When most people think of Kansas their minds turn to the Wizard of Oz or they imagine cornfields stretching out to the horizon. Still, others may think of the state’s natural beauty; its vast plains, gentle foothills, and woodlands. The Sunflower State is home to many different species of plants and animals, such as prairie dogs and coyotes. Kansas also contains a plethora of spiders. From yellow sac spiders to tarantulas, you can find myriad spiders in Kansas. Here is a list of 10 spiders in Kansas that creep and crawl throughout the state.
#10: Black-Footed Yellow Sac Spider
The black-footed yellow sac spider, Cheiracanthium inclusum, is a member of the family Cheiracanthiidae. It also goes by the name American yellow sac spider due to its color and distribution. You can find these spiders in Kansas as well as throughout much of North and South America.
Females measure 5 to 9 millimeters long, while males measure 4 to 8 millimeters. They appear predominantly pale yellow with dark brown markings at the ends of their jaws and feet. Their abdomens also often sport an orangish-brown stripe down their center.
Blacked-footed yellow sac spiders do not build webs to catch prey. On the contrary, they actively hunt for prey at night although they do build silken retreats to protect themselves from predators. That said, you can often find them vertically climbing up a single strand, and they sometimes will even ride their silk like a balloon in the wind.
#9: Garden Ghost Spider
Hibana gracilis, or the garden ghost spider, belongs to the ghost spider family Anyphaenidae. It is widely distributed throughout the eastern half of the United States along with parts of Canada.
Adult garden ghost spiders typically measure from 6 to 12 millimeters long, with males measuring smaller than males. People often mistake them for yellow sac spiders, as both possess long, thin abdomens and elongated spinnerets. In terms of color, they appear yellowish-green and at times almost translucent. Their color lends them a ghostly hue, which is where they get their name.
Garden ghost spiders are nocturnal hunters that do not use webs to catch their prey. You are most likely to encounter these spiders in Kansas from April through October, particularly in wooded areas. Their bite poses little danger to humans but can cause swelling, soreness, and some minor tissue damage.
#8: Bark Crab Spider
The bark crab spider, Bassaniana versicolor, is a member of the crab spider family Thomisidae. Like other members of its family, it has a habit of walking sideways or backward like a crab.
Adults measure from 4 to 7 millimeters long, with females typically measuring larger than males. They get their name from their crablike appearance. Like a crab, their front legs are longer than their hind legs. Their bodies look predominantly black aside from a smattering of light brown or white speckles. The irregular patterns allow them to easily blend in with tree bark.
The bark crab spider frequently wanders along tree bark in search of insects, which is where it gets its name. It does not use a web to catch prey. Instead, the male uses its silk during courtship by adorning a prospective mate with silk strands.
#7: Labyrinth Orb Weaver
The labyrinth orb weaver, Metepeira labyrinthea, is a member of the orb weaver family Araneidae. It is found throughout most of the United States and as far south as Argentina.
Female labyrinth orb weavers measure a little over 5 millimeters long and males measure slightly smaller. Like other orb weavers, they possess thin legs and round, bulbous abdomens. Their carapaces appear either brown or grey, while their abdomens are dark with white markings. They also feature light hairs around their eyes and a white median line across their sternums.
Out of all the spiders in Kansas, the labyrinth orb weaver makes one of the most unique and distinguishable webs. It spins an incomplete orb web, which consists of both an orb web designed to catch prey and an irregular web behind that serves as a retreat for the spider. Due to its small size, it poses little danger to humans.
#6: Texas Brown Tarantula
The Texas brown tarantula is also known as the Oklahoma brown tarantula or Missouri tarantula. It is a member of the tarantula family Theraphosidae and is one of the largest spiders in Kansas. You can find it throughout the southern United States along with parts of Mexico.
Adult brown tarantulas can reach leg spans of nearly 4 inches long, with females usually measuring larger than males. Their bodies appear mostly brown and vary in hue from light to dark depending on the individual specimen. Female Texas brown tarantulas can lay up to 1000 eggs at a time and live for nearly 40 years in captivity.
