10 Spiders in Tennessee

Written by Patrick Sather
Updated: August 28, 2022
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When most people think of Tennessee, they think of Nashville, barbeque, or country music. The Volunteer State also has a rich natural history with geography ranging from rugged mountains to flat fertile plains. You can find many plants and animals in the state of Tennessee, including black bears and big brown bats. Tennessee is also home to many species of spiders, ranging from common orb weavers to endangered moss spiders. Here is a list of 10 spiders in Tennessee that you can find in The Volunteer State.

#10: Southeastern Wandering Spider

The southeastern wandering spider actively hunts for prey using ambush tactics.

©Firdaus Khaled/Shutterstock.com

Anahita punctulata, also known as the southeastern wandering spider, is a member of the wandering spider family Ctenidae. You can find this spider in Tennessee and throughout most of the southern United States, hence its name.

Southeastern wandering spiders range in size from 5 to 40 millimeters long. That being said, females typically measure larger than males. Like other wandering spiders, these spiders possess long, multi-jointed legs that curl upward. They appear primarily tan or light orange with dark markings. However, they feature a light stripe down the middle of the abdomen and carapace.

Southeastern wandering spiders do not use webs to catch prey. As their name implies, they actively search for food and prefer to ambush insects and invertebrates. These spiders rest in burrows on the ground and on plants when not actively hunting. Even larger specimens pose little to no danger to humans.

#9: Furrow Spider

The furrow spider possesses intricate, foliate markings that look like arrows.

©iStock.com/Dan Olsen

The furrow spider, Larinioides cornutus, belongs to the orb-weaver family Araneidae. It is widely distributed throughout the northern half of North America, Europe, and Asia

Adult female furrow spiders measure from 6 to 14 millimeters long, and males measure 5 to 9 millimeters long. They range in color from black to grey to white or sometimes red. Their abdomen features a distinctive leaf-shaped or foliate pattern, making them one of the more visually-striking spiders in Tennessee. This pattern is also the reason why some people refer to furrow spiders as foliate orb weavers. 

Furrow spiders tend to construct their webs in moist habitats near water. They are mostly active at night and use their webs to catch prey. These spiders have a venomous bite that is threatening to insects, but it is not medically significant to humans.

#8: Southern Black Widow

Apex predator: black widow spider

Female southern black widows make irregular cobwebs that they use to catch prey.

©Jay Ondreicka/Shutterstock.com

The southern black widow, Latrodectus mactans, is one of the most poisonous spiders in Tennessee. It belongs to the family Theridiidae, also known as cobweb spiders or combfoot spiders. You can find it throughout North America but particularly in the southern United States, hence its name. 

Adult female southern black widows measure between 8 and 13 millimeters long, while males measure 3 to 6 millimeters long. The females look glossy black and feature a distinctive red hourglass-shaped marking on the top of the abdomen. Meanwhile, the males appear primarily black except for some red and yellow markings on the abdomen and yellow bands on the legs. 

Female southern black widows make irregular cobwebs that they use to catch prey. Additionally, they will sometimes cannibalize males after mating. They possess neurotoxic venom that attacks the victim’s nervous system. Common bite symptoms include muscle aches, nausea, and respiratory issues.

#7: Tiger Wolf Spider

Tiger Wolf Spider



wolf spider is also known as the speckled wolf spider or woodland giant wolf spider.


Tigrosa aspersa, or the tiger wolf spider, belongs to the wolf spider family Lycosidae. You may also know it by other names including the speckled wolf spider or woodland giant wolf spider. It ranges throughout the eastern United States and is one of the larger wolf spiders in Tennessee.

Adult female tiger wolf spiders can reach up to 25 millimeters long. Meanwhile, males measure noticeably smaller. Females appear primarily black except for the abdomen which tends to look dark grey. On the other hand, males vary in color from beige to tan to light yellow. You can identify tiger wolf spiders thanks to the characteristic narrow yellow line that runs through the space between their eyes.

Tiger wolf spiders do not use webs to catch prey and instead rely on their strength, speed, and stealth to find food. Despite their large size, they do not pose a significant threat to humans.

#6: Canopy Jumping Spider

Canopy Jumping Spider

The canopy jumping spider is an arboreal arachnid that spends most of its time in trees.

©OBX Wildlife/Shutterstock.com

Phidippus otiosus is more commonly known as the canopy jumping spider. It belongs to the jumping spider family Salticidae and ranges throughout the southeastern United States.

Adult female canopy jumping spiders can reach up to 16 millimeters long, with males typically measuring smaller than females. Fine black and orange hairs cover most of the body including the legs and abdomen. That said, these spiders feature a purple-black marking in the space above their eyes. Like other jumping spiders, they possess iridescent mouthparts that range in color from green to purple. 

