5 of the Biggest Spiders in Maryland

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: June 7, 2023
© iStock.com/Henrik_L
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Although Maryland is a small state, it’s packed with interesting places and animals. The state is home to the incomparable National Aquarium in Baltimore, and its crab fisheries are the stuff of legends. You’ll find many types of animals in Maryland, from aquatic creatures in the Chesapeake Bay to black bears in its western counties. Along the way, you’ll find many different types of spiders, our area of interest today. We’re going to look at five of the biggest spiders in Maryland.

When we’re finished, you’ll know how big these spiders get, if they are dangerous to humans, and what they look like!

What Are the Biggest Spiders in Maryland?

Spiders can vary a great deal in terms of their size, even in the same species. Males are frequently smaller than females, and they have different colorations. While we’re going to present information about the biggest spiders in Maryland, it’s important to remember that the one you encounter may not look exactly like what we describe. Also, you shouldn’t try to handle any wild animals you’re not completely familiar with.

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With that in mind, let’s start counting down some of the largest spiders you’ll find in this state!

5. Southern House Spider

Southern house spiders often get mistaken for brown recluses due to their similar markings.

©Kala Stuwe/Shutterstock.com

Scientific NameSizeDanger to Humans
Kukulcania hibernalis0.75-2 inchesTheir bites can cause pain that diminishes over a day or two in rare cases.

The southern house spider often appears in the southern portions of Maryland, and it lives up to its name. This spider is often discovered in small cracks in homes and outbuildings, usually in high places where flying bugs will frequent.

Sometimes, southern house spiders are confused with brown recluses. After all, they’re brown and may have a bulbous abdomen. They are usually a light brown color with velvety hair on their abdomens and long legs.

However, these spiders are not nearly as dangerous as brown recluses. They may appear aggressive because they will often crawl into areas without noticing if humans or other predators are occupying the area first. They rarely bite people, though. If they do inflict a bite, it may cause pain and swelling at the site.  

4. Long-Bodied Cellar Spider

Female Cellar Spider Protecting Her Eggs
Cellar spiders have very long, thin legs.


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

The cellar spider is a frequent member on the list of the biggest spiders in states on the East Coast. This creepy crawly spider lurks in garages, basements, barns, and other places that don’t have a lot of foot traffic.

Cellar spiders are easily identified by their body shape and legs. They have a peanut-shaped body that is translucent. However, they have a generally tan, brown, or grayish color to them, along with several markings on their bodies.

The cellar spider is typically called a daddy long legs in some regions, but that name also refers to the harvestman, a completely different arachnid. Either way, this spider poses no threat to human beings if it bites them. A bite could cause some pain and a burning sensation. However, you shouldn’t put any stock into the mistaken belief that the cellar spider is deadly. It is not.  

3. Wolf Spider

Wolf Spider (Hogna baltimoriana)
Wolf spider possesses long, powerful legs that it uses to chase after prey.

©Aaron Carlson / CC BY-SA 2.0, Flickr – License

Scientific NameSizeDanger to Humans
Hogna baltimoriana1-2 inchesA bite may cause swelling, pain, and redness that lingers for a while and diminishes.

Technically, Hogna baltimoriana isn’t the largest wolf spider to live in Maryland, but this species is named for the city, so how could we exclude it? This wolf spider measures up to 2 inches long, and it is not your typical web-slinging arachnid.

Instead, wolf spiders will lie in wait for prey to come by. Then, they will chase it down and consume the creature on the spot!

Wolf spiders have light colors and dark patterns along their body. Usually, these spiders are light brown or gray, but they can be darker shades, too. They have a series of black marks on their cephalothorax and a black pattern in the middle of their abdomen. Moreover, they have light markings behind the eyes situated highest on their “head.”

Although they are aggressive toward their prey, wolf spiders are not dangerous to humans. If they bite someone, the individual will suffer some pain, redness, and swelling.

2. Black and Yellow Garden Spider

The black and yellow garden spider is a common sight throughout much of the United States.


Scientific NameSizeDanger to Humans
Argiope aurantia0.2-3 inchesRarely bites humans, but it may cause pain and swelling.

The female black and yellow garden spider has a rather large body that can measure about ¾ of an inch long or more. However, when you add in their leg length, these spiders are some of the biggest spiders in Maryland.

The female is easily identified by the silvery cephalothorax and the patterns of yellow, black, and gray on its back. Furthermore, their long legs are brownish red near the body and then become banded with black and yellow along the body.

You’ll also notice that these spiders make a large web that can be a few feet in diameter. These webs feature an extra thick, zig-zag pattern in them called a stabilimentum. These spiders are often referred to as the “writing spider” for that pattern.

If you harass one of these spiders, they may bite you. However, their bites are about as severe as a bee sting unless the individual has allergies to the spider’s venom.

1. Dark Fishing Spider

dark fishing spider
The dark fishing spider is often found in wooded areas.


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

The dark fishing spider is the biggest spider in Maryland, measuring over 4 inches long, including its leg span. These spiders are usually found in wooded areas near water. They are expert hunters that feast on a variety of different creatures, including aquatic insects.

The dark fishing spider is brown or even reddish brown. It has dark brown patterns across the entire body. Its legs have black markings before giving way to light and dark brown bands at the ends.

This large spider is not very dangerous to humans. They are reluctant to bite people, preferring to flee. However, their bites are said to be similar to a bee sting, causing swelling and pain in the afflicted area. It’s best to leave these spiders alone.

We’ve identified some of the biggest spiders in Maryland, but let’s take a moment to talk about the most dangerous. Rather than worry about any of the spiders on this list, you must watch out for the brown recluse and the black widow spiders. If you see them, do not try to handle them. Either exterminate them, leave them alone, or call a specialist to handle them for you.

Summary of 5 of the Biggest Spiders in Maryland

1 Dark Fishing SpiderCauses a reaction similar to a bee sting
2Black and Yellow Garden SpiderRarely bites humans, but it may cause pain and swelling
3Wolf SpiderCauses swelling, pain, and redness that lingers for a while and diminishes
4Long-Bodied Cellar SpiderCauses a mild burning sensation
5Southern House SpiderCauses pain that diminishes over a day or two

The Featured Image

Wolf Spider
© iStock.com/Henrik_L

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About the Author

I've been a freelance writer since 2013, and I've written in a variety of niches such as managed service providers, animals, and retail distribution. I graduated from Rowan University in 2014. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games, reading, and writing for fun.

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