Various species of spiders with spikes exist around the world. They live across North America, Asia, South America, and Australia.
A large number of species are specific tropical forests of the world. These spiders may be small, but they like high-moisture habitats.
Spiders with spines can number several pairs of spines. These spines can be straight, cone-shaped, or barely visible.
The research behind thorns or spikes on the spider is still evolving. Current data suggests these types of spikes are often seen in tropical species that evolved to protect themselves.
Why do Some Spiders Have Spikes
Some spiders have spikes to protect themselves from a long list of predators such as birds or even other larger spiders.
To keep predators away
A protective role is the main purpose of spikes on spiders. These spikes make the spiders difficult to chew for their predators.
An evolutionary trait, spiders with spikes are known for being less palatable to predators compared to smooth-body spiders.
While there are no direct data to show predators move away from spiders with spikes, this is believed to be the primary reason these species evolved into a type of spider with an unpalatable appearance.
To ensure females can defend themselves
It’s often the female that grows spines out of a need to protect eggs and carry egg sacs.
Males may also have spines, but these are normally shorter compared to those of females. This can also mean males which are rarely seen are less exposed to the risk of predation compared to females.
Female spiders are often more exposed to predation than males.
They build spider webs and are often above the ground which exposes them more compared to males who typically hide in vegetation or under leaves on the ground.
As a warning sign to predators
Spines may also be colored in a different color than the rest of the body. Red or yellow spikes on spiders may act as a warning sign potentially signaling a poisonous species not worth pursuing to predators.
Some predators such as frogs learn to stay away from these spiders with their colorful spines out of fear. They might not want to eat a spider with colorful spines as they might be perceived as venomous as well.
While many of these spiders are venomous, their venom is too weak to harm large animals or humans. Their venom is only used against small prey such as fleas and bees.
Some spiders such as Thorn spiders are even known to have curved spines. These spines may also help them be perceived as more powerful, similar to the horns of a bull.
21 Spiders with Spikes
The following spider species can be found around the world. Some may be diurnal while many are nocturnal. While sometimes venomous, these species are generally not dangerous to humans.
1. Spinybacked Orbweaver
Female Spinybacked Orbweavers (Gasteracantha cancriformis) are one of the spider species with spines that stand out.
There’s a visible difference between the females and the males of the species. It’s the females that have the long abdominal projections commonly known as spines as males lack them or have very short spines.
6 red spines are seen on the dorsum of the female Spinybacked Orbweaver in Florida and the Southeast. Black spines are seen on the female Spinybacked Orbweaver in other states and areas of North America.
The main color of the spider is white. Additional black dots are seen along the body of the spider between the spines.
In rare cases, Spinybacked Orbweavers can also be yellow with either red or black spines.
2. Spined Micrathena
Female Spined Micrathenas (Micrathena gracilis) are among the species with multiple spines. With a minimum of 6-8 spines, female spiders show an atypical spider look.
Spined Micrathenas are small spiders, often 10mm or smaller. Males have fewer spines while large females grow up to 10 black spines.
A white abdomen is specific to these spiders.
Females construct spider webs which are used and repaired for days and weeks. Spined Micrathenas are active from July to September, depending on their habitat.
They produce a small amount of venom which poses no harm to humans.
3. Arrow-shaped Orbweaver
Arrow-shaped Orbweavers (Micrathena sagittata) are known for their bodies shaped like an arrow.
As with other species of spiders with spikes, it’s the females that are spiked. The Arrow-shaped Orbweaver female has red, yellow, and black coloring.
The edges of the body and the legs are red. It’s here the outward-growing red and black spikes are seen.
A typical female has 6 spikes, 3 on each side. The spikes closer to the head are longer.
Most females of the species with red spikes also have black spike tips.
4. Starbellied Orbweaver
A nocturnal North American species, Starbellied Orbweavers (Acanthepeira stellata) also have a spiny abdomen.
This species is known for its bright color. A type of orbweaving spider, the female of the species makes and repairs the spider webs.
It’s also the female that has a spiny body. Some spikes are longer than others. At least 4 long spikes are seen together with up to 10 short spikes across the body of the female.
Females of the species are attached to the spider webs of the species and move around on the web at night.
