Welcome to Wisconsin spiders. An article entitled The Spider Species of the Great Lakes States does an excellent jobs listing and comparing Wisconsin spiders with the spiders of its Great Lakes neighbors. At the time of the study some 900 species were documented with Wisconsin spiders total at 479 species.
Close to sixty percent of the documented spiders fit into five families:
- Sheetweb Spiders Linyphiidae (almost 24% of species)
- Jumping Spiders (Salticidae (10 .3%)
- Cobweb Spiders Theridiidae (8.9%)
- Wolf Spiders Lycosidae (8.8%)
- Orbweavers Araneidae (7 .7%)
Visitors interested in further identification help can press the green spider pics button. It leads to information covering many additional spiders.
Like all states Dwarf and Sheetweb spiders rank close to the top of the list in terms of number of species. Consider them the most common types of Wisconsin spiders that no one ever sees. Size explains most of their anonymity. Most are 1/16 of an inch or less, making them practically invisible to the human eye. Early morning dew on the lawn often helps make their webs visible. Along with the funnel weaving grass spiders, they compete for lawn space in most residential areas around the state.
The video at the top of the page shows a Filmy Dome spider. A member of the sheetwebs, they build large and messy webs in shrubs. It can grow to about one quarter of an inch, excluding legs, making it one of the easiest of the sheetweb spiders to spot.
Wisconsin Spiders: Jumping Spiders
Jumping spiders inhabit back yards, fields, forests and almost every other habitat in Wisconsin. In fact, one need not go further than out the door to see one on the side of the residence, the Zebra jumping spider, (Salticus scenicus). As the picture highlights, abdominal stripes explain the name.
The following set of ten pictures show addition common species. Phidippus species tend to be the easiest to identify because of the bright body colors and average size. Often photographers enjoy taking macro pictures of them highlighting green chelicerae or jaws.
Tan Jumping Spider
Thin-spined Jumping Spider
White-cheeked Jumping Spider
Peppered Jumping Spider
White-jawed Jumping Spider
Golden Jumping Spider
Bold Jumping Spider
More Wisconsin Spiders
Cobweb spiders get associated with common house spiders that leave messy webs along the wall. While that’s true, the cobweb spider family is huge, and many species are purely outdoor spiders.
The darker color of the body explains why the common name false widow gets applied to some of the cobweb spiders in the genus Steatoda. These spiders often wander indoors. That’s good to know because the odds are very low any indoor cobweb spider is the black widow or brown widow.
The picture shows Steatoda americana, the Two-spotted or American Steatoda.
Obweavers are definitely outdoor spiders and they are very common in back yards across Wisconsin. The spider survey lists over three dozen different species. Names such as spotted orbweavers and black and yellow garden spiders sound familiar to many people.
The genus Araneus also provides a handful of common back yard spiders, starting with the brightly colored Marbled Orbweaver.
Shamrock Orbweaver. With that name, one might expect a spider with a green body. In fact, this is one of the most colorful of the Araneus spiders. Female bodies come in a variety of colors including green, red, orange, brown, tan and gray.
The circles on the abdomen and the banded legs are good field identification guides.
With a range that extends across the United States, Arabesque Orbweavers receive credit for being most common of the Neoscona spiders, more common known as the spotted orbweavers.
Smaller in size, the Six-spotted Orbweaver is often associated with more open spaces.
A variety of spiders live on or close to the ground, hunting their prey. Wolf spiders fit that category and many species inhabit residential areas in Wisconsin. Usually a close up picture of the eye arrangement begins the identification process. After that, confidence in species identification becomes less than certain without a close examination of physical characteristics such as hair placement and number of hairs on the legs.
Overall size also helps with some initial identification clues. Wolf spiders in the Hogna genus, for example, rank as the largest in the family, reaching around an inch in body length. They can often be found in fields and more open spaces. Wisconsin documents five species. he size of the spider along with the light marking on the side of the head suggests this is a Hogna species.
Wolf spiders share the ground with other dull grey and brown bodied spiders, such as those in the family Trachelidae, also called Ground Sac Spiders. The picture shows a Broad-faced Sac Spider. Most can initially be identified by the all brown body.
Trachelas tranquillus is the most far ranging, and common in Wisconsin. Look for them in the yard. During fall they tend to enjoy the dryness of the house and are known for the painful, but not toxic bite.