New Hampshire is a state that is steeped in history. It played a crucial role during the United States’ infancy, particularly during the civil war, so it’s no wonder its motto is “Live Free or Die.” At the same time, the state also boasts a rich natural history. After all, its nickname is “The Granite State,” which is an homage to its many granite and rock quarries. Numerous plants and animals call the state home, including black bears and moose.
Additionally, many species of spiders creep about in homes and gardens across the state. From orb-weavers to jumping spiders, you can find all sorts of spiders in New Hampshire. Here is a list of 10 spiders in New Hampshire that you’re likely to encounter throughout the state.
#10. Hump-Backed Orb Weaver
The hump-backed orb weaver, Eustala anastera, belongs to the orb-weaver family Araneidae. You can find these oddly-shaped spiders in New Hampshire as well as throughout much of North and Central America.
Female hump-backed orb weavers measure 5 to 8 millimeters long, while males measure 4 to 6 millimeters long. Their name comes from their unusual-looking abdomens, which feature a distinctive hump near the rear. They come in a range of patterns but predominantly appear light grey with faint black markings. Sometimes they sport a thick black line down the center of the abdomen, while other times, they have a dark arrowhead-shaped marking pointing towards the head.
Like other orb weavers, hump-backed orb-weavers build webs that they use to capture prey. Due to their small size and the low potency of their venom, their bite is not medically significant.
#9. Triangulate Cobweb Spider
The triangulate cobweb spider, Steatoda triangulosa, also goes by the triangulate bud spider. It belongs to the cobweb spider family Theridiidae and ranges widely throughout North America, Europe, Russia, and New Zealand.
Female triangulate cobweb spiders measure from 3 to 6 millimeters long, while males measure slightly smaller. They have a brownish-orange cephalothorax and yellowish legs covered in tiny hairs. Their name comes from the zigzagging purplish-brown lines that run down the center of their bulbous abdomens.
Like other cobweb spiders, they construct irregularly shaped cobwebs that they use to capture prey. They possess poor eyesight and must sense vibrations to know when prey enters their webs. Don’t panic if you encounter one of these spiders in New Hampshire, as their bite is not medically significant. In fact, they can be quite beneficial as they often prey on more dangerous spiders such as brown recluses.
#8. Flower Crab Spider
Misumena vatia is more commonly known as the flower crab spider or the goldenrod crab spider. It belongs to the family Thomisidae and is one of the more common crab spiders in New Hampshire. Outside of the Granite State, you can also find it throughout most of North America and Europe.
Adult females measure up to 10 millimeters long, while males usually measure no more than 5 millimeters long. Most specimens appear either yellow or white and sometimes contain a mixture of the two colors. That said, they can change their color depending on their surroundings and — to a lesser extent — their diet.
Like other members of their family, flower crab spiders utilize ambush tactics rather than webs to catch prey. As their name implies, they typically wait on the leaves or petals of goldenrod flowers and then snag insects that come to collect the nectar or pollen.
#7. Long-Palped Ant Mimic Sac Spider
The long-palped ant mimic sac spider, Castianeira longipalpa, belongs to the corinnid sac spider family Corinnidae. You can find these spiders in New Hampshire and throughout the eastern United States and Canada.
Female long-palped ant mimic sac spiders usually measure around 13 millimeters long, while males measure 3 to 6 millimeters long. They possess black abdomens with no less than four lateral white or light grey stripes. Meanwhile, the cephalothorax appears greenish-grey. As their name implies, they have large pedipalps, which are the appendages at the front of the cephalothorax.
Unlike some spiders, the long-palped ant mimic sac spider does not use a web to catch prey. Instead, it mimics the behavior of an ant by using its front legs like antennae, thereby allowing it to sneak up on prey, hence its name. While dangerous to ants, their bite poses little threat to humans.
#6. Carolina Wolf Spider
Hogna carolinensis, or the Carolina wolf spider, is a member of the wolf spider family Lycosidae. It is one of the largest spiders in New Hampshire and is widely considered one of the largest wolf spiders in North America.
Adult females measure between 22 and 35 millimeters long, while adult males measure 18 to 20 millimeters long. Most specimens appear predominantly light brown with a number of darker brown markings. That said, males possess orange markings on their sides. Aside from their larger size, you can often spot females by their habit of carrying their egg sacs on top of their spinnerets.
Instead of building webs, Carolina wolf spiders actively hunt for prey using speed and stealth. Their venom allows them to simultaneously paralyze and disinfect their prey. While they can deliver a painful bite, they otherwise pose little threat to humans.
#5. Furrow Orb Weaver
The furrow orb weaver, Larinioides cornutus, is the second member of the family Araneidae to make our list of spiders in New Hampshire. Also known as the foliate orb weaver, it is a cosmopolitan species that ranges throughout much of the northern hemisphere.
