Spiders in Washington State

Overall, there are around 950 known and documented different species of spiders in Washington State. If you are one of the many people who has trouble sleeping after seeing a spider in your home, you’ve come to the right place. On this site, you will find an overview of the one potentially dangerous spider in Washington and pictures and identification tips to find out what spider you are dealing with.

The largest group of Washington spiders are part of the family Linyphiidae. These are usually tiny spiders that roam around the forests (or occasionally our houses) and are commonly called sheet weavers or money spiders. They are generally secretive and encounters with humans are rare. Their body length is only around 0.1 inch (3 mm) and they are completely harmless. But you are probably not here because you found one of these tiny spiders in Washington. So let’s focus on the larger species.

The most important aspect for most people when finding a spider is safety. So we will first look at the poisonous spiders in Washington State and after ruling out that you are dealing with a dangerous spider, we will look at other most common Pacific Northwest Spiders. If you cannot identify the spider on this page, you will find a link to our spider identification tool where we will assist you with the identification (for free, of course).

Poisonous Spiders in Washington

While spiders are often referred to as poisonous, they are actually considered venomous. Poison is something you would ingest while venom is a toxin that is injected into your body. Almost all spiders have venom glands and are therefore considered venomous. However, only one spider in Washington state is considered medically significant:

The western black widow (Latrodectus hesperus)

While there are some small populations of western black widows in Washington, encountering one of these spiders in the Northwest is extremely unlikely. They are pretty-much non-existent throughout most of the state. The only known stable populations are known on the San Juan Islands. And even there, you are extremely unlikely to ever encounter a widow, let alone be bitten.

Black widows are medium-sized black spiders with a shiny, round and large abdomen. The black spider has a red hourglass-shaped pattern on its belly-side and sometimes red or white markings on the back. They spin erratic and tangled cob-webs. Learn more about the western black widow here:

Latrodectus hesperus Western black widow spider venomous spiders in the United States

Latrodectus Hersperus – Western Black Widow

Latrodectus hesperus, the Western black widow spider is one of the few medically significant venomous spiders in the United States. As its common name suggests, it can be found in the Western States of the US as well as in Canada. Description of the Western Black Widow The larger female Western black widow looks very similar to the Northern black widow and the Southern black widow female. The best indicator ...
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In the United States, black widows are often confused with the non-dangerous Steatoda grossa, fittingly called the false black widow. This spider is closely related to the widow but does never have red markings on its belly or back. The false widow can be somewhat brown or purple. Its bite can also cause nausea and other symptoms but not as severe as a widow.

Are there brown recluse spiders in Washington State?

The question whether there are brown recluse (Loxosceles reclusa) spiders in Washington State is often brought to us by readers. Generally, it can be answered with a no. The range of the brown recluse doesn’t even come close to any of the Washington State borders. Not even by a 1,000 miles. Recluse spiders prefer warm climate and are mostly found in the Southern U.S. On the West Coast, they aren’t even seen as far north as San Francisco.

While there are some reports of people seeing recluse spiders in Washington, the majority of them are false identifications of house spiders or other recluse look-alikes. There have been very few confirmed sightings of brown recluse spiders that might have traveled into the state on cargo. But the chances of you finding such a spider and getting bitten is almost zero. And remember: around ten times more people in the U.S. die each year from bee or wasp stings than from spider bites (Click here for more spider facts).

Click on the post below to learn more about the brown recluse and its native range in the United States:

Loxosceles reclusa - brown recluse spider full body picture

Loxosceles reclusa – Brown Recluse

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 ...
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Are hobo spiders dangerous?

Hobo spiders, Eratigena agrestis, are a common spider in the Pacific Northwest. And they have a bad reputation as being deadly and aggressive. A new article from as recent as 1990 (just over 30 years ago) states that around 5% of untreated hobo spider bites result in death.

However, not one single casualty from a hobo spider has been reported in the last decades. Even bites of medical significance are nonexistent. The CDC has removed the hobo spider from the list of medically significant spiders in the U.S. Scientists are confident that a bite of a hobo spider causes nothing but some local pain and swelling. But, and this is true for any spider bite, if you feel nauseous or experience unusually strong swelling or pain, consult a medical professional. As with any open wound or venom, allergic reactions or secondary infections can happen with any spider bite (but are very rare).

Also, many hobo spider sightings are misidentifications of the giant house spider that is also very common in the Pacific Northwest.

Female Hobo Spider

Eratigena Agrestis – Hobo Spider

Eratigena agrestis, commonly know as the hobo spider, is a funnel web spider that can be found in the Pacific Northwest. In the 90ies, the hobo spider has been listed as a medically important species. However, over the last 30 years, no actual evidence has been found that the spider is actually dangerous for humans. In 2017, the CDC removed the hobo spider from its list of dangerous spiders. Hobo ...
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Common Spiders in Washington State

To wrap up the first few paragraphs: if you aren’t looking at a black widow spider, you are almost certainly looking at a harmless spider that will not be able to hurt you or your pets. The most common spiders in Washington State are giant house spiders, jumping spiders and orb weavers.

