Types of Spiders
Spiders, a specific order (Araneae) of animals in the larger class of arachnids, range in size from the small jumping spiders commonly seen in residential areas to the Goliath Birdeater tarantula of South America, the world's largest spider.
Formal spider categorization follows the same taxonomic pattern of insects with groups placed into families and genera, based on specific criteria.
Less formal approaches to grouping types of spiders provides alternative ways for understanding the order.
As carnivores, spiders catch their food in one of two ways. They either use a web or actively hunt on the land or water.
|Types of Spiders
Orb Weaving Spiders
More Web Spiders
Cobweb Spiders (Theridiidae)
Funnel Web Spiders
Sheetweb Spiders (Linyphiidae)
Nursery Web Spiders
Yellow Sac Spider
By dint of their circular webs, members of the family Araneidae, more commonly called the Orb Weavers, are probably the most recognizable group of web spiders. However other spider families such as Spotted Orbweavers and the Long-jawed Orb Weavers, for example, also build orb webs.
Many people might associate orb weavers with round bodied spiders. That might be partially true, however, a few genera of North American orb weavers such as Arrowshaped micrathena, have a pointed abdomen.
The video at the top of the page shows an orb weaving spider commonly called a Writing Spider (genus Argiope) because of its distinctive web pattern. The orb weaving spiders link in the box provides extended information, along with pictures, of a variety of orb weaving spider genera and species.
Funnel web spiders and cobweb spiders represent two types of spiders that choose alternative web building methods.
The common black widow spider, for example, is a member of the cobweb spider family, which builds an irregular, messy web.
A variety of hunting spiders, such as the crab spiders, fishing spiders and jumping spiders, can often be found in and around residential areas.
The video presents a bold jumping spider with prey. They are known to hop or jump along hedges, walls and other platforms in search of prey.
Because spiders are carnivores, people fear them. Not only do spiders bite humans, but the bites of a few spider species cause a great deal of pain, and in rarer instances, death.
By far, the vast majority of spider species are not dangerous to humans. Rather, most common spiders are considered beneficial. They eat insects that humans consider pests.
Identifying spiders often requires more than a single picture. Many spider experts, for example, use the eye patter of a spider for identification purposes.
The third picture shows a spider with eight eyes that appear to be arranged as a pair of smiles, 2 rows of four eyes that curve up. The eye pattern is typical of a nursery web spider in the Dolomedes genus, more commonly known as fishing spiders.
To learn more about different types of spiders, click on any of the links in the box. They point to a twenty five page field guide covering North American spider families arranged according to hunting method.
© 2004-2013 Patricia A. Michaels