Adult females measure between 6 and 14 millimeters long, while adult males measure from 5 to 9 millimeters long. They come in a range of colors, including black, tan, olive, grey, and red. You can identify them thanks to the characteristic arrow-shaped markings on their abdomens. Their name comes from these markings, which somewhat resemble the furrows made by a plow.
Furrow orb weavers construct orb-shaped webs that they use to capture their prey. They rest during the day and emerge at night to prey on insects that get trapped in their webs. Although they possess a venomous bite, their venom is not medically significant.
#4. Striped Fishing Spider
Dolomedes scriptus, or the striped fishing spider, is a member of the fishing spider family Pisauridae. You can find these aquatic spiders in New Hampshire as well as throughout much of the United States and Canada.
Adult females can reach up to 25 millimeters long, while males measure smaller than females. In terms of color, they appear predominantly light brown. That said, they can also look tan or greyish. They usually sport a solid tan or white stripe along the sides of the bodies as well as dark W-shaped markings on their abdomens.
You can typically find striped fishing spiders near fast-flowing streams or other bodies of water. They use their long legs to snatch prey insects or small fish that hang out near the water’s surface. However, they can also sprint on top of the water for short distances or dive underwater to capture their prey.
#3. White-Jawed Jumping Spider
The white-jawed jumping spider, Hentzia mitrata, is a member of the jumping spider family Salticidae. It is one of the more distinctive-looking jumping spiders in New Hampshire and ranges throughout most of the United States, Canada, and the Bahamas.
Most adult white-jawed jumping spiders measure a little more than 4 millimeters long, with males measuring slightly smaller than females. They appear predominantly light brown or copper-colored. That said, their legs and mouthparts (chelicerae) feature characteristic long, white hairs, hence their name.
Like other members of their family, white-jawed jumping spiders do not use webs to catch their prey. On the contrary, they are active hunters that rely on their keen eyesight to spot their prey and then jump from a distance before delivering a powerful bite. While they are capable hunters, their bite is of no concern to humans.
#2. Black Lace Weaver
The black lace weaver, Amaurobius ferox, belongs to the three-clawed cribellate spider family Amaurobiidae. If you want to find these spiders in New Hampshire, your best bet is to look in dark, damp spaces like under stones or cracks in walls. Although initially native to Europe, it ranges throughout the United States as well as New Zealand.
Adult females measure between 11 and 16 millimeters long, and males measure from 8 to 10 millimeters long. They generally appear almost entirely black, but they can also look dark brown or red. That said, their rounded abdomens often feature a pale yellow marking in the shape of a ghoulish face or skull.
Black lace weavers build what’s known as cribellate webs, which are made of thin, sticky threads with a characteristic wooly texture. This texture gives their webs a lace-like appearance, hence their name. Their bite is not medically significant.
#1. Long-Bodied Cellar Spider
Pholcus phalangioides, or the long-bodied cellar spider, is one of the most common spiders in New Hampshire. You may know it by its other name, the “daddy long-legs” spider. It is a cosmopolitan species that lives in most parts of the world. That said, it prefers warmer climates and tends to move indoors during colder months.
Adult females measure from 7 to 8 millimeters long, while males measure around 6 millimeters long. However, they can measure up to 50 millimeters long with their legs extended, hence their name. They appear predominantly tan or yellow aside from some grey markings on the carapace that occasionally form the shape of a skull. Due to these markings, people sometimes refer to them as skull spiders.
While they aren’t known to act aggressively towards humans, they occasionally bite. That said, their bite is not medically significant.
Summary of 10 Spiders in New Hampshire
Here’s a recap of 10 spiders found in the state of New Hampshire that we took a look at:
|1||Long-Bodied Cellar Spider||Pholcus phalangioides||Females: 7-8 mm; males: 6 mm. Can be up to 50 mm long with their legs extended.|
|2||Black Lace Weaver||Amaurobius ferox||Females: 11-16 mm; males 8-10 mm|
|3||White-Jawed Jumping Spider||Hentzia mitrata||4 mm; males are slightly smaller|
|4||Striped Fishing Spider||Dolomedes scriptus||Females: up to 25 mm; males are smaller|
|5||Furrow Orb Weaver||Larinioides cornutus||Females: 6-14 mm; males: 5-9 mm|
|6||Carolina Wolf Spider||Hogna carolinensis||Females: 22-35 mm; males: 18-20 mm|
|7||Long-Palped Ant Mimic Sac Spider||Castianeira longipalpa||Females: 13 mm; males: 3-6 mm|
|8||Flower Crab Spider||Misumena vatia||Females: up to 10 mm; males: no more than 5 mm|
|9||Triangulate Cobweb Spider||Steatoda triangulosa||Females: 3-6 mm; males are smaller|
|10||Hump-Backed Orb Weaver||Eustala anastera||Females: 5-8 mm; males: 4-6 mm|
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