5 of the Biggest Spiders in Ohio

dark fishing spider
© iStock.com/JasonOndreicka

Written by Kyle Glatz

Updated: August 10, 2023

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Ohio is the birthplace of presidents and marks the starting point of the massive river from which the state gets its name. This state is home to many different kinds of wildlife, including a variety of spiders. Today, we’re going to explore some of the biggest spiders in Ohio.

That way, if you encounter one of them in the wild, you will know they don’t have the power to harm you seriously. Let’s look at some of these large arachnids without further ado!

The Dark Fishing Spider is the largest spider in Ohio.

What Are the Biggest Spiders in Ohio?

When we consider the biggest spiders in Ohio, it would be all too easy to focus on a few genera and their largest species. That’s why we’ve only brought in a single representative from each genus. By the time we’re finished listing these five big spiders, you’ll know what they look like, how dangerous they are to humans, and how big they grow, including their leg span!

5. Long-Bodied Cellar Spider

daddy long legs

Cellar spiders have long legs.

©iStock.com/ViniSouza128

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

The cellar spider is a common spider that lurks in basements, garages, and other less-traveled areas in and around one’s home. This spider is sometimes called the daddy long legs because of its large leg-to-body ratio. However, that name also applies to the harvestman, an arachnid that’s not a spider.

Don’t believe the urban legends. These spiders can bite you, but they are not venomous to the point where they would issue a fatal bite. Instead, you would experience a mild burning sensation and some pain around the bite location.

These spiders are easy to identify with their long legs, translucent bodies, and grayish-brown or light brown color. You don’t need to be afraid of these living in your basement because they can consume other, more harmful types of spiders including black widows.

4. Black and Yellow Garden Spider

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

©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 a creature with a very noticeable web and leg size. As their scientific name suggests, the spider has a silver cephalothorax when viewed from the top. Their abdomen is patterned with black and yellow, and it may also have some gray or silver patterns too.

They have long legs that are reddish brown on the femur and banded reddish brown and black on the tibia. You can discover these spiders according to their web alone. They make large webs that are several feet in diameter and possess a long, thick section called a stabilimentum.

That portion of the web gives these spiders their nickname, the writing spider, since it looks like messy handwriting. The spider may bite if you bother it, and that can cause some minor pain and swelling, like a bee sting.

3. American Nursery Web Spider

american nursery web spider

Female American nursery web spiders are known for eating 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 is an interesting species that is known for two things. First off, it builds a nursery out of the web for its eggs that are about to hatch. She then stands guard over it. Secondly, the father of those hatchlings may have been eaten by the mother since they attempt to cannibalize the males after mating.

This spider is usually found outdoors near woods, living on the tall vegetation of fields where they can hunt their prey. They are wandering hunters like wolf spiders, and they don’t rely on their webs as their only means of obtaining food.

These spiders are known for their brown or reddish-brown coloring and a darker brown stripe bordered by a light color running the length of their body. Their legs may appear solid in color or have light and dark chevrons on the femurs and banding light and dark brown on the tibias and below.

A bite from one of these spiders is rare, but it can cause pain and a bump in the area where it is delivered.

2. Carolina Wolf Spider

Largest Wolf Spider - Carolina Wolf Spider

Carolina wolf spiders are among the largest spiders in the U.S.

©Will E. Davis/Shutterstock.com

Scientific NameSizeDanger to Humans
Hogna carolinensis2-4 inchesThe bite from this spider causes local pain and swelling.

The Carolina wolf spider has the largest body of any spider in Ohio. They can measure upwards of an inch and a half in body length and about four inches in leg span. For better or worse, these spiders are becoming increasingly rare in this part of the United States.

This spider can bite humans, but they rarely interact with them. The spider would have to be seriously bothered or feel it is in danger to bite. If they do bite a human, the individual would feel moderate pain and experience swelling at the site. Moreover, if they are allergic to the spider’s venom, they can experience even more serious effects.

This is not the only species of wolf spider that lives in Ohio, though. Several other species exist in Ohio, and some of them are several inches long as well.

1. Dark Fishing Spider

dark fishing spider

Dark fishing spiders are usually light-colored and live near trees.

©iStock.com/JasonOndreicka

Scientific NameSizeDanger to Humans
Dolomedes tenebrosus3.5-4.5 inchesThis spider can bite humans and deliver pain that is similar to a bee sting.

Dark fishing spiders are the biggest spiders in Ohio, but they also pose a very small threat to human beings. You’ll often find this particular species on trees nearby water. Like wolf spiders, they don’t use webs to hunt their prey. Instead, they rely on chasing them down. As you might imagine, they’re fast spiders that can scare people with their combination of size and speed.

Although they are large, they aren’t harmful. A bite from one of these is about as painful as a wasp bite or a bee sting. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to leave these beings to their own devices rather than harass them.

The dark fishing spider is known for having a mottled carapace with W-shaped patterns on its abdomen. They are often light brown to dark brown in color, with light and dark brown bands running down the length of their legs.

The biggest spiders in Ohio are not the most dangerous, though. You need to watch out for black widow spiders and brown recluse spiders especially, but you should watch out for the yellow sac spider as well. Give these spiders some distance, or have them professionally removed from your home.

Summary of 5 of the Biggest Spiders in Ohio

RankSpiderSize
1Dark Fishing Spider3.5-4.5 inches
2Carolina Wolf Spider2-4 inches
3American Nursery Web Spider1-3 inches
4Black and Yellow Garden Spider0.5-3 inches
5Long-Bodied Cellar Spider1-2 inches


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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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