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Spiders in Tennessee

There are over 40 different types of spiders in Tennessee. Of this number, only about three species inflict bites that require medical attention.

Most spiders in Tennessee are safe to be around. And while the state has a high number of unique species, you’ll only encounter a handful of them in your day-to-day life.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about the different spiders in the state. By the end, you’ll know how to identify species native to Tennessee and which ones to avoid.

Spiders are predatory arachnids that mainly feed on insects and other arthropods. Their insect-rich diet makes them excellent natural pest and ecological controls.

If you’re like most people, you probably think of spiders as creepy or nasty web-builders. But not all spiders are creepy or spin bothersome webs. Tennessee is home to many fascinating types.

The state has dozens of stunning native species, with some as beautiful as (if not more than) butterflies. You’ll find these spiders everywhere, from gardens to forests and fields around your home.

Read on to learn about the different spiders in Tennessee.

Table of Contents

  1. Spiders in Tennessee
  2. FAQ
  3. Conclusion

Spiders in Tennessee

1. Southern Black Widow

Southern Black Widow (Latrodectus mactans) climbing up a treetrunk to its web in Nashville, Tennessee, USA
A Southern Black Widow (Latrodectus mactans) climbing up a treetrunk to its web in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Theridiidae
  • Scientific Name: Latrodectus mactans
  • Other Names: Black Widow, Widow Spider
  • Adult Size: Up to 0.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 to 3 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

Black widows are one of the deadliest spiders in Tennessee.

They are one of the most known, too. The popularity of these spiders is mainly due to references in pop culture, such as in films and music.

Tennessee has two distinct black widow species: northern and southern black widows.

The southern black widow is more widespread, and you can identify it by the reddish hourglass pattern on its large, bulbous belly. Its body and limbs are typically shiny black.

Black widows are well-known for two main reasons. The first has to do with the widely publicized fact that females generally consume males after mating. It’s where they got the “widow” in their name.

The other reason black widows are so well known is that their venom is highly potent. The neurotoxic venom of this critter is up to 15 times more deadly than a rattlesnake’s.

If this spider bites you, it’s best to seek urgent medical care to avoid complications.

This spider’s neurotoxin often triggers latrodectism in humans. Symptoms of this condition include pain in the bite area, muscle stiffness, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, and sweating. Left untreated, it can lead to death.

Fortunately, this spider’s bite isn’t always lethal. This is because the spider usually doesn’t inject enough of its deadly venom to cause death in humans.

You’re more likely to experience adverse reactions if you are a child, are elderly, or have a weak immune system.

The venom of this species is most effective against arthropod prey, which they often catch by spinning sticky, tangled webs.

2. Northern Black Widow

Northern Black Widow (Latrodectus variolus) in its web in Decatur County, Tennessee, USA
A Northern Black Widow (Latrodectus variolus) in its web in Decatur County, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Theridiidae
  • Scientific Name: Latrodectus variolus
  • Other Names: Black Widow, Widow Spider
  • Adult Size: Up to 0.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 to 3 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

Northern black widows are similar to southern black widows in almost every way. However, a key difference between both species is the shape of their red hourglass marking.

The hourglass marking in northern black widows is broken in the middle. So, instead of a full hourglass, it looks like two opposite-facing triangular markings. The hourglass marking in southern black widows is unbroken.

The northern black widow is just as deadly as its southern sibling. It produces a highly potent neurotoxic venom that can have devastating effects on humans and animals.

Arthropods it stings often die shortly after it bites them.

In humans, symptoms of this spider’s bite symptoms range from pain and swelling to breathing difficulties and muscle paralysis. Its venom can be fatal, especially among people with immune systems compromised by disease or age.

Like its southern sibling, the female northern black widow typically kills males immediately after mating. Even males that escape being cannibalized by females still die soon after mating.

Northern black widows belong to a family of cobweb spiders. The webs they spin are usually tangled and unstructured. While they lack the organization of some other species’ nests, the webs are sticky and effective at trapping prey.

These arachnids feed on various kinds of arthropods, but insects make up the bulk of their diet.

Despite their reputation, you can keep northern and southern black widows as pets if you’re cautious. These spiders don’t usually bite unprovoked.

They only bite as a last resort when threatened and unable to escape.

3. Brown Recluse

Brown Recluse (Loxosceles reclusa) on a white wall in Cannon County, Tennessee, USA
A Brown Recluse (Loxosceles reclusa) on a white wall in Cannon County, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Sicariidae
  • Scientific Name: Loxosceles reclusa
  • Other Names: Violin Spider, Brown Fiddler, Fiddleback
  • Adult Size: 0.24 to 0.8 inches
  • Lifespan: 2 to 4 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The brown recluse is, like its name suggests, pretty reclusive.

It often stays hidden and only wanders out in the open once in a while. Like the black widows in Tennessee, it is a spider you should be wary of.

You can identify this spider by its brown tan body and the presence of a distinctive violin marking on its back. This violin-like pattern is on its carapace, not its abdomen, and it starts just behind its eyes. Unlike other spiders in Tennessee, it has six eyes instead of eight.

Brown recluses produce a cytotoxic venom that’s quite different from the venom of black widows. Its venom damages tissues in and around the bite area and can result in ulcers that are difficult to treat.

Although the cytotoxin this spider produces doesn’t directly cause death in humans, the ulcer it causes can become infected with lethal germs. Not treating this arachnid’s bite on time can also lead to unpleasant scars forming in the bite area.

Brown recluses sometimes inflict “dry bites.” These warning bites don’t contain any venom, so they don’t trigger any symptoms. But it’s impossible to predict which kind of bite it will inflict, and it isn’t worth the risk.

Like most spiders in Tennessee, this species doesn’t bite humans unless threatened. But you should seek immediate medical attention if the spider bites you, even if symptoms are yet to appear.

Brown recluses feed primarily on insects, but they eat many other arthropods. Unlike widows, these nocturnal spiders don’t catch prey using sticky nests.

They prefer chasing their victims and killing them with venom.

