5 of the Biggest Spiders in Indiana

Written by Kyle Glatz
Published: August 28, 2022
© Jukka Jantunen/Shutterstock.com
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Many people know Indiana for its love of sports and success in farming. Along with the massive expanses of land that are used for both of those ventures come interactions with critters like spiders. Although some of them are small, a few genera of spiders are very large. In this article, we will identify 5 of the biggest spiders in Indiana. We’ll show you what they look like and tell you why it’s best to give some of them a lot of space.  

What Are the Biggest Spiders in Indiana?

Several hundred species of spiders live in Indiana, but the majority of them don’t grow past two inches in length, including their legs. All the spiders we list here are longer than two inches, and they may just make you jump if you see one based on their large size. However, we’re going to focus on more than their length.

We’ll tell you whether they pose a threat to you and where you are most likely to encounter them during your travels. With that in mind, let’s start looking at some big spiders!

5. Long-Bodied Cellar Spider

Female Cellar Spider Protecting Her Eggs
A cellar spider has a very unique translucent body.

©iStock.com/ViniSouza128

Scientific NameSizeDanger to Humans
Pholcus phalangioides1-2 inchesA bite may cause a mild burning sensation.

The long-bodied cellar spider also goes by the name skull spider or daddy long legs. Don’t worry, though. They aren’t super venomous spiders that would kill you with a bite if they only had longer teeth. That’s an urban legend. Instead, a bite from one of these will cause some mild pain and a burning sensation.

These spiders measure about 2 inches long, and most of that length comes from their leg span. As their name suggests, the cellar spider is usually found in basements, storm cellars, garages, and attics. They build webs and trap other insects and arachnids to consume.

Most cellar spiders are brownish gray or light brown with a somewhat translucent body and dark markings on their carapaces. They’re very common and easy to spot around your home and outbuildings.

4. American Nursery Web Spider

american nursery web spider
Female nursery web spiders are known for consuming their mates.

©SDeming/Shutterstock.com

Scientific NameSizeDanger to Humans
Pisaurina mira1-3 inchesDelivers a bite that is mostly harmless to humans, with pain and swelling common.

The American nursery web spider spends most of its time living in and around tall vegetation where it can wait to find its prey. You can find them on trees, tall grass, and shrubs around your home.

These spiders usually have a brown or brownish-red body with a dark stripe running down the length of their cephalothorax and abdomen. These spiders are known for building web structures to house their young and for their habit of trying to eat their mates.

If you manage to get bitten by one of these spiders, you’ll find that the bite is only mildly painful and can cause some swelling. However, if a smaller member of this species bites you, you may not notice it at all.   

3. Black and Yellow Garden Spider

The black and yellow garden spider is also called the writing spider.

©iStock.com/AwakenedEye

Scientific NameSizeDanger to Humans
Argiope aurantia0.5-3 inchesRarely bites humans, but it may cause pain and swelling.

The black and yellow garden spider is easily identified. These spiders have silver cephalothorax along with bright yellow and dark black patterns on their abdomens. Sometimes, their abdomens will have gray or silver markings on them as well.

Another way to differentiate these spiders is by their unique webs. Unlike most spider webs, this species’ web has an extra-thick, zig-zag-shaped portion running through the middle. This is called a stabilimentum, and it could have many potential purposes.

That structure has given rise to the common name “writing spider” for these creatures. They do not like being disturbed in their webs, though. If you harass and handle one, it may give you a somewhat painful bite with swelling at the site.

2. Tiger Wolf Spider

Tiger Wolf Spider
The tiger wolf spider is also known as the speckled wolf spider or woodland giant wolf spider.

©HWall/Shutterstock.com

Scientific NameSizeDanger to Humans
Tigrosa aspersa2-3 inchesDelivers a moderately painful bite that causes swelling and redness, other symptoms may appear.

A tiger wolf spider bite is not going to be pleasant, but it also isn’t going to be dangerous to the majority of adult humans. It will be painful and will usually leave a swollen mark. In some rare cases, a tiger wolf spider bite can be serious, such as if the person is allergic to their venom.

This information may seem contrary to what people think about these large spiders. While they are deadly to their prey, humans are simply too big to be affected by their venom in a meaningful way.

Tiger wolf spiders have large bodies and a leg span that can measure 3 inches. They are usually black, brown, and tan. These spiders have bulbous abdomens and may have mottled coloring on their bodies. Their legs may have dark banding or brown and black bands running down their length.

1. Six-Spotted Fishing Spider

six spotted fishing spider
The six-spotted fishing spider can catch fish more than five times its own size.

©Jukka Jantunen/Shutterstock.com

Scientific NameSizeDanger to Humans
Dolomedes triton0.35-3 inchesBites will induce swelling and some pain similar to a bee sting.

The six-spotted fishing spider is one of the biggest spiders in Indiana, but it has some competition at the 3-inch legspan measurement. Nevertheless, this is a very big spider that can be frightening should it suddenly appear next to someone fishing on a dock.

These spiders spent most of their time in, on, or near the water. They can run along the surface of the water to grab unsuspecting aquatic creatures, including small fish and tadpoles. These spiders can even dive below the surface to get prey or get away from predators.

The six-spotted fishing spider has a brown body with white stripes on the sides of its cephalothorax and abdomen. Its abdomen also has many white spots, but that’s not why it was given this name. Instead, the spider has six dark spots on its ventral side, something that you’re not likely to see. Either way, their looks are worse than their bites. In the very rare event that you are bitten, you’ll feel pain like a bee sting.

The biggest spiders in Indiana are not a threat to humans. Yet, some spiders in this area are dangerous. For example, the brown recluse and black widow spiders can do serious and lasting harm to people. You should avoid these spiders and see a doctor if you or a loved one is bitten, especially if they are young or elderly. Basically, give arachnids a wide berth, and you should be safe from harm.  

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The Featured Image

six spotted fishing spider
The six-spotted fishing spider can catch fish more than five times its own size
© Jukka Jantunen/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

I'm a freelance writer with 8 years of experience. I've written in a variety of niches such as video games, animals, and managed service providers. I graduated from Rowan University in 2014 with degrees in English and Education. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games, reading, and writing for fun.

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Sources
  1. University of Wisconsin (1970) uwm.edu/field-station/6-spotted-fishing-spider/#:~:text=This lovely spider is called,spots hidden on its underside
  2. Clemson Cooperative Extension (1970) hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/cellar-spiders/#:~:text=The two more commonly seen,extending about 5%2F16 inch
  3. National Wildlife Federation, Available here: https://www.nwf.org/Educational-Resources/Wildlife-Guide/Invertebrates/Yellow-Garden-Spider