The nine hundred or so Virginia spiders and their seasonal appearance are dependent on a few factors such as the southern climate and the presence of the Appalachian Mountains on the western border.
A southern climate means that many spider species are present as soon as the first flowers bloom and the first insects, their prey of choice, arrives. Those facts often translate into a spider season that lasts from early spring through late fall.
Many of Virginia’s spider species are similar to those of their northern and southern neighbors. Whether one lives in Richmond, Charlottesville, Norfolk or any urban or suburban area of Virginia state, most common Virginia spiders around the home and garden stay pretty much the same.
On the other hand, spiders do have preferred habitat. Because of their hunting style, Purseweb spiders, for example, need sandy soil typical of Eastern Virginia. They are among the least seen spider species because they dig holes in the ground and cover them with silk.
The silk tubes extend above ground a bit to help the spiders capture any prey that wanders by. See generally, Virginia Purse-web Spiders.
The Forest Service has also been keeping an eye out for the Carter Cave spider, a species with a limited population because they live in Appalachian caves, including those of Virginia.
Think fishing spiders, and Virginia’s Six-spotted Fishing spider and the importance of wetland habitat to some spider species becomes evident.
The list of pictures provided below show a couple dozen of the most common home and garden spiders.
Plese press the spiders button for additional pictures and information covering one hundred spider species.
Bold Jumping Spider
Golden Jumping Spider
Funnel Web Spider (Grass Spider)
Long-bodied Cellar Spider
Common House Spider
Triangulate House Spider
Striped Lynx Spider
Picture of a 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
Common Home and Garden Spiders
Many of the common names for spiders suggest they are common house spiders. Think of cellar spiders as the prime example.
In terms of species numbers, Jumping spiders rank number one. There’s always going to be a jumping spider or two that wander from the outdoor shrubs to the indoor walls.
The pictures show a Bold Jumping spider and a Golden Jumping spider. Both species are common Virginia spiders that show up in homes and yards. The distinct marking on the back of the body are good identification clues.
Cobweb spiders bring an interesting contrast to the discussion. Most cobweb spider species live outdoors and never see the inside of a house. However, there are a handful of species in the family that are definitely house spiders. They include the Triangulate House Spider and the Common House spider. A couple of additional Stedota species go by the name False Widow spiders and they often wander indoors.
Widow spiders also belong to the cobweb spider family and the primary concern for poisonous spiders in Virginia are the Northern and Southern Black Widow.
Identification of widow spider species depends on a couple of physical characteristics. However, in terms of safety, it’s important to point out that only the females are classified as harmful, and both female widow spiders in Virginia share the characteristics of having black bodies with a red hourglass marking under the abdomen.
While they normally build nests low to the ground in brush and woodpiles, occasionally one can be found in an indoor shed or garage.
Virginia also has a very small population of Brown Recluse spiders in the Southwest.
The picture shows a Yellow Sac Spider. Sometimes they get the reputation of being a spider of medical concern like the Widow Spiders and Brown Recluse. They are certainly nuisance spiders in the house when they bite. However, there is no evidence their bite causes severe medical complications.
Virginia also shares common orb weaver spiders. Three types of orb weavers can be found in most residential areas. The so-called garden spiders (Argiopes), Spotted Orbweavers (Neoscona) and Araneus species.
The picture at the top of the page shows an Arrowhead Orbweaver. They are small spiders that build web in residential areas and parks.
All of the mos common home and garden spiders bite. However, with the exception of the above mentioned species, none of them show aggressive tendencies and none of them are a cause for medical concern.
All things being equal, having a yard or garden with spiders is a sign of a healthy yard or garden. Generally speaking, spiders are beneficial creatures because they prey on the insect pests that bother the homeowner most.