Common Washington House Spiders

The giant house spider (Eratigena atrica) was introduced to the U.S. from Europe and has since created a sizeable population in the Pacific Northwest. It is one of the most commonly seen spiders in Western Washington State. The close relative and look-alike of the hobo spider creates funnel shaped webs and feels at home inside warm structures. The giant house spider is the biggest spider in Washington State and the Seattle area, reaching a leg span of 1.8 inches (45 mm).

Other spiders that like the comfort of your homes are the invasive gray house spider (Badumna longinqus), introduced to the U.S. West Coast from Australia, cobweb spiders of the genus Steatoda (false widows), common house spiders (Parasteatoda tepidariorum) as well as daddy long leg spiders, or cellar spiders (Pholcidae). You can click on the images or titles below to learn more about each spider species.

Eratigena atrica or duellica long legs brown size comparison with dollar

Eratigena Atrica – Giant House Spider

As its name suggests, the giant house spider, Eratigena atrica, is one of the largest spiders found in Europe and ...
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Gray House Spider - Badumna Longinqua information - Kopie

Gray House Spider – Badumna Longinqua

The gray house spider, Badmuna longinqua, is a medium sized black and gray spider originally native to Australia. It has ...
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Steatoda Grossa - Cupboard Spider or False black widow

Steatoda Grossa – False Black Widow Spider

The Steatoda grossa, commonly called the false black widow spider or cupboard spider can be found throughout the United States ...
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Female Hobo Spider

Eratigena Agrestis – Hobo Spider

Eratigena agrestis, commonly know as the hobo spider, is a funnel web spider that can be found in the Pacific ...
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Steatoda triangulosa triangulate cobweb spider picture

Steatoda Triangulosa – Triangulate Cobweb Spider

The Steatoda triangulosa, commonly called the triangulate cobweb spider is a brown-black spider found throughout the US. It has an ...
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Rabbit hutch spider

Steatoda Bipunctata – Rabbit Hutch Spider

The Steatoda bipunctata, commonly called rabbit hutch spider is a black spider found throughout the United States. It comes from ...
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Agelenopsis American grass spider

Agelenopsis – American Grass Spider

Agelenopsis, American grass spiders, are a genus of spiders that can be found around the world and in every US ...
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Pholcidae or Cellar Spider Photo

Pholcidae – Daddy Long-Legs or Cellar Spider

As strange as it sounds, the Pholcidae, or Cellar Spider is one of the most misunderstood spiders in the world ...
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Parasteatoda Tepidariorum the common house spider

Parasteatoda tepidariorum – The Common House Spider

Parasteatoda tepidariorum, or the common house spider can be found in every US state. The spider is also distributed throughout ...
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Jumping Spiders

Jumping spiders of the genus Salticidae are the largest spider family in the world. In Washington, around 10% of the spider species is part of the jumping spider families. Jumping spiders are mostly small to medium-sized spiders (up to 0.5 inches in size) with relatively short legs. They have the ability to jump distances of up to 45 times their own body size by abruptly increasing the blood pressure in the hind legs. Here are the most common jumping spiders in Washington State:

female red-backed jumping spider phidippus johnsoni black spider with short legs and red back

Phidippus Johnsoni – Red-Backed Jumping Spider

The red-backed jumping spider, Phidippus johnsoni, is found throughout the Western United States and Canada. The spider has a black ...
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Salticus Scenicus - Zebra Spider

Salticus Scenicus – Zebra Spider

Salticus scenicus, the zebra spider, is a jumping spider that can be found in the entire Northern Hemisphere. As its ...
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Daring Jumping Spider

Phidippus audax – Daring Jumping Spider

Phidippus audax, commonly known as the daring jumping spider is a jumping spider found throughout the USA. As their name ...
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Orb Weaver Spiders

Orb weaver spiders are the often colorful spiders that spin large orb-shaped webs in the forest or in our gardens. Orb weavers are not aggressive spiders and their bites are not dangerous. They feed on small insects that get caught in their webs at night. The most commonly found orb weaver is the European garden spider (Araneus diadematus), introduced from Europe. Here are the most common Washington orb weaver spiders:

Arrowhead orb weaver Verrucosa arenata information

Verrucosa Arenata – Arrowhead Spider

The arrow-head spider, Verrucosa arenata, is an orb-weaver spider found throughout the United States. Its common name arrowhead spider or ...
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zygiella x-notata missing sector orb weaver information

Missing Sector Orb Weaver – Zygiella X-Notata

The missing sector orb weaver, Zygiella x-notata, is a common spider species found throughout Europe and the United States. The ...
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female acanthepeira stellata star bellied orb weaver

Acanthepeira Stellata – Starbellied Orb Weaver

Acanthepeira stellata, commonly called the starbellied orb weaver, is one of the most remarkable and memorable orb weaver spiders. Its ...
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Neoscona arabesca Arabesque orbweaver in the United States

Neoscona Arabesca – Arabesque Orb Weaver

Neoscona arabesca, commonly known as the arabesque orbweaver, is one of the most common orbweaver species that can be found ...
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Araneus Trifolium - Shamrock Spider Picture