5. Christmas Jewel Spider
Endemic to Australia, Christmas Jewel Spiders (Austracantha minax) grow to a size of up to 12mm.
These spiders having 6 long spines. These spines can be white, yellow, yellow-orange, or black.
A tendency to darken in color is specific to the spikes of The Christmas Spider.
This is a species that builds spider webs which is where the females live. Rarely seen males don’t have spikes.
Small amounts of venom are used by this species against small prey but it’s harmless to humans.
Christmas Jewel Spider bites are also very rare.
6. Black-and-white Spiny Spider
A small species, Black-and-white Spiny spiders (Gasteracantha kuhli) grow to a maximum size between 6 and 9mm.
These spiders have either black and white or black and yellow coloring.
6 long spines are seen across its body. These spines are typically black while the rest of the body is either white or yellow, with a glossy appearance.
Black-and-white Spiny Spiders live in woodlands and are specific to Asia. They can only be found in Japan and other Asian states where they prefer high moisture habitats in and around woodlands.
7. Two-spined Spider
As their name suggests, this (Poecilopachys Australasia) is a spider species with 2 long spines. However, only the female Two-spined Spiders have spines.
Males are small, spineless, and rarely spotted.
The female Two-spined Spider has 2 conical spines which are white and black.
These spines are larger compared to the size of its body and other spiders with spikes.
Native to Australia and New Zealand, this species also stands out with its olive, yellow, or green base color.
It’s this base green color or lime color that makes the species easy to overlook as these spiders often hide on citrus leaves.
8. Oriental Spiny Orb-Weaver
Native to Sri Lanka, The Oriental Spiny Orb-Weaver (Gasteracantha geminata) is a species known for its spiny contrasting appearance.
It features a varying number of abdominal spikes, both ventrally and dorsally.
A red or red-brown color is specific to its spikes.
The Oriental Spiny Orb-Weaver female has a larger body and larger visible spikes compared to smaller males.
A white and black contrasting appearance is specific to this species. The spikes are its only colorful part.
Females of the species can be found in the central section of the vertical spider web they build.
9. Micrathena sexspinosa
Shaped like an arrow, Micrathen Sexspinosa is a genus of spiders with long spines along the body.
These spiders have a red or brown color with large yellow abdomens that are shaped like an arrow.
Multiple small spikes are seen along their bodies.
Females of the species are among the few diurnal spiders of the genus.
Known for their micro size, this small spider can be even smaller in the case of males. Micrathena Sexspinosa females are larger and more active during the day.
The female builds spider webs and carried an egg sac until finding a safe spot to deposit it.
10. Amazon Thorn Spider
This species of Amazon spider (Micrathena schreibersi) is known for its spiky appearance and it resembles the type of an arrow.
Spiders of this genus have a black and white body with some showing black and yellow color combinations.
The spikes on these spiders are always black while the abdomen and the rest of the body are mostly white or yellow, with black margins.
Both small and long spines are seen along its body. Most spines are black but the longest spines may be black and red or black and brown.
11. Northern Jewelled Spider
Native to Queensland regions of Australia, The Northern Jewelled Spider (Gasteracantha fornicata) is among the species known for its spiny appearance.
Small black or brown spines are seen along the edges of its body.
A banded white and black or yellow and black appearance contrasts across its body.
This is a type of predatory spider specialized in eating only small prey. Some of the smallest flies and smallest bees are eaten by this spider.
This genus of spiders also builds orb-shaped spider webs to trap these small insects.
12. Long-horned Orbweaver
Multiple projections known as spines are specific to The Long-horned Orbweaver (Macracantha arcuata).
This species has both short and pointy projections as well as long and rounded projections.
As with many spiders with spikes, The Long-horned Orbweaver has its spines arranged on the edge of its body.
Spiders of the species are specifically found in the rainforest. It lives in Northeastern Australia where it thrives in a high-humidity environment.
These spiders are known to build and repair their spider webs multiple times due to the heavy rain specific to this region of Australia.
13. Hasselt’s Spiny Spider
Hasselt’s Spiny Spider (Macracantha hasselti) is one of the spider species with spines a few times longer than their bodies.
Native to India and other nearby countries, Hasselt’s Spiny Spiders have a red or yellow body with black dots and black spikes.
This spider species is known for its long spines at the back.