4. False Black Widow

False Black Widow (Steatoda grossa) on a bumpy white wall in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
A False Black Widow (Steatoda grossa) on a bumpy white wall in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Theridiidae
  • Scientific Name: Steatoda grossa
  • Other Names: Brown House Spider, False Widow,  Dark Comb-Footed Spider, Cupboard Spider
  • Adult Size: 0.25 to 0.4 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 to 6 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The false black widow is related to true black widows, and it contains a similar venom to true widows. However, its venom is significantly less potent and doesn’t pose any real danger to humans.

You might experience pain and mild swelling where the spider bites you, but these symptoms disappear without treatment. The symptoms might last longer if you’re allergic to spider venom.

The false black widow is usually brown, with a bulbous abdomen and glossy appearance similar to a true widow. However, some individuals are dark brown, almost black, and they are the easiest to mistake for black widows.

The easiest way to tell false widows from true widows beyond skin color is to examine their bellies. Unlike true black widows, false widow spiders don’t have a reddish hourglass marking on their bellies.

In other ways, these spiders are alike. False widows spin tangled, sticky nests indoors and outdoors, favoring abandoned corners and rooms. They depend on these webs to catch prey which they then kill with venom.

Having false black widows in your home can be beneficial. Besides helping you control typical insect pests like mosquitoes, they also help keep black widows in check.

These spiders often kill and feed on true black widows their webs catch.

5. Rabbit Hutch Spider

Rabbit Hutch Spider (Steatoda  bipunctata) on its web in a clear space in Lower Silesian, Poland
A Rabbit Hutch Spider (Steatoda  bipunctata) on its web in a clear space in Lower Silesian, Poland. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Theridiidae
  • Scientific Name: Steatoda  bipunctata
  • Other Names: False Black Widow
  • Adult Size: 0.31 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 to 6 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The rabbit hutch spider is a relative of both false and true black widows. Also called a false widow in many circles, this fascinating cobweb spider has a bulbous abdomen and a typically brown body.

If you’re unfamiliar with spiders, it’s possible to mistake the rabbit hutch spider for a true widow. But the difference between both spiders becomes clear once you know what to look for.

For starters, they lack the hourglass marking characteristic of true black widows. Their brown body also lacks the shiny look of true widows.

You can identify rabbit hutch spiders by the light, whitish stripe in the middle of their abdomen. This stripe curves around the abdomen anteriorly.

Rabbit hutch spiders, like other members of their family, rarely bite unprovoked. But they can inflict strong, painful bites. Fortunately, their venom is not medically significant, so symptoms resolve without treatment.

They live in damp, undisturbed corners and build disorganized silk webs to trap their prey. These spiders are widespread, so you’ll find many of them indoors and outdoors at different times of the year.

Like most spiders in Tennessee, they spin cocoons around their eggs, which they protect fiercely for as long as possible. They generally have short lifespans, but females nearly always outlive males.

6. Eastern Parson Spider

Eastern Parson Spider (Herpyllus ecclesiasticus) on a white wall in McMinnville, Tennessee, USA
A Eastern Parson Spider (Herpyllus ecclesiasticus) on a white wall in McMinnville, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Family: Gnaphosidae
  • Scientific Name: Herpyllus ecclesiasticus
  • Other Names: Stealthy Ground Spider, Ground Spider
  • Adult Size: 0.3 to 0.8 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 to 2 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The eastern parson spider is a hairy black or dark gray spider with a whitish or light gray marking on its back. Its peculiar name comes from this light pattern, which resembles the neckband worn by clergy (parsons) in the past.

Besides the pattern on its back, you can also identify this species by the two pikes at its rear. It also has a zigzag way of running that allows it to escape potential predators with more ease than other spiders in Tennessee.

You may find eastern parson spiders at home or outdoors, hiding under rocks and debris in the woods. These nocturnal spiders do not build webs, so it can be hard to tell if they are in your home, except if you spot them wandering at night.

Fast, swift, and ruthless, these hunter spiders are skilled predators that prefer to chase down their victims before killing them with venom. Their diet consists of different arthropods, but insects are the majority.

Eastern parson spiders can be pretty aggressive when threatened and do not hesitate to strike back. Otherwise, they are completely harmless.

The good thing is that their bites, while painful, are not medically significant.

7. Dark Fishing Spider

Dark Fishing Spider (Dolomedes tenebrosus) on a wooden corner in Tallassee, Tennessee, USA
A Dark Fishing Spider (Dolomedes tenebrosus) on a wooden corner in Tallassee, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Pisauridae
  • Scientific Name: Dolomedes tenebrosus
  • Other Names: Dock Spider, Raft Spider,  Wharf Spider
  • Adult Size: 0.27 to 1.02 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 to 2 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The dark fishing spider is a land spider that is comfortable in water to some degree. While it doesn’t live in water, it can dive under and stay submerged for a while to escape predators or catch prey.

Most times, though, this spider does its hunting on water surfaces or land in damp forests and woodlands. It consumes various types of prey, from regular terrestrial arthropods to aquatic insects and tiny fish.

Since it’s a hunter, it does not need conventional spider nests. But females spin silk sacs to protect their eggs. They guard their egg sacs fiercely until spiderlings emerge.

Like other fishing spiders, you’ll often find this species with its legs stretched out in all directions. It has a hairy, mottled black and brown body with repeating W-shaped patterns on its abdomen.

This arachnid is not harmful to humans. It rarely bites people unless it feels threatened. If you’re allergic, you might develop mild pain and swelling comparable to a wasp sting after it bites you.

8. White-banded Fishing Spider

White-banded Fishing Spider (Dolomedes albineus) on some wood near moss in Sparta, Tennessee, USA
A White-banded Fishing Spider (Dolomedes albineus) on some wood near moss in Sparta, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Pisauridae
  • Scientific Name: Dolomedes albineus
  • Other Names: Dock Spider, Fishing Spider, Wharf Spider
  • Adult Size: 0.7 to 0.9 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 to 2 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The white-banded fishing spider is another hairy arachnid that behaves much like its dark fishing spider cousin.

This black and greenish-brown spider has white markings on its body. Its legs also have black, greenish-brown, and thin white bands with spines.

You’ll typically encounter this species near natural water sources, such as on the bank or surface of streams. But it also lives in forests and woodlands, especially damp or coastal ones.

White-banded fishing spiders are hunters, and they feed primarily on other arthropods, especially water insects. But these opportunistic feeders also consume non-arthropod prey like fish and slugs when the opportunity presents itself.

