5 of the Biggest Spiders in Maine

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: May 12, 2023
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Maine is the northernmost state in New England, bordering Canada. Aside from having a great view of the Atlantic Ocean and being a great place to reap the bounty of the sea, the state is home to a wide variety of different creatures. Among them are spiders that live in forests, by the water, and in the homes of citizens. Many of the spiders in Maine are less than an inch long. However, we’re going to focus on five of the biggest spiders in Maine.   

We’ll show you how large they grow, what they look like, and whether they pose a danger to you or your family. Without further ado, let’s start taking a look at the largest spiders you can expect to find in this part of the United States!

1. Dark Fishing Spider

dark fishing spider

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

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©iStock.com/JasonOndreicka

Scientific NameSizeDanger to Humans
Dolomedes tenebrosus3.5-4.5 inchesCan bite humans and cause a reaction similar to a bee sting.

The dark fishing spider is the biggest spider in Maine. This arachnid can measure over 4 inches in total length. The body is about an inch long, and it has a bulbous abdomen. This spider is often brown, ranging from a very pale brown to a dark brown.

Dark fishing spiders have bands and chevron patterns on their legs, and the patterns often alternate between light and dark. The patterns vary in color between red, black, and brown. Although you may think that these spiders are found most often in water, they are usually found in forests. Specifically, you’ll find them on trees.

These spiders are not aggressive towards humans. They prefer to run away when they can. If you are bitten, it will feel similar to a bee sting unless you are allergic to its venom.

2. Forest Wolf Spider

Largest Wolf Spider - Carolina Wolf Spider

The forest wolf spider can reach nearly 50 millimeters long with its legs extended.

©Will E. Davis/Shutterstock.com

Scientific NameSizeDanger to Humans
Hogna frondicola0.5-2 inchesA bite will cause pain, itchiness, and swelling around the bite area.

The forest wolf spider is a large, hairy spider like most other members of the Hogna genus. These spiders are highly adept hunters that prefer to chase down their food rather than make webs. You’ll often find them in burrows or areas around fallen trees and rocks.

Forest wolf spiders may be hard to see, but they have distinct body. Their bodies are usually light brown or even grayish. Their cephalothorax is black, with a gray stripe running down the middle along with a gray band winding around the perimeter of this part of the body.

These spiders are very fast, but they do not pose a great danger to human beings. Their bites cause pain, swelling, and an itching sensation. However, they do not live up to urban legends about being deadly. Give these spiders space, and you will be fine.  

3. 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 another member of the Dolomedes family that is one of the biggest spiders in Maine. It spends a lot of its time near or on the water. Sometimes, they are called dock spiders since they often live on or around those structures to find food.

The six-spotted fishing spider has a dark body that ranges in color from light gray to dark brown. It has a long, light-colored stripe that runs down the length of their bodies. These stripes may be white, gray, or cream.

Also, there are six dark spots on the bottom of their cephalothorax, and those spots give the spider its name. Interestingly, these spiders can run along the surface of the water. They can even dive below the surface to hide from enemies or grab prey.

These spiders will go to great lengths to avoid interactions with humans. However, if one does bite you, the pain will be similar to a bee sting and the area will swell.

4. Long-Bodied Cellar Spider

daddy long legs

The cellar spider goes by many other names, such as the daddy’s long legs.

©iStock.com/ViniSouza128

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

The long-bodied cellar spider is a very common type of spider throughout New England, and it’s often seen in basements. Although their bodies are small, these spiders have very long legs that put them on this list.

These spiders are sometimes called daddy long legs, but they are different from the harvestman arachnids that share the name.

Long-bodied cellar spiders have a very light-colored, translucent body that is often described as a pale brown color. However, they do have some marks and colorations that make them unique. Sometimes, the dark brown marking on their cephalothorax is interpreted as a human skull.

This skull marking has given this spider another name, the skull spider. Nevertheless, these spiders are harmless to humans on the rare occasion that they do issue a defensive bite.  

5. Black and Yellow Garden Spider

Are Yellow Garden Spiders Poisonous or Dangerous - Yellow Garden Spider

The black and yellow garden spider has a large, distinct web.

©Theodore P. Webb/Shutterstock.com

Scientific NameSizeDanger to Humans
Argiope aurantia0.2-1.1 inchesRarely bites humans, but it may cause pain and swelling.

The black and yellow garden spider goes by many names, including the writing spider. It has black, yellow, and gray patterns on its abdomen along with black bands on its otherwise reddish-brown legs.

Their webs are also unique because they can measure several feet in diameter and have one extra thick portion called the stabilimentum. Thus, it looks like the spider has been writing something on the web.

Black and yellow garden spiders are not aggressive, but they may bite someone that picks them up to admire them. If they do bite you, then expect some pain and swelling. It’s best to avoid picking up spiders to avoid a bite.

All in all, the biggest spiders in Maine are relatively few in number and diminutive in size except for the largest ones. You’re far more likely to see a spider less than 2 inches in length than you are to see one above that size. As always, exercise caution around these creatures and admire them from a distance.

Summary of 5 of the Biggest Spiders in Maine

#SpiderBite
1Dark Fishing SpiderCauses a reaction similar to a bee sting
2Forest Wolf SpiderPain, itchiness, and swelling around the bite area
3Six-Spotted Fishing SpiderSwelling and some pain similar to a bee sting
4Long-Bodied Cellar SpiderMay cause a mild burning sensation
5Black and Yellow Garden SpiderRarely bites humans, but it may cause pain and swelling

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/CathyKeifer


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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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