By comparison, these spines are 2 to 3 times longer than the body of the species.
In very rare cases, Hasselt’s Spiny Spiders may also be completely black, including the long rear spines.
This species grows to a maximum body size of up to 9mm.
14. Parallel-spined Spiny Orbweaver
Red, black, and gray colors are specific to The Parallel-spined Spiny Orbweaver (Gasteracantha diardi).
This species is native to Asia and it comes with 6 spikes of different sizes.
Arranged around its abdomen, this species is known for having shorter medium spines out of the 4 dark pairs.
The species may also feature dark or black spots on the abdomen or uniform coloring.
Found in Thailand and other nearby countries, Parallel-spined Spiny Orbweaver spiders build spider webs and repair their outer edges as often as needed to catch insects.
15. Shorthorn Kitespider
Shorthorn Kitespiders (Gasteracantha sanguinolenta) have a small body size. They grow between 5 and 9mm, at best.
The species has a mainly white color contrasted by black spots and black spines.
3 pairs of long black spike-line spines are specific to the Shorthorn Kitespider.
This species has black spines around the edge of its abdomen.
Spiders of this genus live in moist habitats such as woodlands.
Springtime marks a period of high activity and egg-laying for the species.
16. Spiny Orb-Weaver Spider
Tropical climates around the world are the home to The Spiny Orb-Weaver Spider (Gasteracantha diadesmia). This is a species that lives in high-humidity habitats in woodlands.
The species is named after the spiny appearance of the females, which have 6 spines around the abdomen.
Larger than males, female spiders are the only ones to have spines. Females are white and black, with red spines.
Males are mostly gray or black and may lack spines altogether.
Also known as The Thorn Spider due to its appearance, The Spiny Orb-Weaver Spider is a species known for their high distribution in Asian tropical climates.
17. Four-spined Spiny Orbweaver
The Four-spined Spiny Orbweavers (Gasteracantha quadrispinosa) are some of the smallest types of spiders with spines.
Even the largest females only grow to a size of 6mm, while males are smaller.
This species comes in red, orange, or yellow coloring. Unlike other types of spiders of this genus, its dark spots are typically grouped in the central area of the abdomen.
This species is distinct from other species in the spines’ numbers as well. It only has 4 spines as opposed to 6 spines on other spiders.
Having an oblong shape, these spiders are native to Australia’s Queensland.
18. Mediumwing Kitespider
Spines, an oblong shape, and multiple colors are specific to The Mediumwing Kitespider (Gasteracantha versicolor).
The oblong shape of the species shows 4 long spines, as opposed to 6 spines as on other species.
Bright females grow to a size of 9mm.
Found in tropical areas around the world, Mediumwing Kitespiders are also known for having a red color with a central wide band in rare cases.
This colorful species spin a spider web where the females can be spotted during the day.
Female Mediumwing Kitespiders make venom in small amounts for prey. This venom isn’t dangerous to humans.
19. Priestly Spiny Orbweaver
Bright colors and a spiny abdomen are specific to The Priestly Spiny Orbweaver (Gasteracantha sacerdotalis).
This is a species that grows to an average of 5mm with black and white colors specific to females, which also have spiny bodies.
Males are darker with round abdomens.
The spines of the female are short, typically black with occasional red and yellow marks. They are contrasted by a black and white abdomen and black legs.
Female Priestly Spiny Orbweavers have 6 spines arranged around the edge of the abdomen.
20. Asian Spinybacked Orbweaver
An Asian native, this species (Thelacantha brevispina) stands out with its 6 spines and colorful body.
White and black color combinations are specific to the species, as are its brown-mottled variants. Native to Japan, this spider has 6 spikes which may or may not have the same color as its body.
Its mottled appearance can also mean its spikes may show a combination of colors such as having brown, white, and black marks.
21. Seven-spined Crab Spider
Native to Brazil’s Rainforest, Seven-spined Crab Spiders (Epicadus heterogaster) have unique white, pink, white and pink, or bright yellow coloring.
The species has 7 spines also being one of the few spiders with bright spines as opposed to the red, brown, or black spines of other species.
The spines of this genus also show a small black dot, typically right at the tip. This characteristic is specific to all Seven-spined Crab Spiders, regardless of their color.