When most people think of Washington they think of Seattle, Starbucks or its several successful sports teams. At the same time, The Evergreen State also features breathtaking scenery and is much-loved by nature enthusiasts. The state is home to various plants and animals ranging from marmots to bears. Washington also hosts its fair share of spiders. From orb weavers to jumping spiders you can find all sorts of spiders in Washington. Here is a list of 10 spiders in Washington that make their home in The Evergreen State.
10. Ground Wolf Spider
The ground wolf spider, Trochosa terricola, is one of the smaller wolf spiders in Washington. It belongs to the family Lycosidae and ranges throughout much of the northern United States, Canada and Europe.
Adult females generally measure from 7 to 14 millimeters long. Meanwhile, males usually only measure 7 to 9 millimeters long. The females possess a reddish-brown abdomen, while the males tend to look slightly darker. Additionally, the males have dark front legs. Both sexes feature characteristic short lines on the carapace and a light cardiac-shaped marking on the abdomen.
Ground wolf spiders do not use webs to catch their prey. On the contrary, they actively wander through leaf litter and over rocks in grasslands and woodlands in search of food. Their strong jaws and legs enable them to chase down and subdue their prey. Their bite is not medically significant.
9. Grey House Spider
Badumna longinqua, or the grey house spider, is a member of the intertidal spider family Desidae. It is one of the more common spiders in Washington despite originally hailing from Australia. Outside of The Evergreen State, you can now find it in the United States, Europe, Asia and South America.
Female grey house spiders can measure up to 14 millimeters long while males usually measure around 10 millimeters long. They look primarily light grey aside from several black marks on the abdomen. Their legs measure rather short in proportion to the rest of the body and appear brownish-purple with dark bands.
Grey house spiders tend to make their webs in or around human dwellings, hence their name. They build tangled cobwebs in or around small cracks that they use to catch their prey. Their bite poses no threat to humans.
8. Cat-Faced Spider
The cat-faced spider, Araneus gemmoides, is a member of the orb weaver family Araneidae. It also goes by the name the jewel spider and ranges throughout the United States and Canada.
Adult females range from 13 to 25 millimeters long, while males measure 5 to 8 millimeters long. They range in color from light yellow to chestnut brown and sport light and dark brown bands on their legs. The abdomen features two horn-shaped growths and markings that resemble the ears and face of a cat, hence their name.
Cat-faced spiders make orb-shaped webs that they use to capture their prey. They typically locate their webs in areas that get plenty of sunlight such as walls, overhangs and around woodpiles. Many people consider them useful because they often prey on common pests. While dangerous to insects, their bite poses no threat to humans because it contains low levels of venom.
7. White-Spotted False Widow
Steatoda albomaculata, or the white-spotted false widow, belongs to the cobweb spider family Theridiidae. You can find these spiders in Washington and throughout much of North America, Europe, Asia and North Africa.
Female white-spotted false widows measure from 5.5 to 6.5 millimeters long. Meanwhile, males measure 3.3 to 5.8 millimeters long. The legs, carapace and abdomen all appear dark brown to black. That said, the abdomen features characteristic irregularly-shaped markings that look either white, yellowish or reddish, hence their name.
You can often find white-spotted false widows in or around vegetation near the ground that gets plenty of sunlight. They make tangled cobwebs that they use to catch their prey. Many people mistake them for true widows, although they aren’t nearly as dangerous. At worst, their bite causes some mild pain, redness and swelling.
6. Long-Bodied Cellar Spider
Pholcus phalangioides, or the long-bodied cellar spider, is one of the most well-known spiders in Washington. You may also know it as the daddy long-legs spider. While originally from Asia, it now ranges throughout much of the world.
Adult female long-bodied cellar spiders typically measure from 7 to 8 millimeters long, and males measure about 6 millimeters long. They get their name from the fact that females can reach up to 50 millimeters long with their legs extended. The body and legs appear primarily tan or yellow aside from some dark markings on the carapace. These markings occasionally appear skull-shaped, which is why some people refer to them as skull spiders.
Long-bodied cellar spiders prefer to live indoors in dark, quiet environments away from the cold and human activity. Although they can bite humans they rarely do so and their bite is not considered dangerous to humans.
5. Sierra Dome Spider
The sierra dome spider, Neriene litigiosa, belongs to the sheet weaver spider family Linyphiidae. It is widely distributed throughout much of North America, as well as China.
Adult sierra dome spiders can reach up to 8 millimeters long, with females measuring larger than males. While still relatively small, they rank as the largest sheet weaver spiders in Washington and in North America. The legs are long and greenish-brown. The carapace looks beige or tan, while the long abdomen appears white with a black line down the center and dark markings near the rear.
