Ohio is one of the rarities in states that takes Ohio spidders seriously. In the past couple of decades they have been formally documenting the state’s species.
The current checklist of Ohio spiders lists about six hundred and fifty species. What does the checklist tell us about the types of spiders in Ohio?
First, consider how the experts discuss spider species. An article in the Journal Cladistics 25 (2009) called, Higher-level phylogenetics of linyphiid spiders (Araneae, Linyphiidae) based on morphological and molecular evidence introduces the topic as follows.
Arachnologists currently recognize 109 extant families of spiders and about 40 000 described species… Only jumping spiders (Salticidae) include more described species than Linyphiidae (5188 species in 560 genera versus 4345 species in 576 general,
Those trends also apply to both the United States in General and Ohio in particular.
The top five types of spiders in Ohio according to the number of species are as follows:
- Erigoninae Sheetweb and Dwarf Weavers (134)
- Jumping Spiders (79)
- Wolf Spiders (Lycosidae) (58)
- Orb Weavers (Araneidae) (57)
- Cobweb Spiders Theridiidae (56)
The top picture shows Acacesia hamata. It’s the only species in the genera and because it tends to build webs at dusk for night hunting, it’s one of the less commonly seen orb weavers. The stripes on the abdomen make it fairly easy to identify.
Spider watching generally lacks the same appeal as bird watching or butterfly watching. Therefore, it’s fairly safe to say that the average Ohio resident does not invest much time thinking about sheetweb and dwarf weaving spiders.
However, spiders in the other four categories do share space with Ohio residents. The presence of a definitive winter, snow and ice season means that Ohio’s outdoor spider season generally runs from early spring through late fall. Common indoor spiders such as cellar spiders and cobweb spiders can be found year round.
The following presentation of spider pictures covers a representative sample of the more beneficial, common house spiders and lawn and garden spiders in state.
Please press the spiders button for additional spider pictures and information. The entire spider guide covers over one hundred different spider species.
Funnel Web Spider (Grass Spider)
Grass Spider Eye Arrangement
Long-bodied Cellar Spider
Cobweb Spider (Theridion)
Common House Spider
Triangulate House Spider
Striped Lynx Spider
Ground Spider (Sergiolus capulaus)
Crab Spider (Misumena vatia)
Crab Spider (Mecaphesa)
Six Spotted Orbweaver
Spotted Orbweaver (Neoscona domiciliorum)
Hentz Orbweaver (Neoscona)
Arabesque Orbweaver (Neoscona)
Banded Garden Spider
Black and Yellow Garden Spider
Arrowshaped micrathena Spider
They often wander inside the house. Outside the house, early morning dew often brings out their funnel webs in the yard.
Providing a larger perspective on Ohio spiders starts my mentioning that over one hundred species have been documented in the United States. Most of those species have a limited, regional range.
Additionally most species also look very similar with thin, striped brown bodies. The long spinnerets at the end of the abdomen help differentiate them from the wolf spiders.
Like other spider species, eye arrangements are used by spider enthusiasts for identification purposes. The eye arrangement of the funnel web spider in the picture suggests it’s a member of the genus Agelenopsis.
Ohio follows that same general pattern. Five grass spider species are documented in the states. The Pennsylvania Grass Spider (Agelenopsis pennsylvanica) is the most common.
Putting aside the widow spiders, the vast majority of Ohio’s cobweb spiders live outdoors and don’t come anywhere near the house.
Still, a handful of less dangerous cobweb spiders also fit into the common house spider category. The Triangulate House Spider and the Common House spider (Parasteatoda-tepidariorum) represent two cobweb spider species that rank as two of the most common house spiders from coast to coast.
Wall spiders, ground spiders, jumping spiders and cellar spiders are also commonly found in homes.
Another group of common lawn and garden spiders such as the crab spiders and lynx spider don’t often show up in the house. Think, for example, how often one might see the very common and large Green Lynx spider in the house. Green Lynx are also complimented in the garden with their smaller Striped Lynx relative.
A quick glance down the Orb Weavers column shows many of the common spices. Arabesque Orbweavers, probably the most common of Ohio’s orb weaving spiders, are identified by the presence of the short dark slashes along the center of the abdomen. The two pictures highlight the fact that the body can have different colors.