Although these spiders can seem intimidating, they aren’t dangerous to humans. They scarcely bite unprovoked, and the venom they produce has only temporary mild effects.

9. American Nursery Web Spider

American Nursery Web Spider (Pisaurina mira) walking on dirt near Burns, Tennessee, USA
An American Nursery Web Spider (Pisaurina mira) walking on dirt near Burns, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Pisaurina
  • Scientific Name: Pisaurina mira
  • Other Names: Nursery Web Spider
  • Adult Size: 0.35 to 0.7 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 to 2 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

American nursery web spiders belong to the same family as fishing spiders, and sometimes people mix them up. But American nursery web spiders lack the W-shaped pattern most fishing spiders have.

These arachnids are usually light to tan brown, with a broad, dark brown stripe running from the top of their carapace to the end of their abdomen. This broad stripe usually has a whitish line bordering it on both sides.

Like fishing spiders, American nursery web spiders can walk on water. They also sometimes dive under to escape predators that can follow them into streams and rivers.

These arachnids are active hunters that don’t use silk webs to catch prey. Instead, you’ll often see them chase down or ambush their victims before overpowering them with venom.

Despite not using webs to snare prey, American nursery web spiders spin silk for other purposes. Females wrap their eggs in silk cocoons and are fiercely protective of them.

Females move around with their egg sacs attached to their chelicerae and build nurseries for their offspring when the eggs hatch.

American nursery web spiders can inflict painful bites under stress, but they aren’t dangerous. Their venom is not medically significant, and symptoms don’t need treatment.

10. Orchard Orbweaver

Orchard Orbweaver (Leucauge venusta) on its web in Collierville, Tennessee, USA
An Orchard Orbweaver (Leucauge venusta) on its web in Collierville, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Tatragnathidae
  • Scientific Name: Leucauge venusta
  • Other Names: Long-jawed Orb-weaver
  • Adult Size: 0.14 to 0.3 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The orchard orb-weaver gets its name from its affinity for orchards.

But it’s common to encounter this species elsewhere, such as in prairies, forests, and shrublands. You may also find it in houses and other artificial structures.

Orchard orb-weavers are multicolored spiders with yellow, green, black, and white streaks and patterns on their belly. Their legs are green, and their yellowish carapace has a black or dark green mid-stripe.

Like most spiders, the belly of this species is larger than its cephalothorax. You’ll also notice that the angle of the belly is slanted, with the anterior pointing upwards and the posterior pointing downwards.

This arachnid is not a hunter, so it relies on its circular webs to catch prey. It detects prey using vibratory signals and rushes towards its victim to deliver a lethal sting with its fangs.

Afterward, it consumes its victim.

Orchard orb-weavers are tiny spiders, and they aren’t harmful to humans. Instead, their stunning coloration makes them pleasant to observe.

11. Deadly Ground Crab Spider

Deadly Ground Crab Spider (Xysticus funestus) on light wood in Fentress County, Tennessee, USA
A Deadly Ground Crab Spider (Xysticus funestus) on light wood in Fentress County, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Thomisidae
  • Scientific Name: D
  • Other Names: Ground Crab Spider, Bark Crab Spider
  • Adult Size: 0.18 to 0.4 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Average Price Range: N/A

There is nothing deadly about the deadly ground crab spider, except if you’re an insect.

This predatory arachnid is ruthless with insect prey, chasing them down and stinging its victims to death before eating. But it is harmless to humans.

This species is called a crab spider because of its physical appearance. Unlike most spiders in Tennessee, it has a relatively flattened body and large, wide front limbs similar to a crab’s. It also walks like a crab.

The deadly ground crab spider has a short, wide belly and a mottled brown body that provides it with camouflage.

You’ll typically find this spider hunting on the floor in forests or resting under leaf litter. Thanks to their cryptic coloration, spotting them often takes a while.

Although this swift hunter doesn’t build nests to trap prey, females typically spin silk sacs to house their eggs. Then, they protect these eggs fiercely for as long as they can.

12. Arrowhead Orbweaver

Arrowhead Orbweaver (Verrucosa arenata) in its web in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
An Arrowhead Orbweaver (Verrucosa arenata) in its web in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Araneidae
  • Scientific Name: Verrucosa arenata
  • Other Names: Arrowhead Spider, Triangulate Orb-weaver
  • Adult Size: 0.15 to 0.55 inches
  • Lifespan: Up to 1 year
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The arrowhead orb-weaver is unlike most common orb-weavers in Tennessee.

Instead of round, its belly has the shape of a triangle or an arrowhead. That’s where the species gets its name.

In addition to its arrowhead abdomen, you’ll also notice a triangular pattern on the upper surface of this spider’s abdomen. This triangular pattern is usually yellow or whitish with dark markings. The rest of the body is brown and spiny.

Like other orb-weavers, the arrowhead orb-weaver relies on its spiral webs to catch prey. But it distinguishes itself by sitting upright in the center of its nest. Nearly all the other orb-weavers in Tennessee hang upside-down in their webs when waiting for prey.

Arrowhead orb-weavers are only aggressive towards prey. Around humans, these arachnids are unaggressive and only bite when threatened.

Thankfully, their bite is harmless.

13. Arrow-shaped Orbweaver

Arrow-shaped Orbweaver (Micrathena sagittata) in its web in the sunlight by a leaf in Clarksville, Tennessee, USA
An Arrow-shaped Orbweaver (Micrathena sagittata) in its web in the sunlight by a leaf in Clarksville, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Araneidae
  • Scientific Name: Micrathena sagittata
  • Other Names: Arrow-shaped Micrathena, Arrow-shaped Spider
  • Adult Size: 0.2 to 0.35 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The arrow-shaped orb-weaver is another peculiar orb-weaving spider in Tennessee. Its body is shaped like an arrow, and the rear of its yellow belly has one spiky protrusion on each side.

The spiky crowns at the rear of its belly are dark brown and also present along the sides of the spider’s belly. Besides the abdomen, the rest of this spider is dark brown to reddish-brown.

You’ll typically find this spider outdoors in places rich in vegetation, such as forests, meadows, and gardens. It spins large spiral webs to catch arthropod prey, then kills and eats its catch.

