The warm climate and the abundance of green areas make Florida the ideal habitat for numerous native and non-native animals – also for spiders.
While the vast majority of all Florida spiders are harmless for humans or larger pets, a few species can cause significant harm with their strong venom. This page provides an overview of the most common spiders in Florida and introduce you to the ones you should be careful about.
Poisonous spiders in Florida
Even though almost all spiders use venom to subdue their prey, only very few species are considered medically significant, i.e. can deliver bites that frequently require medical attention.
Four species of widow spiders (Latrodectus) and the brown recluse spider (Loxosceles) are the only potentially dangerous spiders in Florida.
Widow spiders in Florida
Widow spiders (genus Latrodectus) are best identified by their large round shiny abdomen, long front and hind legs and a red or orange hourglass shape on the underside of their abdomen. Since they often hang upside down in their webs, it’s usually easy to identify this obvious warning sign.
In Florida, four species of widow spiders can be found:
- Southern Black Widow Spider (Latrodectus mactans)
- Northern Black Widow (Latrodectus variolus)
- Red Widow (Latrodectus bishopi)
- Brown Widow Spider (Latrodectus geometricus)
Latrodectus mactans, the Southern black widow is a close relative of the Northern black widow and the Western black widow ...Read More
Latrodectus, the black widow spider is one of the most famed and feared spider genera in the world. Hollywood tends ...Read More
Latrodectus geometricus, commonly called the brown widow spider, is one of the most common widow spiders that can be found ...Read More
Latrodectus mactans, the southern black widow
The adult female is mostly dark black with a red hourglass shape on the underside. The two sides of the hourglass are fused. The male is much smaller with long black and brown legs and red and white patterns on its back. Only the adult female is potentially dangerous.
Latrodectus variolus, the northern black widow
Northern black widows look almost identical to southern black widows. The best way to tell them apart is by looking at the hourglass shape: The northern black widow has two red triangles that look like an hourglass but don’t touch eachother.
Latrodectus bishopi, the red widow
The red widow is only found in southern and central Florida – nowhere else in the world. It almost exclusively appears in sand-pine scrub habitats. While the overall body shape is similar to other widows, the cephalothorax (head area) and legs are red, while the abdomen is black. This spider is also considered medically significant even though little is known about the potency and effects of its venom, as bites of this uncommon spider are rare.
Latrodectus geometricus, the brown widow
The brown widow is an introduced species, originally from South Africa. As their common name suggests, they are usually brown and also have an orange hourglass shape on the underside of their abdomen. Since brown widows can only inject a smaller amount of venom than black widows, they are not considered medically significant.
Brown recluse spiders in Florida
The brown recluse spider, also known as the “violin” spider or “fiddleback spider,” is the one of the most feared spiders in North America. As they prefer dry climate, they are not very common in Florida and are only found in the northeastern parts of the Florida panhandle.
The body size of a brown recluse spiders is typically 3/4 in., always less than an inch. Its completely brown with a violin-shaped darker marking on its back. The long thin legs are not hairy and the abdomen is brown or cream-colored without any patterns or markings. Recluse sightings in Florida are quite rare as most alleged sightings are similar-looking large brown spiders (see section below).
The brown recluse, loxosceles reclusa, is one of the more dangerous spiders indigenous in the United States. While usually not life-threatening, a brown recluse bite might lead to severe skin damage. This page gives an overview of how to identify a brown recluse and in which states in the US it appears. The brown recluse compared to the size of a penny. Brown Recluse Description The brown recluse spider is ...Read More
Big brown spiders in Florida
The bigger the spider, the scarier it looks to many people. But rest assured, none of the large brown spiders that you may come across in Florida are dangerous to humans or pets. The only potentially dangerous brown spider, the brown recluse, never reaches a body size of 1 inch or above – any spider larger than one inch you may see in Florida is not dangerous. We’ll quickly introduce you to some of the most common ones: wolf spiders, fishing spiders and huntsman spiders.
Wolf spiders of the family Lycosidae are some of the largest and most commonly encountered spiders in North America. The Carolina wolf spider (Hogna carolinensis) can reach a body size of up to 2 inches. Wolf spiders are active hunters and do not spin webs to catch their prey. They are mostly seen running on the ground – in or around homes.
The Lycosidae, commonly called wolf spiders are a family of hunter spiders found throughout the United States and the rest of the world. There are many species of the Wolf Spider in North America, many of which look very similar. Twice in the past I asked an entomologist (both times ...Read More
Fishing spiders of the genus Dolomedes are often found near bodies of water and feed on insects as well as small fish or tadpoles. These spiders have perfected their life around water so much that some species even have the ability to walk on water.
