Missouri Spiders: Pictures and Identification Help

picture of a Brown Recluse spider, Missouri spiders height=

A brief examination of Bugguide submissions for representative species of Missouri spiders brings up around seventeen hundred species submissions.

A quick and less than comprehensive checklist of Missouri spiders began by placing the entire submission set into a spreadsheet. The initial set was then sorted to weed out the duplicates and the species only identified at the genus level. The end result was a preliminary checklist of Missouri spiders in the one hundred and seventy species range.

Naturally the spider enthusiasts on Bugguide would easily gather the local house spiders and yard and garden spiders. The preliminary results show that the top five types of spiders in Missouri documented belonged to those very familiar spider families. They constituted 113 of the 171 spider species or about two-thirds of the total.

  • 35 Orb Weavers
  • 32 Jumping Spiders
  • 19 Wolf Spiders
  • 14 Cobweb spiders
  • 13 Crab spiders
It’s important to note the numbers do not reflect an accurate count of the most common Missouri spiders in terms of spider families and species. Generally Sheetweb and Jumping spiders have the most species.

Rather, the numbers show the types of spiders of interest to the average spider enthusiast.

Of course, knowledge of poisonous spiders, or spiders of medical importance also ranks high for most Missouri residents. Fortunately only two species of Missouri spiders fit into that category. the brown recluse and female black widow. Fortunately, neither species is considered aggressive without provocation. Consider the common name recluse. It indicates the brown recluse would rather be left alone, hiding. Occasionally a brown recluse might enter a house and find safety in a pair of shoes or piece of clothing lying on the floor, resulting in a bite for an unsuspecting human.

The picture at the top of the page shows a Brown Recluse spider. The violin shape on the thorax helps to identify this otherwise drab looking spider.

Widow spiders hardly ever go indoors. Rather, they might make their cobweb in the yard around a woodpile or under the outdoor furniture. Most of the widow relatives, the cobweb spiders, do not receive common names. The Common House Spider (Parasteatoda-tepidariorum, and the Triangulate House Spider, are exceptions to the rule.

A couple of additional cobweb spiders in the Stedota species go by the name False Widow spiders and they often wander indoors. While their bodies have dark colors, they lack the hourglass pattern.

Other than those two exceptions, it’s more than fair to consider Missouri spiders as beneficial insects that consume garden pests. The small list of spider pictures presented covers a representative sample of the state’s common orb weaving spiders and jumping spiders. Two groups of spiders that contribute to keeping the lawn and garden pests at bay. The spiders button leads to articles that provide additional spider pictures and information. The entire spider guide covers over one hundred different spider species.

Common Orbweavers
picture of a Marbled Orbweaver spider
Marbled Orbweaver

picture of a Shamrock Orbweaver spider, one of the common Missouri spiders
Shamrock Orbweaver

picture of an Orchard Orbweaver spider
Orchard Orbweaver

picture of a Six Spotted Orbweaver spider
Six Spotted Orbweaver

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

picture of a Hentz Orbweaverspider
Hentz Orbweaver (Neoscona)

picture of an Arabesque Orbweaver spider with a darker body
Arabesque Orbweaver (Neoscona)

picture of a Banded Garden spider
Banded Garden Spider

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

Jumping Spiders
picture of a Bold Jumping Spider
Bold Jumping Spider

picture of a Jumping Spider, Phidippus Clarus
Phidippus Clarus

picture of a Jumping Spider, Phidippus princeps
Phidippus princeps

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

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

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

picture of a Jumping Spider,
Peppered Jumping Spider

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

picture of a Jumping Spider,
Magnolia Green Jumping Spider

Because of their large size and relatively distinct colors and body patterns, orb weaving spiders are fairly easy to identify. Also when it comes to orbweavers, Missouri follows the pattern of many states. Three genera, Argiopes , Araneus and Neoscona account for the most common species, with the Araneus ranking first in terms of species diversity. Cross Spiders, Marbled Orbweavers and Shamrock Orbweavers belong to the genera and they are very common in residential areas.

Missouri also hosts members of the Long-jawed Orb Weavers, a different spider family. Many of the species build their webs around water bodies. The Orchard Orbweaver might be one big exception to the rule. As the name suggests they generally build their webs around forested areas, including orchards.

Unfortunately, the same can not be said for jumping spiders. In fact, the best starting advice for jumping spider identification is to note that with the exception of a handful of experts, there’s really no good way to identify all the species and all the genera.

Fortunately, there are some genera easier to identify than others.

When it comes to the Phidippus species, for example, formal typology uses about 240 different physical traits. Think medium sized, colorful, spider with iridescent chelicerae (jaws or he clawed pinchers) and that’s a good first attempt at identification. Phidippus species can sometimes be easy to identify because they often are the largest and most colorful jumping spider species. The Bold Jumping spider, perhaps the most common of Phidippus, can be identified by the stark black body with green jaws. Size, along with the red bodies of Phidippus Clarus and Phidippus princeps help them stand out on local shrubs.

The translucent green color of the Magnolia Jumping spider also makes is easy to identify. Additionally, it’s the only species in the Translucent Green Jumpers genus (Lyssomanes).

Many of the remaining jumping spiders on the gallery are very small. Getting pictures with details to help with identification requires a steady hand and possibly a macro lens on the camera.

Sometimes just knowing that the spider in question belongs to the Jumping Spider family and it is beneficial rather than harmful helps.

More Missouri Spiders

picture of an Eastern Parson's Spider, Missouri spiders
Missouri also shares many similar types of home and garden spiders with their Midwest and Eastern neighbors. Ground spiders, for example, covers a wide array of species including members from three different families with ground spider in their name. The picture at the top of the section shows the Eastern Parson’s Spider. It’s a member of the ground spider family. Occasionally they can be found indoors.

picture of a Long-palped Ant Mimic spider in Missouri
Ant mimics and ground sac spiders belong to a separate family.

picture of a ground crab spider, Missouri spiders
Ground crab spiders belong to the larger Thomisidae family. It’s best known for the colorful species that inhabit flowers around the years. With respect to identification, their physical appearance makes them fairly easy to identify them with the Thomisidae family. However, it’s also important to note that a picture identification guide definitely needs to be supplemented with a physical examination of species from three different genera:

  • Xysticus
  • Coriarachne
  • Ozyptila

picture of a green crab spider, Misumessus oblongus, Missouri spiders
Speaking of crab spiders, the family Thomisidae consists of around one hundred and thirty species, divided into at least ten genera. Missour hosts species from four the genera:

  • Misumena
  • Misumenoides
  • Misumessus
  • Mecaphesa
The Green Crab spider, another species in the genus, is also known for the more oblong shape of the abdomen. It is fairly common east of the Rocky Mountains, including Missouri.

It’s important to note that body color and pattern usually are not sufficient to identify species from the four genera. Spider experts suggest looking at eye arrangement as a good field identification clue.