Spiders of Acadiana Park

orchard orbweaver

Orchard Orbweaver - Leucauge venusta

Size: 5mm

Web is circular with an open center and is often horizontal. The underside of this spider is green and yellow with orange spots, while the back has silvery stripes.

spiny crab-like orbweaver

Spiny Crab-like Orbweaver - Gasteracantha cancriformis

Size: 9mm

This spider is wide, flat, crab shaped, and can be red, white, orange, or yellow, with dark spots that seem to form a "smiley face" or a skull. Females are spotted by the 6 spines lining the outside of the body. The web features dotted white lines of sticky, doubled silk along the outside.

golden silk spider

Golden Silk Spider - Nephila clavipes

Size: Female 23mm; male 6mm.

Commonly called "Banana spider". The golden webs can span distances of several yards and are strong enough to capture large prey like cicadas. The body of this spider is an orange color; the legs feature tufts of black hair at the joints. The spider's head is white with black markings and seems to resemble a skull.

giant wolf spider

Giant Wolf Spider - Hogna carolinensis

Size: Female 23mm avg; male 19mm avg.

The largest of the wolf spiders, this spider usually builds a burrow in the ground. Females carry the egg sac underneath them until hatching occurs. The female will then carry about 100 spiderlings on her back for up to 2 weeks. The wolf spider is often mistaken for the tarantula, which does not occur in this area.

 

kite spider

Kite Spider - Micrathena gracilis

Size: Female 8mm avg; male 4mm avg.

The spiny projections on this spider's abdomen make them hard to eat and helps to keep them hidden from predators. There are five pairs of equally sized spines on the abdomen. Most common colors are black and white. Compare to the Arrow Spider.

 

Common House Spider - Achaearanea tepidariorum

Size: 5mm

The Common House Spider is the most commonly seen spider in North America. They can be found in and around houses, barns, sheds and other structures. The web is irregular and usually found in corners. The spider's abdomen is bulbous and marbled. The Common House Spider is often confused with the Widow Spiders.

 

Marbled Orbweaver - Araneus bicentarius

Size: Female 18mm avg; male 6mm.

These orbweavers have bulbous abdomens and vary in color. They usually hang head down in the center of the web with their legs tucked in. The spider replaces its vertical circular web with a new web each night in total darkness using its excellent sense of touch.

southern house spider

Southern House Spider - Kukulcania hibernalis

Size: Female 15mm avg; male 9mm avg.

This uniformly brown spider is often confused with Recluse spiders. The females live around eight years, but the males die after mating. The Southern House Spider is in a group known as crevice weavers; their webs are tunnel-like and found in cracks. They use guidelines of silk to feel vibrations of prey that gets near the web.

 

Barn Spider - Neoscona sp.

Size: 10mm avg

Compact spider with reddish legs; usually folded in. Triangle shaped abdomen of varying colors. Round, vertical web. The Barn spider can most often be found in the center of the web.

black yellow argiope

Black & Yellow Argiope - Argiope aurantia

Size: 25mm avg

Large, yellow, black and white spider. Argiopes usually sit in the center of their web. Web is characterized by the vertical zigzag white pattern in the center which is used to stabilize the web under the weight of the spider and its prey. They can easily catch and eat prey twice their own length.

cellar spider

Cellar Spider - Pholcus phalangioides

Size: 7mm avg.

The long, spindly legs of this spider are often mistaken for "Daddy long legs". The abdomen is grey and pale yellow in color. Webs are irregular shapes, and the spider can be found hanging upside down from the web. When disturbed the spider will vibrate the web so fast that it looks blurry and can confuse predators.

 

Harvestman - Order: Opiliones

Size: 6mm

Harvestmen are commonly known as "Daddy long legs". Although they are not spiders they do belong to the family of arachnids. Harvestmen do not have venom, lack fangs, and do not make webs. Their eight legs are used for walking, breathing, smelling, and catching prey. Harvestmen can be found almost anywhere, alone or in groups. There are 200+ species in N. America.

arrow spider

Arrow Spider - Micrathena sagittata

Size: Female 8mm; male 4mm.

The Arrow Spider has yellow, red and black colors on the abdomen along with two large, black spines and two pairs of smaller spines for protection and disguise. The web is usually well hidden and near the ground. Sometimes the web has a vertical white zigzag pattern from the top to the center for stabilization.

 

Green Lynx - Peucetia viridians

Size: 14mm avg.

The body of the Green Lynx is predominantly bright green with white and red markings; the legs are covered in black spines. These spiders inhabit flowers, grass, and other foliage. They sit and wait for insects to visit the plant and then ambush and overpower their prey.

 

Crab Spider - Misumenops sp.

Size: 6mm avg.

Crab Spiders appear flattened and always hold their legs out to the sides with the front pairs longer than the others. Their ability to walk sideways gave them the name "Crab" spider. They are ambush predators and can be found on flowers, foliage, and tree bark waiting for prey.

fisher spider

Fisher Spider - Dolomedes sp.

