Louisiana is home to a diverse array of spider species, ranging from elaborate web-builders to efficient hunters. These spiders play a crucial role in the state’s ecosystem and are generally harmless to humans. In this article, Wildlife Informer highlights ten common spiders found in Louisiana, providing identification pictures and key details about each species. From the American Grass Spider’s unique hunting techniques to the bright green Green Lynx Spider’s impressive vision, readers will gain a better understanding of these fascinating arachnids that share our environment.
10 Common Spiders in Louisiana (ID Pictures)
Louisiana is home to around 40 different spider species, some more common than others. Some build elaborate webs, while others are efficient hunters. These creatures are an essential part of Louisiana’s ecosystem and, for the most part, are docile and harmless. This article details ten of the most common spiders in Louisiana.
American Grass Spider
Scientific Name: Agelenopsis
The American grass spider, also known as a funnel-web spider, builds cave-like funnel-shaped webs in the grass. This spider is unique because it hunts prey and uses a web to catch prey. The American grass spider can move very quickly to pounce on prey and drag it back into the web, or it can wait for an insect to get entangled in the funnel web. These brown and tan spiders have two dark brown or black lines running down the top of the cephalothorax or head region.
Banded Garden Spider
Scientific Name: Argiope trifasciata
The banded garden spider is recognizable by the banded or striped pattern on its abdomen and legs. Some are reddish-brown with white bands, and others are black with yellow or white bands. The females, which can grow up to 25mm in length, are twice the size of the males. As members of the orb weaver family, the banded garden spider builds a large, orb-shaped web with a signature zigzag pattern near the center of the web.
Green Lynx Spider
Scientific Name: Peucetia viridans
The green lynx spider is a bright green spider with long black spines on each of its eight legs. This spider gets its name from the lynx cat, which can jump great distances. The green lynx spider has excellent vision and can spot prey up to four inches away, and then it can pounce from several inches away instead of building a web to catch its prey.
Southern Black Widow
Scientific Name: Latrodectus mactans
This shiny, jet-black spider is known for the red hourglass adorning the female’s abdomen. The males are black but lack the hourglass marking. They are also significantly smaller than the females. The females are venomous to humans, but the males are not. The female of this species is known to kill and eat the males after mating, which is where the name “widow” comes from.
Common House Spider
Scientific Name: Parasteatoda tepidariorum
One of the most common spiders in Louisiana is the aptly named common house spider, also known as the American house spider. These arachnids are brown with white or black markings on their abdomens. They have spindly legs and spin wispy cobwebs reminiscent of Halloween decorations. They typically live in windows and other undisturbed areas of houses. These spiders are not aggressive and tend to keep to themselves.
Scientific Name: Loxosceles reclusa
These venomous spiders are dark grayish or yellowish brown. Their bite can cause nerve and tissue damage in the most severe cases. Brown recluse spiders in Louisiana are shy and not usually aggressive. They are nocturnal but can be found hiding during the day in undisturbed areas like closets.
Spinybacked Orb Weaver Spider
Scientific Name: Gasteracantha
As the name suggests, the females of this species have six spines sticking out of their backs. They can range in color from red and orange to white and yellow. The female’s spines are either black or red, but the males do not have spines. This spider is sometimes referred to as the crab-like orb weaver because its abdomen is broad and resembles the shell of a crab rather than the typical round or bulbous abdomen of other spiders.
Texas Brown Tarantula
Scientific Name: Aphonopelma hentzi
While the Texas brown tarantula is a common spider in Louisiana, it is rarely seen because it spends most of its time in burrows in the ground. Including leg span, these large spiders can grow up to four inches and are covered in tiny hairs. They typically have light brown or tan bodies and dark brown legs. Though they can look scary, they are mostly docile and only bite if cornered.
Scientific Name: Trichonephila clavipes
Banana spiders get their name from their bright yellow abdomens that resemble the color of a banana. The large females can grow up to three inches in length, including leg span, while the males are much smaller, only growing up to ¾ of an inch long. They are part of the orb weaver family and spend their time in large, orb-shaped webs that can stretch up to several feet wide.
Red Spotted Ant Mimic Spider
Scientific Name: Castianeira descripta
The red-spotted ant mimic spider is black with bright red markings on the top side of the abdomen with a white line that runs down the top of the back. This unique spider has a sneaky habit where it walks on the back three sets of legs while holding the other two legs up to mimic an ant’s antennae. This tricks insects into thinking the spider is a harmless ant, so the spider can get close enough to grab and kill them.
In Louisiana, there are ten common spiders that residents may come across. These spiders have distinct characteristics and behaviors that set them apart from one another. By understanding the different spider species in the area, individuals can have a better appreciation for the diversity of wildlife in their environment.
The American grass spider, also known as Agelenopsis, can be identified by its cave-like funnel-shaped webs found in the grass. These spiders are unique because they use their webs to hunt and catch prey. With their quick movements and strong webs, they are skilled predators in their ecosystem.
Another common spider in Louisiana is the banded garden spider, scientifically known as Argiope trifasciata. These spiders are recognizable by the striped pattern on their abdomen and legs. They are part of the orb weaver family and construct large, orb-shaped webs with a distinctive zigzag pattern near the center.
The green lynx spider, also known as Peucetia viridans, stands out with its bright green color and long black spines on its legs. These spiders are agile hunters and can pounce on prey from several inches away, thanks to their excellent vision. Unlike other spiders, they do not rely heavily on webs for capturing prey.
The Southern black widow, scientifically named Latrodectus mactans, is a venomous spider commonly found in Louisiana. The females have a shiny, jet-black body with a red hourglass marking on their abdomen. While the females are venomous, the males do not possess the same danger.
The common house spider, also known as Parasteatoda tepidariorum, is a familiar sight in Louisiana homes. These spiders are brown with white or black markings on their abdomens and often weave wispy cobwebs in undisturbed areas of houses. Despite their somewhat creepy appearance, they are typically non-aggressive and pose no threat to humans.
One of the more notorious spiders in Louisiana is the brown recluse, scientifically known as Loxosceles reclusa. These spiders are venomous and have a reputation for causing tissue and nerve damage with their bites. However, they are typically shy and do not exhibit aggressive behavior unless provoked.
The spinybacked orb weaver spider, or Gasteracantha, is recognized by the six spines sticking out of the female’s abdomen. Their colorful bodies, ranging from red and orange to white and yellow, make them stand out from other spider species. Their broad abdomens resemble the shell of a crab, earning them the nickname “crab-like orb weavers.”
While the Texas brown tarantula, scientifically known as Aphonopelma hentzi, is a common spider in Louisiana, it is often rarely seen. These large spiders spend most of their time in burrows in the ground, making them less likely to encounter humans. Despite their intimidating appearance, they are usually docile and only bite when cornered.
The appropriately named banana spider, or Trichonephila clavipes, can be identified by its bright yellow abdomen. The females of this species can grow up to three inches long, while the males are much smaller. These spiders construct large, orb-shaped webs that can reach several feet in width.
Lastly, the red spotted ant mimic spider, scientifically known as Castianeira descripta, has a unique adaptation. It walks on its back three sets of legs while holding the other two legs up, mimicking the appearance of an ant’s antennae. This disguise allows it to fool unsuspecting insects and capture them as prey.
In conclusion, Louisiana is home to a diverse group of spiders. From ambush hunters like the American grass spider to skillful web builders like the banded garden spider, each spider has its own unique characteristics and behaviors. By understanding and appreciating these creatures, individuals can coexist with them and appreciate their role in the ecosystem.