens can also vary, with some having a visible zigzag pattern and others having a barely visible pattern. They have bristles on their heads, thorax, legs, and abdomen.

Spotted orbweavers can be encountered in gardens, parks, back yards, fields, woodlands, and chaparrals.

They are mostly active from May to August. Being nocturnal they are not seen during the day.

18. Bronze Jumping Spider

Adult male bronze jumping spider

Scientific name: Eris militaris.

Common name: bronze jumper or bronze lake jumper.

Male bronze jumping spiders have dark cephalothorax with white banding on the sides with long chelicerae and alight colored abdomen with white bands. Females are lighter when it comes to their cephalothorax with a darker abdomen and no white banding. They have a short white band near the cephalothorax and white spots.

Females can grow to 8mm with males being smaller, growing to around 6.7mm in body length.

They are common in homes, wood, and fields.

They are harmless and will only bite if handled roughly, which is no worse than a bee sting and can be managed at home with a cold compress.

19. Shamrock Orbweaver

Shamrock orb weaver

Scientific name: Araneus trifolium.

Common name: Shamrock orb weaver.

Shamrock orbweavers have bold black and white legs and a bulb-shaped abdomen that can be light white, yellow, purple, or red. There are white specks on the abdomen along the midlife.

They create a new web each day and then sit upside down in their webs at night waiting for prey to get ensnared.

They are not considered harmful to humans and will drop from their web to the ground to escape rather than be aggressive.

20. Arabesque Orbweaver

Female Arabesque Orbweaver

Scientific name: Neoscona arabesca.

Common name: Arabesque Orbweaver.

Arabesque is the name used for the tiles seen on Moorish buildings made of rich and intricate drawings. This is a great way to describe this spider from the orbweaver family.

They vary in color from brown or orange, with some being black or gray.

Females are larger than the male with a wide and rounded abdomen.

There are short lines and dashes on the center of the abdomen and thick black dashes on the sides, decreasing in size as they move to the back.

Females create new webs every day. Their webs can be found in short bushes with high traffic areas being avoided. At night, females sit in the center of their webs, upside down, waiting for prey to get ensnared in the web.

Males can often be seen hiding on connecting branches or leaves close to the female’s web.

21. Asiatic Wall Jumping Spider

Female Asiatic Wall Jumping Spider

Scientific name: Attulus fasciger.

Common name: Asiatic Wall Jumping Spider.

Asiatic wall jumping spiders are brown to back in color with eight eyes they can grow to 0.16 inches (4mm) in body length. Males are slightly smaller and more slender than the female with black palps.

They originate from north and west Asia and were introduced to North America in the 1950s.

They prefer man-made structures where their mottled brown and gray help them camouflage. They love artificial lighting which attracts insects at night.

As with other jumping spiders, they do not spin webs to catch prey but are active ambush predators that can jump more than four times their body length to capture prey or escape predators, including humans.

22. Spined Micrathena

Adult female spined micrathena

Scientific name: Micrathena gracilis.

Common name: spined micrathena, castleback orbweaver.

The female spined Micrathena has pointed ridges on her abdomen, making her less appealing to predators. She is black, white, and brown in color, helping her camouflage in the dense forest floor. The colors do vary, some are more brown, while others are black and white.

The male does not have sharp ridges and is more black and white in coloration. They have a narrower waist than the female.

Females sit in the center of the web, which is built in a circle shape, which is rebuilt every day.

23. Orchard Orbweaver

Adult female orchard orbweaver

Scientific name: Leucauge venusta

Common name: orchard orbweaver.

Orchard orbweavers with a horizontally orientated web where the spider hangs upside-down waiting for prey to get entangled.

hey have leaf green legs and sides, though some can be orange or dark green. The underside has yellow and black spots, the top is silver with black and brown streaks.

They have bright orange, red or yellow spots at the back of the abdomen, which vary in size, some species don’t have the spots at all.

24. Woodlouse Spider

Woodlouse spider

Scientific name: Dysdera crocata.

Common name: woodlouse hunter, sowbug hunter, sowbug killer, pillbug hunter, slater spider.

