Many Oklahoma spiders live in residential areas of larger metropolitan areas like Tulsa and Oklahoma City as well as rural areas across much of the state.
From orb weaver spiders to house spiders, the rich diversity of arachnids in the state is impressive and, for some, terrifying. In the following section, we will explain some common spiders throughout the state and provide the information you need to determine if they pose a safety or health hazard.
Often found in gardens, backyards or woodlands, spotted orbweavers can vary in color from a tan color to a mixture of orange and red; however, the diversity among this species doesn’t end there because abdomen markings may also vary between individual spiders. Spotted orbweaver spiders are nocturnal and most active at night. Although it isn’t uncommon to see them during the day hiding in a curled leaf located on the outer edge of the web.
Spotted orbweavers derive their name from their unique orb-shaped webs that can be as large as 2’ in diameter. Because their webs are created from sticky spiral capture silk, they are great collectors of flying insects that are unaware the web has been constructed. If you can watch an orbweaver spider create its nest, you may be in awe as they float a link of silk into the wind to attach to another surface. As a gentle spider, spotted orb weavers are rarely found indoors and pose no safety risk.
Southern House Spider
Many homeowners across the state of Oklahoma confuse male southern house spiders with the more dangerous brown recluse based simply on their light brown color. Females often have a gray abdomen with dark brown legs and reach up to ¾ of an inch in length once fully matured. While commonly found indoors, this species of spider does not pose any risks and can help limit the populations of other insects; however, control is possible if requested.
Southern house spider webs are often identified by their woolly texture and flat and tangled construction. Outdoors, females and juveniles will spin specialized webs that can be visible on barns, houses, under trees or on bridges. As a timid species of spider, webs are often constructed in areas that will not likely be disturbed by human activity but are likely to net a large amount of other insect travel. For this reason, many people prefer to leave them alone; however, if you think it may be a brown recluse, seek professional assistance for identification.
Carolina Wolf Spider
As one of 2,200+ wolf spider species found worldwide, the Carolina wolf spider is a common home intruder in Oklahoma. Mostly spotted during the summer months, these nocturnal spiders are incredible hunters due to their ability to move quickly and attack their prey even faster. Carolina wolf spiders are primarily brownish-black in color with accents of slate-grey hair covering the body. Although venomous, Carolina wolf spiders rarely bite unless they feel threatened or cornered; however, the bite is rarely dangerous to humans and the pain it delivers resembles a bee or wasp sting.
Unlike other spiders that rely on a web to catch insects for food, the Carolina wolf spider prefers to actively hunt grasshoppers, crickets and other arthropods. Since this species is considered a poor climber they will typically be seen at the ground-level under rocks or holes. When nesting is required, Carolina wolf spiders will typically make burrows into the ground for shelter and come indoors only to seek out food. For this reason, control is rarely needed, and homeowners can generally just remove the spider from the home manually.
Most often identified by the dark brown spot on its cephalothorax that resembles a fiddle, the brown recluse spider is one of the most feared arachnids in the state of Oklahoma. Because their bites deliver necrotic venom that can lead to tissue damage if left untreated, medical treatment is often required for individuals that sustain them; however, brown recluse spiders are very shy and will avoid human contact whenever possible. For this reason, bites generally occur when the spider is disturbed in an article of clothing that was left on the floor or while boxes are being moved from storage.
Brown recluses can often be found inside of storage boxes that have not been disturbed for long periods. Although, they often prefer to nest in wood surfaces that are disconnected from other living things. Inside of a home, this could be in attics, crawlspaces or wall voids. In rare instances, brown recluse spiders may also nest in furniture if it is not used regularly. If brown recluse spiders are found in your home, contact a spider control professional immediately for safe and quick removal.
Rabid Wolf Spider
Although known for their aggressive behavior and even more intimidating name, the rabid wolf spider is rarely a danger to humans. As one of the most common spiders found throughout the United States, this characteristic provides welcome relief to many. While many people associated the term rabid with the potential ability to pass on rabies, the name derives from the spider’s ability to move quickly and erratically whenever it may be needed to avoid predators or catch prey. Rabid wolf spider venom rarely has serious effects and is considered medically insignificant in humans.