As the name suggests, the fishing spider is a semi-aquatic genus of spiders that are found all over the world. Various species of Dolomedes can be found in every US state. Dolomedes are a genus of the Nursery Web Spider family. They are large hunter spiders that usually find their prey around water. They will place their legs on the water surface and feel any movement that is caused by ...Read More
The tropical huntsman spider (Heteropoda venatoria) is the largest spider in Florida in terms of leg span. Adult females can reach a leg span of up to 5 inches (12 cm). Their bodies are usually slightly smaller than those of large wolf spiders. Huntsman spiders are also hunting spiders who don’t spin webs.
Heteropoda venatoria, the pantropical huntsman spider, is a member of the running crab spider family Sparassidae. They are commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions around. This particular species is native to North America and is mostly found in the warmer States along the Gulf Coast as well as in ...Read More
Olios Giganteus, the giant crab spider, belongs to the family of Sparassidae spiders, which are commonly called huntsman spiders. As other crab spiders, they have curved legs which gives them a crab-like appearance. However, the giant crab spider can reach a leg span of up to 6 inches (15 cm) ...Read More
The golden orb-weaver (Trichonephila clavipes) also known as the “Banana spider” by Floridians is a colorful large spider that spins large, golden webs. The female can reach a total leg span of three inches, males are less colorful and considerably smaller with an average body size of 1/4 inch (6 mm).
In autumn, these spiders, along with other orb-weavers are some of the most commonly encountered arachnids in gardens or forests. They are rarely encountered inside. Over the last years, a relative of the banana spider, the joro spider (Trichonephila clavata) has been introduced to Georgia from Asia and has established sizeable populations that are also spreading into northern Florida. Neither the banana spider nor the joro spider can cause medically significant bites.
Trichonephila clavipes, commonly called banana spider or golden-silk orb weaver is a unique orb weaver species due to its shape ...Read More
Other common spiders in FL
Below is an overview of some of the most common FL spiders that we haven’t introduced in this article yet. Florida’s most common house spiders are cellar spiders (Pholcidae), false widows (Steatoda sp.), common house spiders (Parasteatoda sp.). In your backyard, you are more likely to find orb-weavers (Araneidae) who spin large webs, flower crab spiders (Misumena) or jumping spiders (Salticidae).
Acanthepeira stellata, commonly called the starbellied orb weaver, is one of the most remarkable and memorable orb weaver spiders. Its ...Read More
Agelenopsis, American grass spiders, are a genus of spiders that can be found around the world and in every US ...Read More
While the giant lichen orb weaver may not be the largest orb weaver in terms of diameter, thanks to its ...Read More
Araneus trifolium, the shamrock spider, is a widely distributed orb weaver that can come in various colors, mostly beige or ...Read More
The silver garden spider, Argiope argentata, is a common orb weaver in the warm and humid regions in the Southern ...Read More
The Argiope Aurantia or black and yellow garden spider appears in every US state and in many other countries around ...Read More
The Argiope trifasciata or Banded Garden Spider is one of the most common species of the Argiope orb weaving spider ...Read More
Castianeira descripta, more commonly know as the red-spotted ant mimic spider gets its common name from the similar look and ...Read More
Castianeira longipalpa, sometimeys referred to as the long-palped ant mimic sac spider is found along the Eastern United States as ...Read More
Cheiracanthium mildei, the northern yellow sac spider is one of the most common spiders in Northeastern America. However, it can ...Read More
Spiders of the genus Clubiona, commonly called leaf-curling sac spiders, can be found throughout the world and in every US ...Read More
As the name suggests, the Dysdera crocata, or commonly called woodlouse spider, primarily preys on woodlice. The spider can be ...Read More
The bowl and doily spiders, known as Frontinella pyramitela, are a small species of spiders that belong to the family ...Read More
The spinybacked orbweaver is a small harmless spider with six characteristic spines along the back of its abdomen. It can ...Read More
The gray house spider, Badmuna longinqua, is a medium sized black and gray spider originally native to Australia. It has ...Read More
Herpyllus ecclesiasticus, The Eastern parson spider is one of the most commonly encountered hunter spiders in the United States. The ...Read More
Hibana are a genus of spiders commonly referred to as ghost spiders. They are common throughout South and Central America, ...Read More
Kukulcania hibernalis, the Southern House Spider is a large brown spider that can be found throughout the Southern United States, ...Read More
