Massachusetts Spiders: Pictures and Identification

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picture of the Western Lynx spider, part of the Massachusetts spiders series

Welcome to Massachusetts spiders.

It’s difficult to come by a comprehensive guide to Massachusetts spiders, however, spider diversity in the state has been documented in a variety of ways. Two of those attempts provide an introduction to the topic.

First at bat for Massachusetts spiders is a 1997 study from the The Journal of Arachnology called Behavior And Niche Selection By Mailbox Spiders. Basically it’s a review of spiders documented by mailman on a rural Cape Cod route during an eight year time span.

Of the approximately 500 species in rural Massachusetts where the mailbox study occurred, 72 species took up residence in the mailbox. Of those, 39 species were considered year round residents.

April through October marked the typical spider species, with June and July being the best months for spider diversity.

An examination of the 39 year round resident spiders suggests that many of them fit into the traditional common house and garden spiders category, such as orb weavers, crab spiders, jumping spiders, cobweb spiders and lynx spiders. The top picture shows a Western Lynx spider, one of the mailbox species.

Additionally, a review of the spider species also suggests that most of those same types of spiders are also common in more suburban and urban settings.

Lack of statewide Massachusetts spiders data means working on the assumption that sheetweb and dwarf spiders are the most common spiders in the state, because they are the largest family of spiders in the United States.

Most species are small and inconspicuous. Usually they do not draw the attention of the average spider enthusiast. However, they are probably in almost every yard in the state, building messy webs in the shrubs.

Again, only probably, jumping spiders ranks second in Massachusetts back yard spider diversity. They can be found on can be found on the ground, on the branches of the shrubs in the yard or in the tree canopies. Phidippus are probably the easiest jumping spider species to identify. They have iridescent jaws and colorful bodies.

The following set of spiders pictures covers a representative sample of jumping spiders in Massachusetts. Additional spider pictures covering dozens more common spider species can be found by pressing the spiders button

Jumping Spiders
picture of a Bold Jumping Spider
Bold Jumping Spider

picture of a Canopy Jumping Spider,
Canopy Jumping Spider

picture of a Cardinal Jumping Spider,
Cardinal Jumping Spider

picture of a Jumping Spider, Phidippus Clarus
Phidippus Clarus Jumping Spider

picture of a Jumping Spider, Phidippus princeps
Phidippus princeps Jumping Spider

picture of a Golden Jumping Spider, Paraphidippus aurantius
Golden Jumping Spider

Jumping Spiders
picture of a Jumping Spider, (Platycryptus undatus)
Tan Jumping Spider

picture of a Thin-spined Jumping Spider, (Tutelina elegans)
Thin-spined Jumping Spider

picture of a White-cheeked Jumping Spider, (Pelegrina proterva)
White-cheeked Jumping Spider (Pelegrina proterva)

picture of a Jumping Spider,
Peppered Jumping Spider (Pelegrina galathea)

picture of a Jumping Spider, (Hentzia mitrata)
White-jawed Jumping Spider (Hentzia mitrata)

picture of a Jumping Spider, Bronze Jumper
Bronze Jumping Spider

Massachusets Spiders Checklist: Orb Weavers


picture of the Gray Cross spider, part of the Massachusetts spider section
Over the past fifteen years, Massachusettts residents have also been contributing their spider finds to Bugguide. Orbweavers are a common subject of the photographers’ lens because they are often the medium sized spiders that remain stationary for a sufficient amount of time to enable almost anyone to snap a picture, upload it to the site and document a species.

Approximately four hundred orb weaver specimens have been submitted to the site, covering about three dozen species. One dozen of the species belong to the Araneus genus, one of the most common groups of spiders found in yards throughout the state.

Garden Spiders in the genus Argiope and the Spotted Orbweavers (Neoscona) also can be seen in many back yards.

Larinioides species such as the Furrow and Gray Orbweavers also go by the common name foliate and bridge spiders. They are less commonly found in yards. Water areas and bridges are heir preferred habitat.

The picture at the top of the section shows a Gray Orbweaver, the bridge spider.

The small gallery below shows an additional dozen or so orb weaver species common in Massachusetts. It is followed by the complete checklist. It contains the common name for the spiders where applicable.

Common House Spiders
picture of a Banded Garden spider
Banded Garden Spider

picture of a Black and Yellow Garden spider, Argiope
Black and Yellow Garden Spider

picture of an Arrowshaped Micrathena spider
Arrowshaped micrathena Spider

picture of an Orchard Orbweaver spider
Orchard Orbweaver

picture of a Six Spotted Orbweaver spider
Six Spotted Orbweaver

picture of a Shamrock Orbweaver spider
Shamrock Orbweaver

Common Orbweavers
picture of a Marbled Orbweaver spider
Marbled Orbweaver

picture of a Red-spotted Orbweaver, araneus cingulatus
Red-spotted Orbweaver

picture of a Cross Orbweaver spider
Cross Orbweaver

picture of a Spotted Orbweaver spider, neoscona-domiciliorum
Spotted Orbweaver (Neoscona domiciliorum)

picture of a Hentz Orbweaverspider
Hentz Orbweaver (Neoscona)

picture of an Arabesque Orbweaver spider with a darker body
Arabesque Orbweaver

Acanthepeira stellata (Starbellied Orbweaver)
Araneus bicentenarius (Giant Lichen Orbweaver)
Araneus cavaticus (Barn Spider)
Araneus cingulatus
Araneus diadematus (Cross Orbweaver)
Araneus iviei
Araneus marmoreus (Marbled Orbweaver)
Araneus miniatus
Araneus nordmanni
Araneus pratensis
Araneus saevus
Araneus thaddeus (Lattice Orbweaver)
Araneus trifolium (Shamrock Orbweaver)
Araniella displicata (Sixspotted Orbweaver)
Argiope aurantia (Black-and-Yellow Argiope)
Argiope trifasciata (Banded Argiope)
Cyclosa conica
Eustala anastera (Humpbacked Orbweaver)
Gea heptagon
Hypsosinga funebris
Hypsosinga rubens
Larinioides cornutus (Furrow Orbweaver)
Larinioides sclopetarius (Gray Cross Spider)
Mangora maculata
Mangora placida (Tuftlegged Orbweaver)
Mangora spiculata
Mastophora phrynosoma
Metepeira labyrinthea (Labyrinth Orbweaver)
Micrathena gracilis (Spined Micrathena)
Micrathena mitrata (White Micrathena)
Micrathena sagittata (Arrowshaped Micrathena)
Neoscona (Spotted Orbweavers)
Neoscona arabesca (Arabesque Orbweaver)
Neoscona crucifera
Neoscona domiciliorum (Spotted Orbweaver)
Ocrepeira ectypa
Zygiella x-notata