The cool, northern climate means the traditional season for New Hampshire spiders runs from late spring to early fall.
Spider enthusiasts almost always need to wait until mid-summer to explore spider diversity in the White Mountains.
Lower lying towns and larger residential areas such as Manchester and Nashua tend to share the same spider species. In fact, all New England provides suitable habitat for the New Hampshire spiders. The two most common types of spiders in terms of species numbers are the Dwarf/Sheetweb spiders and the Jumping Spiders. Dwarf and Sheetweb spiders build messy webs around the shrubs and the size, most around the 1/16 of an inch, means that the webs are more visible than the spiders.
On the other hand, many jumping spiders often grow around one quarter of an inch, and they pop up and down around the yard constantly. The video shows a Bronze Jumping Spider.
When it comes to spider identification in New Hampshire, most interest comes from individuals who see spiders in their homes and apartments and want to know if the spider is dangerous.
The easy answer is no. Spiders are classified as beneficial because they prey on insect pests. One very common ground spider, the Eastern Parson’s Spider, pictured above, fits that description.
The small list of spider pictures presented covers a representative sample of the state’s common house spiders and lawn and garden spiders. The spiders button leads to articles that provide additional spider pictures and information. The entire spider guide covers over one hundred different spider species.
Six Spotted Orbweaver
Spotted Orbweaver (Neoscona domiciliorum)
Hentz Orbweaver (Neoscona)
Banded Garden Spider
Black and Yellow Garden Spider
Cobweb Spider (Theridion)
Common House Spider
Triangulate House Spider
Long-bodied Cellar Spider
Bold Jumping Spider
Golden Jumping Spider
Striped Lynx Spider
Crab Spider (Misumena vatia)
Identifying cobweb spiders could be a lifelong task. While the small group that tend to build their webs in residential areas tend to receive the most attention, in fact close to four hundred species have been documented in the United States.
The numbers suggest that over ninety five percent of all cobweb spiders are outdoor spiders that don’t receive a second thought by anyone other than extreme spider enthusiasts.
Two physical features, the presence of round abdomens with the first set of legs longer than the others, serve as the initial identification tools. Body color and abdominal patterns serve as the next identification clues.
Enoplognatha ovata, pictured at the top of the page is a good example. It’s fairly common along the northern part of the United States. However, they can take on a few different colors and abdominal patterns.
No doubt that the Northern Black Widow spider is the best known New Hampshire cobweb spider. Only the females get classified as spiders of medical importance.
Black Widow identification is fairly straightforward. Males and females have black bodies. Males and juveniles of both species tend to have white markings on the abdomen. Additionally, females are twice as large as males with a body length usually about one-half inch.
The presence of a red hourglass marking on the bottom of the abdomen represents the classic field identification. Northern Black Widow hourglass markings are broken in the middle.
Finally, another set of common house spiders also belong to the cobweb spiders category. Most of the cobweb spiders do not receive common names. The Common House Spider (Parasteatoda-tepidariorum, and the the Triangulate House Spider, are exceptions to the rule.
A couple of additional 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. Steatoda americana is a common New Hampshire spider species.
New Hampshire hosts a nice variety of orb weaving spiders in the genus Araneus. Colorful bodies and distinct abdominal patterns, such as the Marbled Orbweaver, help make identification easy.
Don’t forget the Barn Spider made famous by Charlotte’s Web, Araneus cavaticus. They tend to resemble the spotted orbweaver. Looking under the abdomen helps clarify identification. Barn spiders have more of a curve marking on the underside of abdomen rather than distinct spots.