Rabid wolf spiders tend to nest in wooded areas or fields because of the food availability and hiding spots these large areas provide. As a nocturnal species, rabid wolf spiders don’t create nests but will burrow into holes and cover them with silk or debris. Like the Carolina wolf spider, the rabid wolf spider prefers to hunt for food by using its speed and agility instead of waiting for insects to become trapped in a created web. While rabid wolf spiders may come indoors to hunt, this isn’t an optimal environment for them, and they won’t stay long.
Southern Black Widow
Well known for its painful bite and potent venom, the black widow spider is found in both rural and urban environments across the state of Oklahoma. Black widow spiders are often identified by the red hourglass shape on their abdomen that offsets the otherwise black color the rest of their body presents. If a bite from a black widow spider occurs, it is important to immediately seek medical treatment to offset the effects that the venom may have both short term and long term. Death from black widow bites is rarely common anymore and patients can recover within 24 hours following treatment.
Black widow spider webs are generally very erratic and have no distinguishable pattern; however, this web design still allows them to catch a variety of insects for food including flies, moths, crickets, grasshoppers and other arthropods. Although most well-known as a predator to other insects, black widows may become the prey for scorpions, centipedes or wasps that are looking for a meal. Most bites from black widow spiders occur when woodpiles or stones they inhabit are disturbed or when spiders are hiding in shoes that have not been worn recently. If found, contact a pest control professional for the safe removal of this potentially dangerous arachnid.
Bold Jumping Spider
As one of the smallest spiders in Oklahoma, bold jumping spiders are primarily black with a triangular white patch. In some instances, bold jumping spiders may also have white markings on their legs and what appear to be metallic blue or green fang-like chelicerae. A single cluster of bold jumping spider eggs may contain up to 170 individual eggs, making them quick to reproduce during the mid-spring and summer months. Unlikely to bite humans, their small size makes bites particularly insignificant although redness or minor pain may occur.
While bold jumping spiders do not use a web to catch prey, they will often release a silk thread when jumping to ensure they can catch prey if they are unable to pounce on it. Bold jumping spiders can be found on a variety of surfaces both inside and outside and are commonly seen in mailboxes, on patio sets or erratically moving along wall surfaces. Unless found in large numbers, bold jumping spiders rarely require control and pose little risk to humans. During mating periods, female bold jumping spiders will care for eggs until they hatch.
Yellow Garden Spider
The Yellow Garden spider likes to build their webs adjacent to sunny fields, buildings’ eaves, or tall vegetation. These spiders want to stay hidden from threats, so you will likely not see them roaming around your house. They are black and yellow on their abdomen with white heads. Females are much larger than males, growing to 28mm in body length. The females do not wander; they will spend their entire lives in the same spot.
You can spot a Yellow Garden Spider’s web by its unique patterns. They can be as big as 2 feet in diameter and have a zigzag pattern of silk. The Yellow Garden Spider will eat the inside of its web each night and then rebuild it in the morning. These spiders are not a threat but will bite if you mess with them.
Tan Jumping Spider
This spider has a compressed body. This allows it to hide under the bark of trees, where they like to live. Their unique body markings give them the ability to camouflage with the trees. Females grow to 13mm in length, while males only grow to about 9.5mm.
The Tan Jumping Spider is a curious spider. They will hang out on fence posts, trees, or any vertical surface and watch you do your business. They are tame enough to even crawl on your hand if you let it. Beware of startling or squeezing it, as it will bite you if threatened.
Oklahoma Brown Tarantula
This tarantula is common in Oklahoma and Texas and is easily identified by its dark brown body and long legs spanning 4 inches. Their shade of brown can vary from one to the other. These tarantulas are primarily found in grasslands in their underground burrows. You can find these as they have a web entrance.
The Oklahoma Brown Tarantula is a docile creature. They will, however, take a defensive stance if they feel threatened. This will look like the tarantula standing on its back legs and showing fangs. This looks much scarier than it should, and chances are it is more scared of you than you of it. This spider will also kick off the barbed hairs from its abdomen in the direction of the threat. This can irritate the eyes and skin. Their venom, though, should not cause you any harm, even if their large fangs could cause large punctures in your skin.