Larinioides Cornutus, commonly known as the furrow spider, is an orb weaver species that can be found throughout the Northern ...Read More
Leucauge venusta, commonly called orchard spider is an orb weaver spider that can be found in the Eastern US states, ...Read More
Lyssomanes viridis, commonly called magnolia green jumper, is a small bright green jumping spider that can be found in the ...Read More
Maevia inclemens, commonly called dimorphic jumper is a species of jumping spiders mainly found in the Eastern U.S. States and ...Read More
Mangora gibberosa, the lined orbweaver, is a common spider found throughout the eastern part of North America. One of the ...Read More
Menemerus bivittatus, commonly called the gray wall jumper or the gray jumping spider, is a jumping spider that can be ...Read More
Metaltella simoni is a spider species that is commonly often referred to as hacklemesh weaver. This may lead to confusion ...Read More
Micrathena gracilis, commonly known as spined micrathena, is one of the spiny orb weaver spiders. The spiny body serves to ...Read More
The spider species Micrathena mitrata, commonly called white micrathena, is an orb weaving spider. They have a large bulbous white ...Read More
The arrow-shaped orb weaver, Micrathena sagittata, is a strange-looking, arrow-shaped spider that is commonly found in gardens of the Eastern ...Read More
The misumena, commonly called flower crab spider, is a genus of spiders that hunt their prey in or around flowers ...Read More
Neoscona arabesca, commonly known as the arabesque orbweaver, is one of the most common orbweaver species that can be found ...Read More
Neoscona crucifera, commonly known as the spotted orbweaver, is an orb weaver species indigenous to the Eastern part of North ...Read More
Commonly known as Red-femured spotted orb weaver or spotted orb weaver, these spiders are in the family of Araneidae which ...Read More
The Pachygnatha is technically part of the Orb Weaver family. However, it does not spin a web and is a ...Read More
Parasteatoda tepidariorum, or the common house spider can be found in every US state. The spider is also distributed throughout ...Read More
Peucetia viridans, commonly known as the green lynx spider, is a large bright green spider found on many kinds of ...Read More
Phidippus audax, commonly known as the daring jumping spider is a jumping spider found throughout the USA. As their name ...Read More
Phidippus regius, the regal jumping spider, is one of the largest species of the jumping spiders of the Phidippus genera ...Read More
Philodromus, commonly called running crab spider, is a genus of crab spiders. Various species can be found throughout the entire ...Read More
As strange as it sounds, the Pholcidae, or Cellar Spider is one of the most misunderstood spiders in the world ...Read More
Piraurina Mira, commonly called nursery web spider, is a brown spider species with long legs. They are endemic to the ...Read More
The tan jumping spider is a mostly black and gray jumping spider found in the Eastern United States. The can ...Read More
Salticus scenicus, the zebra spider, is a jumping spider that can be found in the entire Northern Hemisphere. As its ...Read More
The spitting spider, scientifically called Scytodaes thoracica, is a fascinating type of hunting spider that captures and paralyzes its prey ...Read More
The Steatoda bipunctata, commonly called rabbit hutch spider is a black spider found throughout the United States. It comes from ...Read More
The Steatoda grossa, commonly called the false black widow spider or cupboard spider can be found throughout the United States ...Read More
The Steatoda triangulosa, commonly called the triangulate cobweb spider is a brown-black spider found throughout the US. It has an ...Read More
The Trachelas Transquillus, or broad-faced sac spider is a spider that is native to the Eastern part of the United ...Read More
The tropical orb weaver, Eriophora ravilla, is a harmless orb weaver spider found throughout the tropical areas of the Americas ...Read More
Ummidia is a genus of spiders that can be found around the world. Among other genus, they are commonly called ...Read More
The arrow-head spider, Verrucosa arenata, is an orb-weaver spider found throughout the United States. Its common name arrowhead spider or ...Read More
Spiders of the Xysticus genus, also called ground crab spiders are a rather indistinct species. As all crab spiders, they ...Read More
Even though Xysticus funestus has a dangerously-sounding common name, the deadly ground crab spider, it is of absolutely no concern ...Read More
Florida spider identification
If you have found a spider in Florida that is not on this article or that you cannot identify, head over to our spider identification page. We have built a spider identification tool where you can answer a couple of questions and the tool will show you a list of potential matches. If that still fails to identify your spider, you can take a photo of your Florida spider and upload it to that page. Our experts will give their best to identify the spider for you and get back to you as soon as possible.