We all know that spiders have eight legs and eat insects, but do you know which spiders are the biggest in Florida? With its temperate climate and plentiful insect prey, Florida is home to many species of spiders. They may not be quite as big as the bird-eating tarantula, but the biggest spiders in Florida are nothing to laugh at.
Here, we’ll learn about the seven largest spiders in Florida. We’ll cover where they live, what they look like, what they eat, and how common they are. Number one on our list just might make you cringe!
What are the Biggest Spiders in Florida?
When determining which spider is bigger, it’s important to take several factors into account. These are the spider’s body size and leg span. Depending on who you ask, any one of these numbers might be used to determine which spiders are the biggest in Florida. To help narrow things down, we’ve put all these numbers together in a table, let’s take a look.
|Body Size||Leg Span|
|Six-spotted Fishing Spider||0.75 in||2.5 in|
|Pantropic Huntsman Spider||1 in||5 in|
|Cellar Spider||0.4 in||2 in|
|Widow Spiders||0.5 in||1.5 in|
|Black-and-yellow Argiope Spider||1.1 in||1.5 in|
|Wolf Spider||1 in||4 in|
|Golden Silk Orb-Weaver Spider||3 in||5 in|
Now, let’s take a deep dive into the seven biggest spiders in Florida.
7. Six-Spotted Fishing Spider (Dolomedes triton)
Six-spotted fishing spiders have dark brown to black bodies with white or tan stripes on either side of their narrow heads and abdomens. They eat tadpoles, frogs, and small fish. Fishing spiders are some of the biggest spiders in Florida and live in almost any freshwater environment with suitable prey.
6. Pantropic Huntsman Spider (Heteropoda venatoria)
Huntsman spiders, or giant crab spiders, as they’re known in Florida, aren’t native to the United States. Scientists believe this species originated in Asia. They’re one of the biggest spiders in Florida, with adults reaching up to 5 inches in leg span. As with most spiders, females are bigger than males, though their legs are a bit shorter than those of males.
Huntsman spiders are light brown with dark brown markings. Up close, they have a furry appearance and long spikes on their legs. Females carry their egg sacs with them. Each egg sac can contain up to 200 eggs, which makes the egg sac a heavy load to carry. The huntsman spider’s primary prey are large insects, like cockroaches and crickets.
5. Cellar Spiders (Daddy Long Legs)
Cellar spiders, or daddy long legs, as they’re commonly known, live throughout the United States. The long legs that give them their name make them one of the biggest spiders in Florida. Cellar spiders’ bodies grow up to 0.4 inches long, with legs that can reach up to 2 inches across. Daddy long legs eat small insects, like flies and ants. They can be found in most urban settings; they’re completely harmless to humans.
4. Widow Spiders (Including Southern, Northern, Brown, and Black)
Number four on our list of the biggest spiders in Florida is the widow spider. Black widows are famously known for their red hourglass markings, and for their potent venom. Females of this genus grow to about twice the size of males. Adult widow spider’s bodies can reach half an inch in length, with legs up to 1.5 inches across.
Widow spiders weave webs, which they use to catch flying prey like flies, mosquitos, and crickets. Once trapped, widow spiders bite and envenomate their prey. Luckily, bites on humans are uncommon, and almost never life-threatening.
3. Black-and-yellow Argiope Spider (Argiope aurantia)
One of the most striking of the biggest spiders in Florida, the black-and-yellow argiope frequents gardens and landscaped areas. These web weavers have brilliantly colored thoraxes marked by alternating yellow and brown markings. Their legs are orange and black, and their heads tend to gray. Males are much smaller than females, which grow up to 1.1 inches long in the body, with legs up to 1.5 inches long. Black-and-yellow argiope spiders are garden favorites due to their ability to cull insect populations.
Common all over the world, there are nearly 3,000 separate species of wolf spiders.
Wolf spiders may be one of the most famous spiders in the world. They live everywhere, and females are known for carrying their young (spiderlings) on their backs. These spiders don’t build webs, like number one on our list of the biggest spiders in Florida. Instead, they hunt by ambush, waiting for insects to pass by.
Wolf spiders grow up to one inch long, with up to two-inch long legs. To go along with their size, they’re thick-bodied spiders that resemble tarantulas.
1. Golden Silk Orb-Weaver (Trichonephila clavipes)
The title of biggest spider in Florida goes to the incomparable golden silk orb-weaver. These spiders have long bodies with even longer legs characterized by alternating brown, black, and yellow bands. Their bodies are yellow, and can grow up to three inches long. But, that’s not the biggest thing about them—golden silk spiders have legs that can reach up to 5 inches across.
These incredible spiders prey mostly on flying insects, like flies, wasps, and bees. Females are much larger than males. In fact, female golden silk orb-weavers are the largest orb weavers in the United States. Golden orb-weavers are common in the southern United States, where they frequently build their webs across hiking trails, much to the consternation of hikers and backpackers.