Spiders can be found in every state across the US, including Michigan. Although these creepy arachnids can be terrifying, the vast majority of them aren’t dangerous. Black and brown are the most common colors for spiders, but how can you tell them apart? Today, we will take a look at six black spiders in Michigan, if they’re venomous or nonvenomous, and where they live!
6 Black Spiders In Michigan
Michigan is a diverse state with a lot of wildlife. To the dismay of many, part of that wildlife includes spiders! Still, these animals are important to the ecosystems they belong to, even if they creep us out. In Michigan, there are a lot of spider species, and many of them are hard to tell apart. If you have come across a black spider in Michigan, you may have wondered what kind it was.
Today, we are going to explore some of the most common black spiders that live in the state. In the end, you should be able to identify them and know about their preferred habitats. Let’s get started!
1. Northern Black Widow
The most famous of all spiders, let alone black spiders in Michigan, is probably the black widow. There are three species of the black widow in North America, with many more across the world. Black widows are venomous spiders and are by far the most venomous in North America. The species native to Michigan is the northern black widow.
Black widows are shiny black spiders with round bodies and long, spindly legs. They have red patterns on their bellies, usually in the shape of an hourglass, although, in northern variants, the pattern isn’t whole. Additionally, northern black widows have white lateral stripes along their abdomen.
These spiders live in webs, usually around old stumps, in piles of brush, crawlspaces, and sheds.
2. Parson Spider
The black Parsons spider gets its name from the small white stripe on the abdomen that resembles the cravat that clergymen (parsons) used to wear in the 18th century.
These spiders are usually black but also come in shades of brown. They are medium-sized spiders with hair across their bodies. Parson spiders don’t use webs. They crawl around at night looking for prey instead. They are extremely fast and ambush small insects with a quick bite to kill.
They aren’t dangerous to humans, although their venom is mildly toxic and can cause a small bump where they bite. Most usually live in the woods, but they can enter human dwellings to hunt at night.
3. Zebra Spider
The zebra spider is a small jumping spider that gets its name from the repeating black and white stripes across its body. These small spiders are a member of the jumping spider group and are known for their hunting strategy of “jumping” while pursuing their prey. They often resemble cats while hunting.
Zebra spiders can be found all over, but they prefer habitats with open areas to hunt. Rock faces, tree trunks, walls, and gardens are all popular places to find these arachnids. They occasionally enter human homes, although they aren’t dangerous to humans.
4. Black And Yellow Garden Spider
Black and yellow garden spiders are large spiders commonly seen around the country. As their name suggests, these spiders are black and yellow, although their yellow bits are quite a bit more distinct than their black ones. They are members of the orb-weaver family.
Black and yellow spiders have oblong bodies and long legs that extend in front and to the back of their body. Their body is yellow and black, although they can come in various patterns. The most common is a series of yellow and black stripes with small rings interspersed throughout.
Black and yellow garden spiders can be found in gardens and places with dense vegetation.
5. Black Lace-Weaver
Black lace-weavers are nocturnal spiders that live across most of Michigan. These spiders are small to medium-sized and have the body type of a tarantula, although they are much smaller. They originated in Europe, but have since spread across the globe.
Black lace-weavers are black-bodied spiders with a large, round thorax (lower segment) and well-proportioned legs. They are occasionally known for a light yellow or white pattern on their abdomen that resembles a skull.
Black lace weavers are found in dark areas, particularly under logs, stones, and even indoors. Since they are nocturnal, they come out during the night to hunt and search for mates.
6. Fierce Orb Weaver
Fierce orb weavers are found in the northern United States and Canada, although little research about them has been done. As their name suggests, they are members of the orb-weaver family.
Fierce orb weavers are small to medium-sized spiders. They are generally dark brown or black and quite hairy. Most of the time, these orb weavers keep their legs close to their bodies, causing them to appear balled up or dead. They spin webs to catch prey and their bite is venomous but extremely rare.
Fierce orb weavers can be found in wooded areas with tree cover, or around manmade structures with lots of mature growth and landscaping.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © IanJHall/Shutterstock.com
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.