Size: Female 24mm avg; male 10mm avg.

Fisher Spiders are large, sprawling, and boldly marked. They are usually found around water and can be found on trees, buildings and boats. Some of their adaptations include the ability to skate on the surface of water; they also dive underwater to catch prey and to escape enemies.

jumping spider

Jumping Spider - Corythalia canosa

Size: 5mm avg.

These spiders are brown and black with white dots on their head, and have white mouth parts that are constantly moving. Jumping Spiders have the best vision of all spiders and can be seen stalking prey. They can jump several times their body length and often attach a strand of silk to something before jumping so that it can be used as a safety rope so they can regain their position.

 

Trapdoor Spider - Ummidia sp.

Size: up to 25mm

Trapdoor spiders are close relatives of tarantulas. They are smaller with less hairy abdomens and shiny legs. Trapdoor spiders prey mostly on other insects. The trapdoor spider is preyed on extensively by parasitic wasps. They build tunnels in disturbed areas, along insect walkways. The tunnel is capped with a trapdoor. The most well-known is the *cork*-type door, which is very thick and fits the opening exactly. The other is the *wafer*-type door, which is a sheet of silk and dirt. The doors are also equipped with silk hinges. The tunnel is used by the trapdoor spider as shelter, as protection, as a nursery, and as a trapping device. The top of the door is camouflaged with bits of debris. When the spider is using the trap to capture prey, it holds the lid shut and awaits the vibrations of passing prey. When prey hits the silk trip lines near the door the spider throws open the hatch, grabs the prey and returns with it to the tunnel. The tunnel is also used as a nursery. The female remains with the eggs, allowing the spiderlings to hatch and remain unharmed until they are eight months old.

 

Long-jawed Orbweaver - Tetragnatha sp.

Size: 9mm avg

Long-jawed Orb Weavers are named because of their large fangs, which are often longer than the spider's cephalothorax. All spiders in this family have 8 eyes. Preferred habitat for long-jawed orb weavers is in vegetation near water. Like true orb weavers, long-jawed orb weavers build webs that resemble a circle. At rest, these spiders lay along a twig or piece of grass and extend their legs forward and back to blend into their habitat.

southern widow

Southern Widow - Latrodectus mactans

Size: 9mm

There are three North American spider species of what people refer to as "black widows". Biologists recognize Southern, L. mactans; Northern, L. various and Western, L. hesperus. The female widow can live over 3 years. The female's abdomen is black and rounded with a red hourglass marking on the underside. The male is about half the size of the female and has an oval-shaped abdomen with white and red side markings. Widows are commonly found beneath undisturbed piles of wood and tires, as well as in old wrack lines, inside portable toilets, around abandoned buildings, and in crawl areas. Their diet consists of insects including crickets, and beetles as well as arthropods. Their web is a strong, irregularly patterned cobweb. They are the largest members of the cobweb weaver family (Theridiidae). Contrary to popular belief, the male is not always consumed after mating. Even though the venom of the black widow is 15 times as toxic as that of a rattlesnake, less than 1% of the people bitten by a widow die.

 

Brown Widow - Latrodectus geometricus

Size: 11mm

Not native to the U.S. but is well established in many areas. Both genders of the brown widow have banded legs. The body of the female brown can be any variety of brown shades, from light to dark. The hourglass of this species is usually some shade of orange. Like the male of other widow species, the male of the brown widow is slender and smaller than the female. This species is widely distributed in tropical zones and has been introduced along the Gulf Coast through commerce, shipping, etc. The brown widow can be found in buildings or piles of wood but unlike other widows, the brown widow will make webs in areas that are regularly disturbed. All widows, when disturbed, at one point or another, will fall out of the web, roll into a ball and play dead. The brown widow's venom is more toxic than other widow species, although less is injected. This spider's egg sac has tiny spikes on the surface, while other widows' egg sacs are smooth.

brown recluse

Brown Recluse - Loxosceles recluse

Size: 8mm

The recluse is an inconspicuous brown spider. Often called a "Violin Spider" because of the dark violin shaped marking on the head region. Recluses can be found under debris such as rotting logs, discarded sheets of tin or carpet, large rocks or in fairly undisturbed areas like tool sheds, boat houses, etc. They do not spin a web for hunting purposes, but can produce silk, like all spiders. The silk is used more for when the spider is at rest, or when an eggsac is laid. The venom of all recluses (11 species north of Mexico), is a hemotoxin, which destroys red blood cells and causes skin damage. The bite is treatable if discovered early, but can also become infected if unchecked, which is where the seriousness of the situation begins to develop into a more aggressive regime of medical treatment. Spiders do not bite humans unless they feel threatened or provoked. Sometimes, a spider may be in a place such as a shoe or a glove, probably resting, but this is not the typical habitat for these animals. With more human development, there will no doubt be more interactions with recluses as we move into their already existing habitat.