Arrow-shaped spiders aren’t aggressive spiders, so you shouldn’t fear them. They won’t bite unless you startle them without giving them room to escape. Even if one bites you, its venom is harmless.

14. Yellow Garden Spider

Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia) on its web in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
A Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia) on its web in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Araneidae
  • Scientific Name: Argiope aurantia
  • Other Names: Black and Yellow Garden Spider, Black And Yellow Argiope, Golden Garden Spider, Zipper Spider, Steeler Spider, Corn Spider, McKinley Spider,  Zigzag Spider
  • Adult Size: 0.75 to 1.1 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Average Price Range: N/A

You’ll usually find yellow garden spiders hanging upside down in their large, orb-shaped webs. They often build these webs in gardens around homes, but many also live in forests and other vegetation-rich areas.

Although many homeowners rid their gardens of yellow garden spiders after noticing their nests, these stunning spiders are beneficial. They help control the population of many insects that otherwise act as pests in the garden.

Although yellow garden spiders won’t bite you unless you threaten them, their bite can be painful. That’s probably why many people try to get rid of them. Fortunately, the symptoms following their sting are mild and don’t require treatment.

You can identify yellow garden spiders by their large, black, and yellow bellies. The middle of their abdomen is a broad, black strip with pairs of yellow spots.

In most individuals, the rest of the belly is primarily yellow with black spherical patterns.

The carapace of these arachnids is covered in silvery-white hair, and their long legs have alternating black and yellow bands.

15. Banded Garden Spider

Banded Garden Spider (Argiope trifasciata) on its web by leaves in Kodak, Tennessee, USA
A Banded Garden Spider (Argiope trifasciata) on its web by leaves in Kodak, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Araneidae
  • Scientific Name: Argiope trifasciata
  • Other Names: Orb-weaver Spider, Yellow Garden Spider
  • Adult Size: 0.59 to 0.98 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Average Price Range: N/A

Banded garden spiders have yellow, white, and reddish-brown bands running from side to side on their bellies.

They get their name from this pattern of lateral bands. Like yellow garden spiders, their carapace is silvery-white, and their legs have alternating light and dark bands.

These orb-weavers spin wide, wheel-like nests in gardens and forests. You’ll typically find one banded garden spider (usually a female) hanging head-down in the center of each nest in your garden.

These spiders aren’t hunters, so they use their nests for shelter and to catch prey. As a result, they consume large numbers of insects and are a natural form of pest control.

Thankfully, they aren’t aggressive towards people.

Banded garden spiders won’t bite you unless you disturb their webs without letting them escape. While their bites might be painful, you’ll be fine without any medical treatment.

Their venom doesn’t have any lasting effects.

16. Bold Jumping Spider

Bold Jumping Spider (Phidippus audax) sitting in a folding leaf in Hendersonville, Tennessee, USA
A Bold Jumping Spider (Phidippus audax) sitting in a folding leaf in Hendersonville, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Family: Salticidae
  • Scientific Name: Phidippus audax
  • Other Names: Bold Jumper,  Daring Jumping Spider, White-spotted Jumper, White-spotted Jumping Spider
  • Adult Size: 0.25 to 0.75 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The bold jumping spider is a short-legged arachnid capable of high jumps in Tennessee. The “bold” in this spider’s name comes from its tendency to make daring jumps, sometimes up to 50 times its body length.

Although this species’ strong back legs play a vital role in helping it make such leaps, it also relies heavily on the silk draglines it spins.

It uses a dragline every time to steady itself while jumping. Draglines also prevent accidents in case a jump goes wrong mid-air.

Bold jumping spiders don’t spin silk traps for their prey. These arachnids are sharp-sighted hunters, so they usually chase down and pounce on their prey.

After killing their victims with venom, they consume them on the spot or move them elsewhere to finish later.

You can identify bold jumping spiders by the three orange spots on the back of their abdomen. Their legs have black and white bands, but the rest of the body is covered in thick black hair.

Unlike similar-looking jumping spiders, bold jumpers have metallic green fangs.

Two of this specie’s eight eyes are prominent. Shaped like binoculars, this pair of eyes is responsible for the bold jumper’s keen vision. All jumping spiders have a similar eye arrangement.

Bold jumping spiders rarely bite and are fun to watch. Their venom isn’t strong enough to harm you, so they shouldn’t scare you.

17. Zebra Jumping Spider

Zebra Jumping Spider (Salticus scenicus) on gravel in Scotland, United Kingdom
A Zebra Jumping Spider (Salticus scenicus) on gravel in Scotland, United Kingdom. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Salticidae
  • Scientific Name: Salticus scenicus
  • Other Names: Zebra Jumping Spider
  • Adult Size: Up to 0.25 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The zebra jumping spider gets its name from the black and white pattern of its body, similar to a zebra’s. The base color is usually black or gray, while the white markings are patches of whitish hair.

This species can also perform impressive jumps using its powerful hind legs. Jumping spiders all lack extensor muscles, so the zebra jumper leaps up by modifying the pressure in its legs.

Zebra jumpers have keen eyesight and don’t trap prey in silk nests. Instead, these hunters prefer tracking down their victims and injecting them with lethal venom from their fangs.

The venom this species produces is only lethal to insects and other small arthropod prey. It is harmless to humans, so you have nothing to fear. Besides, zebra jumpers are friendly and rarely bite people.

You’ll usually find zebra jumpers outdoors, although they sometimes stray indoors when searching for prey or escaping bad weather. They favor vertical surfaces and are restless, often leaping from one place to another.

18. Magnolia Green Jumping Spider

Magnolia Green Jumping Spider (Lyssomanes viridis) on a large leaf in Kingsport, Tennessee, USA
A Magnolia Green Jumping Spider (Lyssomanes viridis) on a large leaf in Kingsport, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Salticidae
  • Scientific Name: Lyssomanes viridis
  • Other Names: Magnolia Green Jumper
  • Adult Size: 0.2 to 0.3 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The magnolia green jumper is a beautiful jumping spider with a translucent lemon-green body.

The area around the eyes is covered in a yellow and white pattern. Also, its prominent pair of eyes are usually green instead of black like the rest.

Unlike bold jumpers, the legs of this species aren’t noticeably short. Instead, they have long legs to help them move quickly and make high jumps. But even their best jumps are not as impressive as bold jumping spiders.