Green Lynx Spider
The Green Lynx Female is about twice the size of its male counterpart. They grow about 22mm in length. They are distinguishable by the chevron markings on their backs, each pointing toward the head. Their legs are green to yellow—their color changes in certain seasons. Females can also change their color based on their environment.
These spiders like to live in shrubs, tall grass, or the woods. The female will construct a few 2cm egg sacs containing 25 to 600 eggs. They will hang upside down with their egg sac until it hatches. The female can shoot venom up to a foot as a defense mechanism. They seldom bite humans, but if they do, their venom can cause pain and local swelling.
Dimorphic Jumping Spider
This jumping spider can take on two completely different appearances, although the same species. The male Dimorphic spider is black with yellow legs or tan with red legs. The females resemble the males, except with short hair covering their bodies. These spiders can jump considerable distances. They will ambush their prey and use a single strand of web to keep them from escaping.
Flea Jumping Spider
The Flea Jumping spider has the incredible ability to jump more than four times its body length. At 10mm in length, that is more than 40mm. They are intelligent spiders with excellent eyesight, which they use to capture prey up to twice their size. This includes grasshoppers, cockroaches, and crickets.
The Flea Jumping Spider is grey and black with some orange on its sides. They like to live in tall grass or wooded areas. They are not harmful to humans, but they will bite if harassed. Their bite can cause some irritation that usually subsides in a few days.
Peppered Jumping Spider
The Peppered Jumping Spider grows to about 5.5mm in length, with the female slightly larger than the male. The females are grey with a peppered white and black spotted appearance. The males look similar, except with a bronze brown body instead of grey with white markings behind their median eyes, giving them the appearance of a frown. These spiders like to live in tall grass and wooded areas. These spiders are also good at pest control.
Golden Jumping Spider
These are also called Emerald spiders from their metallic green appearance. The males have black bodies, while the females are brown with orange details. They both have a line of hair in the middle of their back, surrounded by white dots and faint lines. These jumping spiders are more prominent than others, growing to about 10mm in length.
The Golden Jumping spider is an ambush hunter that takes its meals back to its webs to eat and lay eggs. They are usually found in shrubs or on leaves. They will occasionally come inside to get after some insects. They will bite if needed but usually jump away from you and hide.
Brilliant Jumping Spider
The Brilliant Jumping Spider is just that in terms of hunting. You will find this thing in old fields, hanging upside down, waiting for its prey to pass by. Once it detects the target, it will drop down on the meal.
This spider is relatively large for its jumping spider family. Females grow to about 4mm, and males grow to only 3.2mm. You can identify them by their red-to-brown or yellow-to-brown color. They will also have a dark marking down their back.
American Nursery Web Spider
The Nursery Web Spider gets its name from the care the females give their eggs and young. They will protect their egg sacs at all costs, biting you if you get too close. They like to live near water, in tall grass, or in wooded areas. They are wandering hunters, so they do not use webs to catch their prey.
You can spot these spiders by their long bodies and raised heads. They are brown with a dark band and two rows of spots on their back. These spiders look similar to the wolf spider but are skinnier and more protracted.
Bronze Jumping Spider
The male and female look similar but have subtle differences. The males grow to about 6.7mm in body length. They have a dark bronze head with a lighter bronze body. They also have white banding on their head and body. The female grows larger at 8mm, with a light bronze head and darker body. They have less prominent banding and spots.
These spiders are ambush hunters, leaving a single strand of thread after they hunt to help capture their prey. You can find these spiders in many different areas around your home or the wild. They are also curious and jump on your hand if you let it. They will only bite if they feel threatened.
Striped Lynx Spider
The Striped Lynx Spider has prominent dark hairs on its legs. They are green to brown with stripes on their head and body. They also display a diamond shape on their back. They can grow to 6mm, with the females slightly larger than the males.
They are ambush hunters. They create a web where they bring their meals, hide from other threats, or lay their eggs.
Putnam’s Jumping Spider
The Putnam Jumping Spider is an active ambush hunter that uses its excellent eyesight to scan for its meals. It can jump four times its body length when hunting. It will shoot a single strand of web to subdue its meal. It bites the prey to paralyze it and drags it back to its web.
These guys are hairy, with tufts of hair above their eyes and on their sides. They can be found in many locations and sometimes come inside. They are not dangerous, though, so do not fear them.