Female woodlouse spiders grow to 15mm in body length, with males being slightly smaller at 10mm in body length. They have size eyes with an orange to dark red cephalothorax and legs. Their abdomens are beige to yellow/brown and shiny.

They are commonly found under rocks, plant pots, leaf litter, and bricks where it is warm and there are plenty of woodlice, which is the spiders chosen diet.

They do make their way into homes from time to time. They hide during the day and hunt at night, they do not spin webs.

They will bite if handled, though they are not considered medically significant and only cause localized itching.

25. Common House Spider

Common house spider

Scientific name: Parasteatoda tepidariorum.

Common name: common house spider, American house spider.

Common house spiders can vary in color, some are tan to those that are almost black, they usually have patterns on their body.

Females can grow to 6mm in body length and males to 4.7mm. Their leg span can be an inch or more. Females have a bulb-shaped abdomen with the males being more slender.

Even though they live close to humans, they can camouflage themselves, helping them live in homes unnoticed.

They are not aggressive and your hand can get very close to their web without the risk of a bite. They will bite in self-defense.

They have bad vision and will often play dead if threatened.

26. Six-spotted Fishing Spider

Six-spotted fishing spider

Scientific name: Dolomedes triton

Common name: six-spotted fishing spider, dock spider.

Six spotted fishing spiders are large spiders with distinctive markings. They have eight eyes with excellent vision.

The body is gray to brown with white to pale cream stripe that runs down either side of the cephalothorax. There are light-colored spots on the abdomen and light lines down the side of the abdomen. The underside has six dark spots at the bottom of the cephalothorax.

Females are larger than the male, growing to 20mm in body length and a 60mm leg span, males are only 13mm in body length.

They vary based on their location. They are semi-aquatic and prefer wetland habitats, where they can be found between rocks vegetation, and even on boat docks.

27. Six-spotted Orbweaver

Six-spotted orb weaver

Scientific name: Araniella displicata.

Common name: Six-spotted orb weaver.

Six spotted orbweavers belong to the orbweaver, known for their orb-shaped webs, which can be up to two feet in diameter. They remake their web every day with the female hanging upside down in the web at night, waiting for prey to get entrapped.

The male is usually not far away, often sitting on a branch or leaf close to the female’s web when it comes close to mating time.

They are not aggressive but will give a painful bite if threatened, which is not medically significant and can be managed at home.

28. Tuft-legged Orbweaver

Tuft-legged Orbweaver

Scientific name: Mangora placida.

Common name: Tuft-legged Orbweaver

Tuft-legged orbweavers create a fine mesh web, which is different from other orbweavers. It is made with a tighter construction and fewer gaps, which allows large and small insects to get ensnared. They build vertical webs.

The long hairs on the spider’s legs help them navigate their webs with ease without damaging them.

These mottled brown spiders can blend in seamlessly with wood and leaf litter and are often found in forest undergrowth, tall grass, meadows, fields, and shrubs.

29. Common White-cheeked Jumping Spider

Male common white-cheeked jumping spider

Scientific name: Pelegrina proterva.

Common name: common white-cheeked jumping spider

The common white-cheeked jumping spider is a member of the Salticidae family and can grow to 5.6mm in body length for females and 4.2mm for males.

These harmless spiders can jump more than four times their body length, which helps them with ambushing prey and escaping predators.

Their webs are created as a retreat, not to capture prey.

When chasing prey, they shoot out a single strand of silk to stop the prey from escaping. It is then dragged back to their retreat to be eaten as and when wanted.

30. Common Candy-striped Spider

Female common candy-striped spider

Scientific name: Enoplognatha ovata.

Common name: common candy-striped spider.

Common candy-striped spiders belong to the Theridiidae family and are native to Europe and were introduced to North America.

They grow to 6mm in body length with translucent legs and a bulb-shaped abdomen.

They vary in color and pattern with the background color being green, white, or cream with a row of dark spots and a broad red stripe or two red stripes in a V shape.

Even though they are small, they can prey on insets larger than themselves.

31. White-jawed Jumping Spider

White-jawed jumping spider

Scientific name: Hentzia mitrata.

Common name: white-jawed jumping spider.