Magnolia green jumpers are skilled hunters. You’ll usually find them among green vegetation, where their green color provides them with effective camouflage. Although it usually hunts insects and smaller arthropods, it also preys on other spiders.

The magnolia in this spider’s name comes from magnolia trees, where most magnolia green jumper populations live. You may also find them around homes, but indoor sightings are far less common than outdoor sightings.

Magnolia green jumpers are harmless critters. They rarely bite, and their venom is weak.

19. Tan Jumping Spider

Tan Jumping Spider (Platycryptus undatus) climbing up a plank of wood in Elizabethton, Tennessee, USA
A Tan Jumping Spider (Platycryptus undatus) climbing up a plank of wood in Elizabethton, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Salticidae
  • Scientific Name: Platycryptus undatus
  • Other Names: Tan Jumper, Jumping Spider
  • Adult Size: 0.33 to 0.51 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The tan jumping spider is a thick-haired jumper with a black and tan body covered in flecks of whitish hair. This spider has stout limbs and is capable of leaping to heights up to five times its body length.

Tan jumping spiders have keen eyesight that helps them spot prey before attacking. So they have no use for webs, preferring to hunt down the arthropods they feed on instead of waiting for them to come by.

Although this species doesn’t build nests to trap prey, it spins silk for other purposes. For example, it always spins a silk safety line when jumping to stay steady mid-air. Females also use silk to make protective sacs for their eggs.

This arachnid is harmless and unaggressive. It’s a lively critter likely to jump on your skin if you’re within jumping distance, but it won’t bite unless threatened. If you like spiders, tan jumpers are fun to keep.

20. Long-bodied Cellar Spider

Long-bodied Cellar Spider (Pholcus phalangioides) hanging in the air at East Ridge, Tennessee, USA
A Long-bodied Cellar Spider (Pholcus phalangioides) hanging in the air at East Ridge, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Pholcidae
  • Scientific Name: Pholcus phalangioides
  • Other Names: Daddy Longlegs, Daddy Longlegger, Cellar Spider, Granddaddy Longlegs, Vibrating Spider,  House Spider, Carpenter Spider, Skull Spider
  • Adult Size: Up to 0.4 inches
  • Lifespan: 2 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The long-bodied cellar spider has a relatively long abdomen.

Still, its body is small compared to other spiders in Tennessee. The good thing is that this critter has incredibly long legs that make it appear much larger than it is.

This spider’s legs, which can be up to six times its body length, justify its “daddy longlegs” nickname.

People have misunderstood long-bodied cellar spiders for ages. One of the biggest misconceptions about these spiders is that they are the most venomous spiders worldwide.

According to this theory, their bites are harmless to humans only because their fangs can’t penetrate human skin.

The jury is still out on whether these spiders can penetrate human skin, but the story about their highly toxic venom is false. The venom long-bodied cellar spiders produce is harmless, so you’ll be fine even if they inject you during a bite. At most, you’ll experience a minor itch.

Cellar spiders are among the most common spiders in homes, and you’ll often spot their webs in ceiling or wall corners and the bends of furniture. Although you can find them in many places at home, many individuals favor cellars.

These arachnids are light brown or tan, and their abdomen is larger than their cephalothorax. But they don’t have any easily recognizable patterns unique to them.

Long-bodied cellar spiders have poor eyesight. So, instead of hunting down prey, they wait for prey to wander into their nests.

They then locate victims by the vibration of their struggles and swoop in to attack them.

21. Running Crab Spider

Running Crab Spider (Philodromus spp.) on some rotting wood in Collierville, Tennessee, USA
A Running Crab Spider (Philodromus spp.) on some rotting wood in Collierville, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Philodromidae
  • Scientific Name: Philodromus spp.
  • Other Names: Crab Spiders
  • Adult Size: Up to 0.75 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The running crab spider is a swift predator. This active hunter doesn’t sit still in webs and wait for prey to wander in. In fact, it doesn’t build the kind of nests web-builders are known for.

This species chases down its victims and immobilizes them with venom before eating them. It has strong forelimbs that help it seize its victims before stinging them with its fangs.

Like crabs, these forelimbs are longer than their remaining legs.

The running crab spider is a light brown to tan spider with dark brown mottles on its body. Its spiny legs have alternating light and dark bands, and the abdomen and sides of its carapace are covered in dark brown patches.

Running crab spiders are harmless critters that don’t bite unprovoked. Although they produce venom, their venom is mild. You might experience pain and mild swelling, but these symptoms fade on their own.

While running crab spiders don’t spin silk snares for their prey, they use silk to spin cocoons for their eggs. Females guard their eggs ferociously until the eggs hatch into spiderlings.

22. Spitting Spider

Spitting Spider (Scytodes thoracica) in a cave-live surface with prey in Piemonte, Italy
A Spitting Spider (Scytodes thoracica) in a cave-live surface with prey in Piemonte, Italy. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Scytodidae
  • Scientific Name: Scytodes thoracica
  • Other Names: Spitting Spider
  • Adult Size: 0.15 to 0.25 inches
  • Lifespan: 1.5 to 2 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

Unlike most spiders in Tennessee, spitting spiders have six eyes instead of eight.

But that’s not the most fascinating thing about them. These spiders can shoot toxic silk strands to immobilize prey from a distance instead of injecting them with fangs.

Spitting spiders have extra silk glands on their heads, a feature other spiders in Tennessee lack. These silk glands are what they use to shoot or “spit” toxic silk strands.

You can identify spitting spiders easily without any help. They have a light brown to yellow, dome-shaped head and cephalothorax, which are roughly the same size and covered in solid brown markings. These markings are present as bands on their legs.

While the toxic silk from these spiders is effective at immobilizing prey, it is harmless to humans. You can play with this spider without fear of injury.

It’s nice to keep as a pet, and you can have fun watching it hunt down prey.

Since this spider is a hunter, it has no need for webs. However, females usually spin silk cocoons, which they protect for as long as they can.

23. Spotted Orbweaver

Spotted Orbweaver (Neoscona crucifera) in its web in the dark in Sevierville, Tennessee, USA
A Spotted Orbweaver (Neoscona crucifera) in its web in the dark in Sevierville, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Araneidae
  • Scientific Name: Neoscona crucifera
  • Other Names: Barn Spider, Hentz Orb-weaver
  • Adult Size: Up to 0.75 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The spotted orb-weaver is a spiny, brown spider with a large, oval belly. The back of its abdomen is covered in dark spots and bears a zigzag pattern that’s hard to distinguish in adults.