Araneus Trifolium – Shamrock Spider

Araneus trifolium, the shamrock spider, is a widely distributed orb weaver that can come in various colors, mostly beige or ...
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pachygnatha orb weaver Picture

Pachygnatha

The Pachygnatha is technically part of the Orb Weaver family. However, it does not spin a web and is a ...
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Larinioides Cornutus - furrow orb weaver

Larinioides Cornutus – Furrow Spider

Larinioides Cornutus, commonly known as the furrow spider, is an orb weaver species that can be found throughout the Northern ...
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Cat-faced orb weaver spider

Araneus Gemmoides – Cat-Faced Spider or Jewel Spider

The Araneus Gemmoides is an orb weaver species that occurs in the Western United States. It is also known under ...
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Arigope Trifasciata Spider

Argiope Trifasciata – Banded Garden Spider

The Argiope trifasciata or Banded Garden Spider is one of the most common species of the Argiope orb weaving spider ...
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Arigope Aurantia Spider

Argiope Aurantia – Black and Yellow Garden Spider

The Argiope Aurantia or black and yellow garden spider appears in every US state and in many other countries around ...
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Araneus diadematus - European Garden spider

Araneus diadematus – The European Garden Spider

Araneus diadematus, also called the European garden spider or the cross spider is an orb weaver spider with an iconic ...
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Other common Washington spiders

Below is a list of other common Washington spiders that are mostly found outside of people’s homes:

Red-Spotted ant mimic spider Castianeira descripta

Castianeira Descripta – Red-Spotted Ant Mimic Spider

Castianeira descripta, more commonly know as the red-spotted ant mimic spider gets its common name from the similar look and ...
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Cheiracanthium Mildei - Northern Yellow Sac Spider

Cheiracanthium Mildei – Northern Yellow Sac Spider

Cheiracanthium mildei, the northern yellow sac spider is one of the most common spiders in Northeastern America. However, it can ...
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Clubiona - Leaf-Curling Sac Spider picture

Clubiona – Leaf-Curling Sac Spider

Spiders of the genus Clubiona, commonly called leaf-curling sac spiders, can be found throughout the world and in every US ...
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fishing spider dolomedes vittatus

Dolomedes – Fishing Spider

As the name suggests, the fishing spider is a semi-aquatic genus of spiders that are found all over the world ...
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Dysdera Crocata - Woodlouse Spider

Dysdera Crocata – Woodlouse Spider

As the name suggests, the Dysdera crocata, or commonly called woodlouse spider, primarily preys on woodlice. The spider can be ...
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bowl and doily spider Frontinella pyramitela information

Frontinella Pyramitela – Bowl and Doily Spider

The bowl and doily spiders, known as Frontinella pyramitela, are a small species of spiders that belong to the family ...
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Gray House Spider - Badumna Longinqua information - Kopie

Gray House Spider – Badumna Longinqua

The gray house spider, Badmuna longinqua, is a medium sized black and gray spider originally native to Australia. It has ...
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Herpyllus ecclesiasticus eastern parson spider hunting

Herpyllus Ecclesiasticus – Eastern Parson Spider

Herpyllus ecclesiasticus, The Eastern parson spider is one of the most commonly encountered hunter spiders in the United States. The ...
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Lycosidae wolf spider

Lycosidae – Wolf Spider

The Lycosidae, commonly called wolf spiders are a family of hunter spiders found throughout the United States and the rest ...
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Misumena Flower Crab Spider

Misumena – Flower Crab Spider

The misumena, commonly called flower crab spider, is a genus of spiders that hunt their prey in or around flowers ...
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Olios giganteus giant crab spider in California

Olios Giganteus – Giant Crab Spider

Olios Giganteus, the giant crab spider, belongs to the family of Sparassidae spiders, which are commonly called huntsman spiders. As ...
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Philodromus - Running Crab Spider

Philodromus – Running Crab Spider

Philodromus, commonly called running crab spider, is a genus of crab spiders. Various species can be found throughout the entire ...
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Scytodes Thoracica - Spitting Spider

Scytodes Thoracica – Spitting Spider

The spitting spider, scientifically called Scytodaes thoracica, is a fascinating type of hunting spider that captures and paralyzes its prey ...
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Ummidia trapdoor spider

Ummidia – Trap-Door Spider

Ummidia is a genus of spiders that can be found around the world. Among other genus, they are commonly called ...
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Xysticus - Ground Crab Spider

Xysticus – Ground Crab Spider

Spiders of the Xysticus genus, also called ground crab spiders are a rather indistinct species. As all crab spiders, they ...
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Xysticus funestus deadly ground crab spider

Xysticus Funestus – Deadly Ground Crab Spider

Even though Xysticus funestus has a dangerously-sounding common name, the deadly ground crab spider, it is of absolutely no concern ...
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Identifying Spiders in Washington

If you have found a spider in Washington State that you were not able to identify from the images above, we can help you identify your spider. Head to this page and use our spider identification tool. This tool will suggest a few potential spider species after you answer a few questions. If you still can’t identify the spider, simply upload a picture of it and we will do our best to get back to you with an identification. Head to the spider identification page by clicking here.

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