You can typically find canopy jumping spiders in Tennessee in or near trees, hence their name. They do not make webs to catch their prey and instead actively hunt for food. These spiders can leap several times their own body length, which allows them to attack their prey from a distance. Also, they rarely act aggressively towards humans, and their bite is not medically significant.

#5: White-Banded Crab Spider

White-Banded Crab Spider vs Praying Mantis

The white-banded crab spider can move forward, sideways, or backward like a crab.

©Georgi Baird/Shutterstock.com

The white-banded crab spider, Misumenoides formosipes, belongs to the crab spider family Thomisidae. You can find this spider in Tennessee as well as throughout most of the United States.

Adult female white-banded crab spiders typically measure between 5 and 11 millimeters long, while males measure 2.5 to 3.2 millimeters long. They feature a white line running through the space below their eyes, hence their name. Specimens can vary in color, but females usually appear primarily white or yellow. Meanwhile, males have a gold abdomen and a dark brown carapace and legs.

White-banded crab spiders do not use webs to catch prey. Instead, they usually wait on or near flowers and ambush pollinating insects. They can walk forward, sideways, and backward, and they possess long, powerful front legs like crabs. Also, they have a bite that is not medically significant.

#4. Dark Fishing Spider

dark fishing spider

The dark fishing spider can run across the surface of water or dive into the water to catch prey.


Dolomedes tenebrosus, or the dark fishing spider, is a member of the nursery web spider family Pisauridae. It is one of several fishing spiders in Tennessee and ranges throughout much of the central and eastern United States.

Adult female dark fishing spiders can measure up to 2.5 centimeters long. Meanwhile, males barely measure half that size on average. They usually appear primarily grey or brown and sport dark spots and spines on the legs. In addition to the dark leg markings, they also feature dark W-shaped markings on their abdomen.

Dark fishing spiders are active hunters that do not use webs to catch prey, although females build webs to hold their eggs. Instead, they use their legs as fishing lures to snatch insects and small fish from the water. They can also run across the surface of water or dive for short distances. Their bite is not medically significant. 

#3. Spruce-Fir Moss Spider

Spruce-fir moss spider, Microhexura montivaga

The spruce-fir moss spider is one of the rarest spiders in Tennessee.

©U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / public domain

Microhexura montivaga is one of the rarest spiders in Tennessee. You can find it at high elevations in the southern Appalachian Mountains. In particular, it tends to spend time in moss that grows on rocks beneath trees, hence its name.

Adult spruce-fir moss spiders measure only 3 to 4 millimeters long, with males and females measuring roughly the same size. They vary in color from light brown to yellowish-brown or reddish-brown. Unlike many other spiders, they feature no markings on the abdomen. Their chelicerae jut perceptibly forward and they sport an abnormally long spinneret.

Spruce-fir moss spiders make tube-shaped webs that they use for shelter. That said, they only use their webs for shelter and not to catch prey. Due to habitat loss caused by the death of many Fraser fir trees, they are considered endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Their bite is not medically significant.

#2: Arrowhead Spider

arrowhead orb weaver

The arrowhead spider has a unique triangle-shaped abdomen that resembles an arrowhead.

©Rusty Dodson/Shutterstock.com

The arrowhead spider, Anahita punctulata, is the second orb-weaver to make our list of spiders in Tennessee. You may also know it as the triangle orb weaver or the arrowhead or weaver. It ranges throughout North America.

Female arrowhead spiders measure between 7 and 14 millimeters long, while males measure from 4 to 6 millimeters long. You can identify them by their distinctive triangle-shaped abdomen that resembles an arrowhead, hence their name. Their legs and carapace range in color from black to brown to red. Meanwhile, their abdomen almost always looks yellow or white.

Arrowhead spiders make orb-style webs that they use to capture prey. Unlike most orb weavers, the central section of their webs lacks radial threads and you can usually find them facing upward in their webs. Their bite is not dangerous to humans.

#1. Ravine Trapdoor Spider

The ravine trapdoor spider sports a unique-looking disk on the back of its abdomen that is used to block the hole of its burrow.

©Venus Saksongmuang/Shutterstock.com

Cycloscosmia truncata, or the ravine trapdoor spider, belongs to the cork-lid trapdoor spider family Halonoproctidae. It is one of the rarest and most unusual-looking spiders in Tennessee.

Adult female ravine trapdoor spiders measure about 28 millimeters long, with a disk around 16 millimeters wide. In Greek, their genus name Cycloscosmia means “adorned with a circle,” and refers to the unique shape of their abdomen. Their abdomen is disk-shaped and possesses a series of grooves along the outside that join in the middle into an irregular pattern. This disk looks light grey, while the rest of the body is glossy light or dark brown.

Ravine trapdoor spiders often construct their burrows in ravines, hence their name. They use their abdomen to block the entrance, thereby protecting them from predators. When prey wanders too close, they dart out from the entrance and drag their meal inside. Their bite is not medically significant.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © sippakorn/Shutterstock.com

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