You’ll find spotted orb-weavers in forests, bushes, shrublands, and gardens. They spin webs that are often as wide as two feet and sit in the center, waiting for prey to get stuck.

Spotted orb-weavers are primarily nocturnal, but you might also encounter them during the day. They feed on various arthropods, especially insects. Around the house, they serve as excellent pest controls.

Female spotted orb-weavers spin silk cocoons to protect their eggs. They guard these eggs in their nests until spiderlings emerge. In some cases, wasps and other large insects pick off spiderlings and use them to feed their own young.

You might find the spotted orb-weaver intimidating because spines cover nearly every part of its body. But there’s no reason to fear this arachnid. It rarely bites, and its venom is harmless to people.

24. Furrow Orbweaver

Furrow Orbweaver (Larinioides cornutus) in a corner at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Sevier County, Tennessee, USA
A Furrow Orbweaver (Larinioides cornutus) in a corner at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Sevier County, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Araneidae
  • Scientific Name: Larinioides cornutus
  • Other Names: Furrow Orb Spider, Furrow Spider, Foliate Spider
  • Adult Size: 0.4 to 0.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 Year
  • Average Price Range: N/A

Furrow orb-weavers get their names from the dominant pattern on the upper side of their massive bellies. This pattern has wavy lines that look like the serrated edges of leaves or the furrows left after plowing the soil.

The pattern on this spider’s belly is black, but the rest of the abdomen is brown and has an almost sandy appearance. It also has a reddish-brown carapace covered in flecks of white hair and spiny legs with light and dark bands.

You’ll usually find furrow orb-weavers in damp places, such as coastal forests and vegetation. But these spiders are also abundant around houses and other man-made structures.

These nocturnal spiders typically build their nests a few inches away from walls. You’ll usually spot their webs under porches and overhanging surfaces. Since they aren’t proper hunters, they rely on prey their nests trap for food.

Furrow orb-weavers are harmless to people. Bites are extremely rare, and their venom doesn’t have any lasting effect on humans.

25. Golden Jumping Spider

Golden Jumping Spider (Paraphidippus aurantius) walking down a long leaf on Tall Timber Trail, Tennessee, USA
A Golden Jumping Spider (Paraphidippus aurantius) walking down a long leaf on Tall Timber Trail, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Salticidae
  • Scientific Name: Paraphidippus aurantius
  • Other Names: Emerald Jumping Spider
  • Adult Size: 0.28 to 0.47 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The golden jumping spider is a brown jumper with light brown hair and a broad emerald green band in the middle of its carapace. The upper surface of its abdomen is also a shiny emerald green with pairs of dark spots.

You’ll also notice an orange band going around the anterior and sides of this specie’s abdomen. Like most of the body, the legs have a dark brown base color covered in white, orange, and light brown hair.

Golden jumping spiders are skilled hunters with excellent vision. They don’t build webs to trap their victims, prefer tracking and pouncing on them.

After killing an insect with venom, they eat it immediately or wrap it up to finish later.

You’ll find golden jumping spiders in various parts of Tennessee, such as woodlands and fields. You’ll also find many around man-made structures, where they usually hunt prey.

Golden jumping spiders are not aggressive, so they typically won’t bite you. Even if they do, their venom is mild and harmless.

26. Broad-faced Sac Spider

Broad-faced Sac Spider (Trachelas tranquillus) on a green leaf at Lake Darby, Ohio, USA
A Broad-faced Sac Spider (Trachelas tranquillus) on a green leaf at Lake Darby, Ohio, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Trachelidae
  • Scientific Name: Trachelas tranquillus
  • Other Names: Bullheaded Sac Spider, Sac Spider
  • Adult Size: 0.19 to 0.39 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Average Price Range: N/A

Indoor sightings of broad-faced sac spiders are common in the fall season when many arachnids migrate indoors to escape changing weather conditions. Outdoors, you’ll find these spiders in woodlands hiding under rocks and leaves.

Broad-faced sac spiders are nocturnal hunters, so they don’t use webs to trap prey. Besides hunting live arthropods, these spiders also feed on dead insects. This scavenging habit helps them survive during periods of food scarcity.

Although not medically significant per se, the venom of this spider can cause considerable pain.

In addition, its bites can result in tiny sores that may become infected, either by germs from the spider’s mouth. Remember that it eats dead organisms.

Thankfully, broad-faced sac spiders aren’t aggressive unless threatened, so bites are infrequent. But be careful when handling these spiders. Bite-related pain and swelling might last longer if you’re allergic to spider venom.

Broad-faced sac spiders are reddish-brown with a very dark carapace and grayish-brown belly. Although they lack noticeable patterns, their back has several puncture-like markings.

Their first leg pair is thick and dark reddish-brown, but this redness steadily lightens in the other legs.

27. Rabid Wolf Spider

Rabid Wolf Spider (Rabidosa rabida) on some leaves at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA
A Rabid Wolf Spider (Rabidosa rabida) on some leaves at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Lycosidae
  • Scientific Name: Rabidosa rabida
  • Other Names: Wolf Spider
  • Adult Size: 0.43 to 0.83 inches
  • Lifespan: Up to 2 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The rabid in this spider’s name comes from its slightly unhinged, erratic nature.

This fast-moving spider is an aggressive hunter that’s ruthless when attacking small arthropod prey. However, it is relatively docile around human beings.

Rabid wolf spiders will usually run if you threaten them. They only bite in self-defense when escape seems impossible, and this rarely ever happens. Thankfully, their venom isn’t toxic enough to harm you, but their bites can be painful.

You’ll find rabid wolf spiders outdoors in forests and woodlands. These spiders also sometimes wander indoors to search for food or to escape unfavorable weather.

The rabid wolf spider is a tan or light brown arachnid with a broad carapace. This carapace has a central light stripe bordered by solid brown stripes on either side. On the belly, the middle strip is wide and solid brown.

