Spiders in the Garden

Protect spiders in your garden, because they prey on insects and other pests. Most spiders seen in the open during the day aren’t likely to bite you or won’t cause lasting harm if they do bite you. Bites from some spiders might require you to seek medical attention spend most of their time hidden. Spiders are arachnids, not insects. They have eight legs and two body parts—an abdomen and a combined head and thorax. They lack wings and antennae. Spider families vary by body shape, web type, hunting or other behavior, and the arrangement and relative size of their eyes.


 

Cellar spiders…

have long, skinny legs and hang upside down in dark corners, often indoors, sometimes bouncing when disturbed. The marbled cellar spider, Holocnemus pluchei, is shown here.

Cobweb spiders…

hang upside down in sticky, irregularly spun webs waiting for prey. Most cobweb species are small and harmless, such as this Theridion dilutum.

BlkWidowWestern Black Widow…

Latrodectus hesperus, is the most well-known cobweb spider. The primary stage that harms people is the adult female (left), usually recognizable by a red hourglass on the underside of its abdomen and shown here hanging upside down in her web. The adult male (right) is lighter colored and smaller than the female.

Crab or flower spiders…

such as Misumena vatia, have enlarged front legs. They hunt during the day without webs.

Dwarf spiders…

are tiny, hunt during the day, and produce sheetlike or irregular crisscross webs on surfaces.

Funnel weavers…

spin thick, flattened webs and sit at the center of a silken hole, or funnel, running out to capture prey that contact the web. Often seen are Hololena nedra (right) and the common house spiderTegenariaspecies, (left) found in gardens and on walls and ceilings inside the house.

Lynx spiders…

are active hunters that stalk and capture prey. Legs are spiny, and the abdomen is narrowest at the rear.  They don’t spin webs. Shown here is a green lynx spider, Peucetia viridans.

Jumping spiders…

hunt during the day, stalking and pouncing on prey. They are hairy, sometimes iridescent, and don’t spin webs. This Phidippus species is eating a house fly.

Orb weavers or garden spiders…

such as this western spotted orb weaver, Neoscona oaxacensis, (left) often are large and colorful and wait in their webs or nearby for prey to become entangled. They spin elaborate webs in concentric circles in the garden.

Sac spiders…

hide in silk tubes in places such as corners, beneath plants, or on bark and stalk prey at night. They occur indoors and out and usually are pale, such as this agrarian sac spider, Cheiracanthium inclusum.

Wolf spiders…

have long, hairy legs and are often found running along the ground. They don’t build webs to capture prey but can have a silken retreat. Females carry young on their backs.