Sierra dome spiders build a dome-shaped web on top of a sheet web. They wait on the sheet for insects to get tangled in the dome above and then bite their prey through the dome. Males fight with each other to try and impress females and occasionally live with the females. Their bite is not medically significant.
4. Giant House Spider
The giant house spider is the name used to describe three separate species; Eratigena atrica, E. duellica, and E. saeva. All three species belong to the funnel weaver spider family Agelenidae. Although primarily found in Europe, you can also find these spiders in Washington and parts of the United States.
Female giant house spiders can measure up to 18.5 millimeters long. Meanwhile, males generally measure 12 to 15 millimeters long. In terms of appearance, they slightly resemble common house spiders and appear primarily dark brown. They sport three light markings on each side that come together into the shape of an arrow pointing forward. The abdomen, legs and pedipalps all look quite large, hence their name.
Giant house spiders make tangled, flat funnel webs that they wait inside and then ambush prey from. Their bite is not threatening to humans and they don’t have a reputation for aggressive behavior.
3. Flower Crab Spider
Misumena vatia, or the flower crab spider, belongs to the crab spider family Thomisidae. It also goes by the name the goldenrod crab spider because you can often find it on goldenrod plants. You can find these spiders in Washington and throughout North America and Europe.
Adult females can reach up to 10 millimeters long, while males measure no more than 5 millimeters long. They tend to look either solid white or yellow but sometimes feature a combination of the two colors. Furthermore, they can change their color to match their surroundings based on the environment or the food they eat.
Flower crab spiders don’t use webs to catch their prey. Instead, they prefer to ambush pollinating insects that visit flowers. They wait on the leaves and petals of flowers and then grab their prey with their powerful legs. While venomous, their bite is not medically significant to humans.
2. Western Parson Spider
The western parson spider, Herpyllus propinquus, belongs to the ground spider family Gnaphosidae. As its name implies, you can find these spiders in Washington and throughout the western United States.
Adult western parson spiders range from 10 to 20 millimeters long, with males measuring smaller than females. They appear primarily black or dark grey aside from some white markings on the abdomen and white dots near the spinneret. The abdominal markings resemble 18th-century cravats (neckties) worn by members of the clergy, or parsons.
Western parson spiders do not use webs to trap their prey. On the contrary, they venture out of their burrows at night to actively hunt for food. They can run rather fast, a trait that helps them chase down slower insects and spiders. Their venom poses little danger to humans, but their bite can be quite painful.
1. Hobo Spider
Eratigena agrestis is more commonly known as the hobo spider. It is the second member of the family Agelenidae to make our list of spiders in Washington. Outside of Washington, you can find it in much of western North America, Europe and Asia.
Adult hobo spiders measure from 7 to 14 millimeters long, with females measuring slightly larger than males. They look predominantly brown except for several light V-shaped markings in the center of the abdomen. Furthermore, they typically feature a light stripe in the middle of the sternum.
There is an urban legend that hobo spiders spread by hitching rides on cars and other vehicles, hence their name. They make trampoline-shaped webs that they use to trap their prey. Although some people believe that their bite is dangerous, in reality, they tend to avoid humans and pose no real threat to humans.
Summary of 10 Spiders in Washington
Here’s a recap of 10 spiders present in the state of Washington that we took a look at:
|1||Hobo Spider||Eratigena agrestis||7-14 mm; females are slightly larger|
|2||Western Parson Spider||Herpyllus propinquus||10-20 mm; males are smaller than females|
|3||Flower Crab Spider||Misumena vatia||Females: 10 mm; males: 5 mm|
|4||Giant House Spider||Eratigena atrica, E. duellica, E. saeva||Females: up to 18.5 mm; males: 12-15 mm|
|5||Sierra Dome Spider||Neriene litigiosa||8 mm; females are larger than males|
|6||Long-Bodied Cellar Spider||Pholcus phalangioides||Females: 7-8 mm (up to 50 mm with their legs extended); males: 6 mm.|
|7||White-Spotted False Widow||Steatoda albomaculata||Females: 5.5-6.5 mm; males: 3.3-5.8 mm|
|8||Cat-Faced Spider||Araneus gemmoides||Females: 13-25 mm; males: 5-8 mm|
|9||Grey House Spider||Badumna longinqua||Females: up to 14 mm; males: 10 mm|
|10||Ground Wolf Spider||Trochosa terricola||Females: 7-14 mm; males: 7-9 mm|
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Randy Bjorklund/Shutterstock.com
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