White jawed jumping spiders are small spiders growing to around 3mm in body length and often go unnoticed due to their tiny size.

The name Mitrata means head dress in Latin and refers to the crown of red hairs on the spider head. They are copper I color and excellent jumpers. They are ambush predators and tend to wander from one place to the next looking for their next meal.

Their webs are created for molting and laying eggs.

They have large front eyes, which you can see watching you.

They are not dangerous and will not cause harm if you accidentally squash or are rough with them and they give you a bite, their bite is the same as a bee sting in intensity, which heals quickly.

32. Filmy Dome Spider

Filmy dome spider

Scientific name: Neriene radiata.

Common name: filmy dome spider.

Filmy dome spiders are sheet weavers and are known for their unique-shaped webs. They have superfine silk which they weave into a dome-like sheet.

These small, nocturnal spiders remain hidden in leaf litter during the day.

They can vary in color with some having a black or brown body with white or yellow stripes on the side of the abdomen. Others are black and white and some are two-toned with a brown cephalothorax and black and white abdomen.

Males are smaller than the female with an elongated abdomen. Females have bulb-shaped abdomen.

They prefer wooded areas and are can be found close to the ground.

33. Dimorphic Jumping Spider

Dimorphic Jumping Spider

Scientific name: Maevia inclemens.

Common name: Dimorphic Jumping Spider.

Dimorphic means two forms, which is true for this jumping spider. The male can be black with yellow legs or tan with red marks on the abdomen. The two variants are very different. Females are paler versions of the tan male with a body covered in short hairs.

They can jump great distances at a rapid speed, helping them ambush prey and escape threats. They are small but will bite if threatened or provoked.

34. Broad-Faced Sac Spider

Broad-faced sac spider

Scientific name: Trachelas tranquillus.

Common name: broad-faced sac spider.

Broad-faced sac spiders are solid-colored spiders with a shiny dark brown or red cephalothorax. The solid-colored abdomen is tan or gray with a dull sheen. Their legs are tan-brown or red with the front pair being darker.

Females are larger than males growing to 10mm in body length and a leg span of 16mm.

35. Triangulate Combfoot

Triangulate cobweb spider

Scientific name: Steatoda triangulosa.

Common name: triangulate cobweb spider, triangulate bud spider.

The triangulate combfoot spider has a triangular pattern on the abdomen. It is a common house spider that hides in dark corners of rooms and outbuildings. They have bad eyesight and rely on vibrations to tell them when prey is ensnared in their webs.

They eat a variety of insects and spiders.

They are not aggressive towards humans and are not considered dangerous.

They rebuilt their webs daily, spending the night waiting for insects to get ensnared.

36. Brilliant Jumping Spider

Adult Male Brilliant Jumping Spider

Scientific name: Phidippus clarus.

Common name: Brilliant Jumping Spider.

The brilliant jumping spider has excellent vision, which is used to locate prey. They can jump considerable distances in rapid-fire motion, which they use to capture prey and escape predators.

They are often found in old fields, living in flowers and sharing their habitat with medium-sized crab spiders.

They sit on the top of a plant upside-down waiting for prey to pass below, they then jump down and capture the prey.

37. Nordmann’s Orbweaver

Nordmann’s Orbweaver

Scientific name: Araneus nordmanni.

Common name: Nordmann’s Orbweaver.

The Nordmann’s orbweaver belongs to the orbweaver family, known for their large circular webs that can reach up to two feet in diameter.

These spiders spend their day repairing and rebuilding their webs, lying upside down in the center of the web at night waiting for prey to get entangled.

This spider has brown and black banding on the legs and a dark bulb-shaped abdomen with white patches.

They are not considered harmful to humans.

38. Conical Trashline Orbweaver

Conical Trashline Orbweaver

Scientific name: Cyclosa conica.

Common name: Conical Trashline Orbweaver.

The conical trashline orbweaver creates webs that are more conspicuous than the spider itself. They create small circular webs that the spider decorates with debris, including the husks of eaten insects.

The tiny spider is then well camouflaged in the web, where they sit upside down in the center.

These spiders vary from gray to brown and some are tan, others have some white, yellow, black, or rust-red coloration