New York’s diverse geography, from highly urban to fields, forests and mountains, makes for diversity among New York spiders.
While environmental factors influence the types of spiders found in New York, quick reflection on the fact that most New York back yards, whether in the New York city area or in the suburbs of Albany, Buffalo, Rochester or any other urban or suburban area, share very similar environments. Green grass, shrubs and trees make a nice habitat for many New York spiders that fall under the general heading home and garden spiders.
Except for the northern border, the state’s temperate climate means outdoor spider season lasts from early spring through late fall. Indoor spider season runs year round for some species.
In many instances, house spider management can be as easy as trimming the shrubs and tree branches around the yard to insure they do not touch the sides of the house. Many spiders found in the house tend to move from branches to walls to crevices in the walls and windows. Speaking of walls, take a look at the walls of your house or apartment building and chances are you will see the Zebra Jumping spider. They are small spiders that live on walls and other outdoor structures. The video at the top of the page shows an enlarged version.
Cobweb spiders often define the common house spider category. New York homes often host the Triangulate House Spider and the Common House spider (Parasteatoda-tepidariorum), pictured, A couple of additional Stedota species go by the name False Widow spiders and they often wander indoors.
Grass spiders also known as funnel weavers, often wander inside the house. Outside the house, early morning dew often brings out their funnel webs in the yard. Tegenaria domestica, better known as a barn funnel weaver or domestic house spiders frequent indoor locations. Look for them especially in basement corners. Basements or cellars are also prime territory for the common cellar spider species.
Additional information on these types of spiders can be found by pressing the spiders button.
Two additional groups of spiders, Orb Weavers and Jumping Spiders, often catch the average New Yorker’s eyes, along with the lens of the camera or cell phone. Initial checklists, including spider pictures, are presented below.
Checklist of New York Spiders: Orb Weavers
The following checklist of New York Spiders in the Orb Weaving family is preliminary. It is based on fifteen years of member contributions to Bugguide.
The list was created by searching Bugguide for New York spiders in the Orb Weavers Family (Araneidae). A total of 605 results over a fifteen year time span appeared. The results were placed on a spreadsheet that was then was sorted for duplicate species and genus only listings.
Results were the documenting of 39 Orb Weaving spider species in New York covering 15 genera.
One-third or 13 species were in genus Araneus. They are colorful orb weavers with distinct body patterns that often build webs in the back yard. The Humpbacked Orbweaver (Eustala anastera) is pictured at the top of the section.
Both members of the Argiope genus, with the common name writing spiders also make the New York spiders list. Because of the large size, they are easy to notice sitting in their webs. Neither of them poses a health problem for people. The picture shows the yellow garden spider.
Here’s the banded garden spider. The stripes across the abdomen make it easy to differentiate from the yellow garden spider.
Six Spotted Orbweaver
Acanthepeira stellata (Starbellied Orbweaver)
Araneus bicentenarius (Giant Lichen Orbweaver)
Araneus thaddeus (Lattice Orbweaver)
Spotted Orbweaver (Neoscona domiciliorum)
Hentz Orbweaver (Neoscona)
Arrowshaped micrathena Spider
Larinioides cornutus (Furrow Orbweaver)
Larinioides sclopetarius (Gray Cross Spider)
Mangora gibberosa (Lined Orbweaver)
Mecynogea lemniscata (Basilica Orbweaver)
Micrathena gracilis (Spined Micrathena)
Checklist: Jumping Spiders
Interestingly, a similar search on the Jumping Spiders of New York also took place, with 628 results gathered and placed on a spreadsheet.
After sorting for duplicates and genus only identifications, a total of 38 species divided into 24 genera were recorded. The list follows, including ten species with a picture.
The results follow a general spider identification trend witnessed by many researchers. While jumping spiders rank as one of the top two spider families in terms of total species, their small size and often dull appearance of the females makes for difficult field identification.
The picture at the top of the section shows Hentzia plamarun.
Bold Jumping Spider
Phidippus Clarus Jumping Spider
Phidippus princeps Jumping Spider
Golden Jumping Spider
Bronze Jumping Spider (Eris militaris)
Salticus scenicus (Zebra Jumper)
Zygoballus rufipes (Hammerjawed Jumper)
Tan Jumping Spider
Thin-spined Jumping Spider
White-cheeked Jumping Spider (Pelegrina proterva)
Peppered Jumping Spider (Pelegrina galathea)
White-jawed Jumping Spider (Hentzia mitrata)
Habronattus calcaratus maddisoni
Maevia inclemens (Dimorphic Jumper)
Marpissa pikei (Pike Slender Jumper)
New Yorkers from all walks of life can also easily recognize the crab spiders that populate residential areas around the state. Often the small, colorful group of crab spiders in the Thomisidae family get recognized first.
The Goldenrod Crab Spider (Misumena vatia), the sole representative of the genera, lives primarily in the northern half of the United States. From a front views, all eight eyes will show up.
Ground Crab Spiders represents the other half of the Thomisidae crab spider family. Identifying them to the species level presents an even greater challenge than identifying their more colorful relatives. Generally they are a bit smaller in size and share the initial field identification clues of having dull brown bodies. less distinct markings on the body. Experts often suggest using physical characteristics such as leg hairs and body shape as more definitive identification clues than body color and patterns.
Fortunately, finding them is easier than species identification. They tend to inhabit the leaf litter area around the ground and/or around the bark of trees. The large number of species means that different areas can easily host more than one species.