28. Triangulate Combfoot

Triangulate Combfoot (Steatoda triangulosa) on a light-colored surface in Collierville, Tennessee, USA
A Triangulate Combfoot (Steatoda triangulosa) on a light-colored surface in Collierville, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Theridiidae
  • Scientific Name: Steatoda triangulosa
  • Other Names: Triangulate Cobweb Spider, Triangulate Bug Spider
  • Adult Size: Up to 0.25 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 to 3 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The triangulate comb-foot is a cobweb spider in the same family as true and false widows. Its name comes from the pattern of triangles running down the center of its back.

This brown spider’s abdomen has pairs of wavy, dark brown lines. The lighter brown space between these lines forms its triangular pattern. You’ll also notice several small white blotches on the triangular patterns if you look closely.

Triangulate comb-foots are common indoors. They usually build their nests in wall and ceiling corners and other infrequently cleaned places. Like many spiders, they favor damp areas.

Triangulate cobweb spiders construct disorganized, sticky webs. However, these cobwebs are effective at catching prey. These spiders use vibratory signals to locate victims on their cobwebs before attacking them.

Triangulate cobweb spiders help control pests in the home, but their webs can be unpleasant to look at. You can get rid of these spiders if you want, but be careful when handling them.

Although triangulate comb-foots only bite in self-defense, their bites hurt. But you won’t experience any serious symptoms besides pain because their venom is mild.

29. Marbled Orbweaver

Marbled Orbweaver (Araneus marmoreus) on a dry leaf in Oneida, Tennessee, USA
A Marbled Orbweaver (Araneus marmoreus) on a dry leaf in Oneida, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Araneidae
  • Scientific Name: Araneus marmoreus
  • Other Names: Pumpkin Spider
  • Adult Size: 0.2 to 0.7 inches
  • Lifespan: Less than 1 year
  • Average Price Range: N/A

Marbled orb-weavers have massive orange abdomens with marble-like patterns, which is how they earned their name. The pattern on their belly is symmetrical and made up of yellow, cream, and dark brown or black markings.

The rest of this species’ body is pale orange, but the second half of its legs and fangs have dark bands. Like many orb-weavers in Tennessee, marbled orb-weavers have spiny legs and live in wheel-shaped nests.

You’ll typically encounter these arachnids in damp forests, woodlands, and prairies. They favor coastal areas, and you may find them at the banks of water sources like streams.

Marbled orb-weavers rely on their wheel-shaped nests to catch prey, but they don’t wait in the center like most orb-weavers. Instead, they conceal themselves in shelters made out of leaves and silk at the side of their webs.

These arachnids detect prey caught in their webs using a signal thread. They attach a thread to their nest’s center and extend it to their hidden shelter. When their web catches prey, this thread sends them vibratory signals.

Marbled orb-weavers don’t bite people except when frightened and unable to escape threats. Even then, the venom they produce is not strong enough to cause any real harm.

30. Green Lynx Spider

Green Lynx Spider (Peucetia viridans) on a yellow flower in Athens, Tennessee, USA
A Green Lynx Spider (Peucetia viridans) on a yellow flower in Athens, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Oxyopidae
  • Scientific Name: Peucetia viridans
  • Other Names: Lynx Spider
  • Adult Size: 0.47 to 0.63 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Average Price Range: N/A

You’ll usually find green lynx spiders in farms, gardens, and shrublands, where their bright green bodies help them conceal themselves openly on green plants.

These predatory arachnids primarily feed on insects, serving as excellent controls of crop-destroying pests. Sadly, they also prey on useful insects like butterflies and bees.

Green lynx spiders are skilled hunters, so they don’t need to build intricate nests to catch prey. But they use silk to spin cocoons for their eggs. Females protect their egg sacs fiercely.

These spiders also spin silk draglines to aid them when jumping. The lynx in their name comes from their habit of sneaking up on and pouncing on their victims like cats.

Green lynx spiders are harmless spiders. They are swift on their feet and often run when they feel threatened. If one bites you in self-defense, there’s no cause for alarm. Their venom is medically insignificant.

The body of this species is bright green and lacks prominent markings, save for the light chevron patterns on the back of its abdomen.

31. American Green Crab Spider

American Green Crab Spider (Misumessus oblongus) on rotting wood in Collierville, Tennessee, USA
An American Green Crab Spider (Misumessus oblongus) on rotting wood in Collierville, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Thomisidae
  • Scientific Name: Misumessus oblongus
  • Other Names: Foliage Flower Crab Spider, Ridge-Faced Flower Crab Spider
  • Adult Size: 0.12 to 0.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 Year
  • Average Price Range: N/A

American green crab spiders come in green, white, or yellow colors.

Their name comes from their physical resemblance to crabs. Like crabs, their first pair of legs are larger than the rest and often held outward in front.

This spider’s abdomen is oval or kite-shaped, but it is wider at the rear than the waist. Depending on the individual, this arachnid may or may not sport a red band on either side of its abdomen.

You’ll usually find American green crab spiders on flowers, where their green color provides excellent camouflage. They wait on these flowers for insects, which they ambush and kill.

American green crab spiders do not build webs, but females spin silk cocoons around their eggs. They are protective of their eggs for as long as possible. Sadly, they often die before the eggs hatch into spiderlings.

This species is harmless to humans.

32. Spined Micrathena

Spined Micrathena (Micrathena gracilis) hanging from its web in Luttrell, Tennessee, USA
A Spined Micrathena (Micrathena gracilis) hanging from its web in Luttrell, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Araneidae
  • Scientific Name: Micrathena gracilis
  • Other Names: Castleback Orb-weaver
  • Adult Size: 0.2 to 0.4 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The spined micrathena is closely related to the arrow-shaped spider and is one of the more peculiar orb-weavers in Tennessee. Its abdomen has a row of large spikes or pointed tubercles lining its upper edges.

The spikes on this spider are dark brown to black, but the rest of the belly is whitish with dark patches. Its legs and carapace are black or dark brown. Unlike females, males have fewer spikes and are more white than dark.

While the function of the spiny protrusions on this spider is not certain, the prevalent theory is that they help deter predators from attacking them. The coloration of this spider also helps conceal it in dense forests where only a little light gets through.

Castleback orb-weavers build spiral nests and sit in the middle, waiting for insects and other small arthropods. When insects get caught in their nests, these spiders swoop in to paralyze them with venom.