Common Hentz Spider
The Common Hentz Spider is notable for its long, large front legs, which are dark red. The rest of their legs are yellow. Their head and body are reddish browns with white banding around the sides. Their eyes are large, and they have orange hair surrounding them. Their long legs help them ambush their prey, hold them down, and inject their venom. They only grow to 7mm (female) and 5.3mm (male).
They can be found in piles of leaves in your yard and sometimes make their way into your home. They will bite if provoked, but the bite will be slightly painful. The pain should only last a short while. The good news is they will likely jump away if you get too close.
The Spined Micrathena Spider belongs to the Ordweaver family. They will create large, tightly coiled webs that can get as large as 2 feet in diameter. They are active during the day, but you might only see them at the end of summer and the start of fall.
These guys grow to lengths of 10.8mm, with the females more prominent than the males. The females have a larger white and black abdomen with spines around it. The males have smaller abdomens with fewer spines and are also slightly lighter in color. They are harmless to humans.
Grayish Jumping Spider
The Grayish Jumping Spider is just like other jumping spiders. They are excellent jumpers and ambush their prey. They will create webs only as a haven or a place to eat their meals. They have a gray appearance with a reddish back.
High Eyelashed Jumping Spider
The High Eyelashed Jumping Spider is just like other jumping spiders. They are excellent jumpers and ambush their prey. They will create webs only as a haven or a place to eat their meals. They have a gray appearance with black markings all over their body. They are very hairy, with their longest hairs above their eyes. They will bite if provoked but are generally harmless.
The Orchard Orbweaver Spider, as indicated by the name, likes to build their nests in orchards. They are also common in shrubs and along the edges of wooded areas. They hang upside down in the center of their webs. Wasps are known to lay their larvae on these spiders, which then feed off of the spider.
The Orchard Orbweaver has leaf-green legs and sides, varying in shades of green. Their back is silver with black and brown streaks, and their belly has yellow and black spots. They also have yellow, orange, and red spots on their backside.
The Grass Spider is part of the funnel-weaving family. They will create their web and stay there most of the time. Their web is not sticky, so they must rely on their quickness to pounce on prey once their trap is triggered. These are not harmful to humans. They closely resemble the wolf spider, with a brownish body and darker stripes along their bodies.
Cardinal Jumping Spider
Like the other jumpers, the Cardinal Jumping Spider has all the typical characteristics in their habitat preference, hunting, and venom. Their notable difference is the bright red bodies they have. They are hairy, and their red hair makes them look like they are covered in velvet. Their legs are darker than their bodies, which makes the red look even brighter.
The Furrow Orbweaver is quite large and has a big bulbous body. They vary from red to grey to black and reach sizes of 14mm with leg spans up to 34mm. They will make their webs close to water or low shrubs or grass. They make their web each night and hide for most of the day.
The Triangulate Combfoot preys on many things, including ants, ticks, and other spiders, most notably brown recluses. They like to live in dusty areas and under windowsills. Their webs are usually filled with dead insects.
They are brown to orange in color with yellow legs. They have darker brown zigzags on their back, leaving triangle shapes. They have bad eyesight, so they hunt by detecting the vibrations on their webs. They can bite and cause an allergic reaction, but they seldom will.
Banded Garden Spider
The Banded Garden Spider gets its name from the stripes on its legs. Their bodies are brown with darker markings, including stripes. They grow up to 25mm, with the female being considerably smaller. The female will hang upside down with its legs in pairs. The male will set up his web close to the female. The web can be up to 2 feet in diameter, depending on the size of the spider.
Hammer Jawed Jumping Spider
The Hammer Jawed Jumping Spider is like other jumping spiders. They are excellent jumpers and use their skills to ambush prey or escape predators. They have a yellow-to-dark-brown appearance and a large, squared head. They will bite if provoked but usually are harmless.
White Banded Crab Spider
The White Banded Crab Spider is a sit-and-wait hunter. They will hang out on the petals of flowers, waiting for pollinating insects to come by. They have powerful front legs that they use to grab their prey.
These spiders vary in color based on male or female. The female can change color due to its surrounding, ranging from yellow to white. The males are golden, with their legs being darker than their bodies.
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