While they may look imposing, Texas brown tarantulas rarely act aggressively toward humans. If threatened, they may raise up onto their hind legs and kick small, coarse hairs located on their abdomens at their attackers. Although it can be painful, their bite is not medically significant.
#5: Dotted Wolf Spider
Rabidosa punctulata, or the dotted wolf spider, is a member of the wolf spider family Lycosidae. You can find large and active spiders in Kansas as well as throughout the southern and eastern United States.
Adult dotted wolf spiders measure around 17 millimeters long, with females measuring larger on average than males. Their bodies are light-brown and feature two dark-brown stripes on top of the cephalothorax and one down the center of the abdomen. Meanwhile, they get their name from the black spots located on the bottom of their abdomens.
Like the other members of its family, the dotted wolf spider does not catch prey using a web. Instead, it actively hunts for prey using its strength, speed, and ambush tactics. You can often spot them at night thanks to their highly reflective eyes. Despite their size, their bite is not medically significant.
#4. Filmy Dome Spider
The filmy dome spider, Neriene radiata, is one of the most common sheetweaver spiders in Kansas. It belongs to the sheetweaver family Linyphiidae and ranges throughout the eastern half of the United States and Canada.
Like other sheetweavers, filmy dome spiders measure quite small, with most adults only reaching 4 millimeters long. Additionally, males typically measure smaller than females. Their white abdomens feature brown markings surrounding a brown central stripe.
Filmy dome spiders build unique, dome-shaped webs. They wait at the top of the dome and then pounce on top of insects that wander into the trap. Their prey usually consists of small flies. Due to their small size, their fangs usually aren’t large enough to pierce human skin.
#3. Puritan Pirate Spider
Mimetus puritanus, or the puritan pirate spider, is a member of the pirate spider family Mimetidae. You can find these spiders in Kansas as well as throughout most of the eastern United States.
Adult puritan pirate spiders typically measure around 7 millimeters long, with females measuring larger than males. They have triangular-shaped abdomens and long spines on their long, curved legs. Their bodies appear mostly tan or beige, while their abdomens feature small red and black markings with two distinctive white patches near the rear.
Puritan pirate spiders do not build their own webs. Instead, they steal the webs of other spiders. They will pluck on the web to mimic prey before then attacking and devouring the host spider. That said, they sometimes bite off more than they can chew and end up being devoured by the spider they intended to displace. Their bite is not considered medically significant.
#2: Prairie Jumping Spider
The prairie jumping spider, or Phidippus clarus, is a relatively large jumping spider in the family Salticidae. It is widely distributed throughout the eastern half of North America and often found in grasslands, oil fields, and prairies, hence its name.
Most adult prairie jumping spiders measure around 10 millimeters long, with females measuring larger than males. Their colors vary considerably, with most specimens appearing brownish-grey, tan, orange, or reddish-brown. They possess distinctive rectangular abdomens and often sport dark markings.
Prairie jumping spiders have large appetites and prey on a wide variety of insects and other spiders. They hunt by attaching a silk line to the ground and then leaping upon their prey and using their fangs to deliver a killing blow. Due to their small size, they pose little threat to humans.
#1. Quasi-Social Cobweb Spider
The quasi-social cobweb spider, Anelosimus studiosus, is a member of the cobweb spider family Theridiidae. You can find these spiders in Kansas as well as throughout much of North and South America.
Most adult quasi-social cobweb spiders measure around 7 millimeters long, with males measuring smaller than females. Their carapaces appear reddish-brown, while their abdomens are light brown with a dark brown center stripe flanked by two wavy white bands. Meanwhile, their legs are amber with dark bands.
As their name suggests, quasi-social cobweb spiders have a habit of living in communities where members share duties including prey capture and brood care. However, not all specimens engage in this behavior, with some living alone. Due to their small size, their bite poses little danger to humans.
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