These arachnids can look daunting because of their unusual appearance, but they can’t harm you. They rarely bite people, and their venom is mild.

33. Common House Spider

Common House Spider (Parasteatoda tepidariorum) in its web in South Cleveland, Tennessee, USA
A Common House Spider (Parasteatoda tepidariorum) in its web in South Cleveland, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Theridiidae
  • Scientific Name: Parasteatoda tepidariorum
  • Other Names: American House Spider
  • Adult Size: 0.15 to 0.24 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Average Price Range: N/A

Most common house spiders you’ll encounter, you’ll discover at home.

These brown spiders have bulbous bellies mottled with black spots and usually live in undisturbed parts of houses. They favor corners and window sills, but you can find them almost anywhere.

American house spiders are cobweb spiders, which means they are related to black widows. Fortunately, these spiders are harmless compared to widows. Their bites only trigger mild symptoms and never require medical attention.

Besides the messy webs these arachnids build, these spiders can be beneficial at home. Pesky insects like mosquitoes and other spiders, including widows, make the bulk of their diet.

These arachnids can sit still in their sticky webs for long periods, waiting for prey to enter their nests. When insects get stuck, common house spiders detect them via vibratory signals and swoop in to inject them with venom.

34. White-jawed Jumping Spider

White-jawed Jumping Spider (Hentzia mitrata) on a black surface in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
A White-jawed Jumping Spider (Hentzia mitrata) on a black surface in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Salticidae
  • Scientific Name: Hentzia mitrata
  • Other Names: Crowned Hentzian Jumping Spider, Jumping Spider
  • Adult Size: 0.16 to 0.17 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The white-jawed jumping spider is a hairy jumper with a yellow-orange carapace and a wide, yellow-orange band running along the middle of its abdomen. White hairs cover its jaws and the rest of its body.

You’ll usually find this species outdoors, jumping restlessly from one surface to the next. It favors coastal areas and stays on vertical surfaces like tree barks. In residential areas, you’ll usually find it on poles and fences.

This agile spider has excellent vision and strong fangs. It is an adept hunter that doesn’t build entrapments for prey. Instead, it prefers going after its victims and paralyzing them with its venom.

White-jawed jumping spiders are safe to handle—if you can catch them. These lively arachnids rarely bite, and their venom is not toxic to humans.

35. Ravine Trapdoor Spider

Ravine Trapdoor Spider (Cyclocosmia truncata) on a leaf in someones hands in Tennessee, USA
A Ravine Trapdoor Spider (Cyclocosmia truncata) on a leaf in someones hands in Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Halonoproctidae
  • Scientific Name: Cyclocosmia truncata
  • Other Names: Trapdoor Spider
  • Adult Size: 0.75 to 1.2 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 to 12 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The ravine trapdoor spider is a rare burrowing arachnid in Tennessee.

You’ll usually find it in ravines in the state. That’s why it’s called a “ravine” spider. It lives in tunnels on the sloping banks of rivers and streams.

This dark brown spider has a hard, round carapace and thick short legs. However, what stands out about this species is the odd shape of its belly.

The belly looks abruptly chopped off, and it has several narrow grooves running towards its disc-shaped rear. Viewed from behind, the rear of this arachnid looks like a disc or round shield.

At the rear, all the grooves converge into a pattern at the center of the disc. This pattern looks like a crown.

Ravine trapdoor spiders are ambush hunters, so they don’t need webs to catch prey. They spend most of their time in their vertical burrows when not hunting.

As their name suggests, they use silk trapdoors to cover their burrow entrance.

When a predator chases a ravine spider into its burrow, the spider runs head-first, so only its disc-shaped rear faces the predator.

The disc is tough and fits tightly into the spider’s tunnel, so predators have difficulty pulling out the spider.

Despite how ravine spiders look, they are harmless to humans. Their venom has low toxicity, so bites don’t require medical attention.

36. Banana Spider

Banana Spider (Trichonephila clavipes) on its large web in Cleveland, Tennessee, USA
A Banana Spider (Trichonephila clavipes) on its large web in Cleveland, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Araneidae
  • Scientific Name: Trichonephila clavipes
  • Other Names: Calico Spider, Golden Silk Orb-weaver, Golden Orb-weaver, Golden Silk Spider, Giant Golden Orb-weaver
  • Adult Size: 1 to 1.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The banana spider is an orb-weaver with a long, slender abdomen shaped like a banana. The abdomen is usually golden-yellow and covered in hundreds of tiny white markings.

Although the carapace is covered in grayish-white hair with black spots, the rest of this spider’s body is reddish-brown. The legs are long with alternating yellow and reddish-brown bands. Most of the reddish-brown bands wrap the joints and bear hairy tufts.

Banana spiders build large, spiral webs to catch flying insects and other arthropods. You’ll often find their nests anchored between tree branches in forests and woodlands.

Like most orb-weavers, they rely on vibratory signals to detect prey on their webs.

Banana spiders are possibly the largest orb-weaving spiders in Tennessee and most of North America. They rarely bite, and the venom they produce doesn’t cause any serious symptoms.

Male banana spiders are tiny compared to females, so there are easy to miss. Unlike most orb-weavers in Tennessee, female banana spiders sometimes reside with multiple males in their nests outside mating seasons.

37. Red-femured Spotted Orbweaver

Red-femured Spotted Orbweaver (Neoscona domiciliorum) hanging from its web in Sumner County, Tennessee, USA
A Red-femured Spotted Orbweaver (Neoscona domiciliorum) hanging from its web in Sumner County, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Araneidae
  • Scientific Name: Neoscona domiciliorum
  • Other Names: Barn Spider, Spotted Orb-weaver, Hentz Orb-weaver
  • Adult Size: 0.28 to 0.63 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The red-femured spotted orb-weaver is a close relative of the spotted orb-weaver. Virtually every part of its body is covered in thick spines, and its back bears several dark spots.

Unlike the spotted orb-weaver, the abdominal pattern of this species is clear in most individuals. The center of the abdomen is white or cream-colored, and a wide, black band with wavy edges runs down on either side.

White hair bristles cover the carapace of this spider. Each leg’s first half (femur) is reddish-brown, while the second half has alternating white and black bands.

You’ll usually find red-femured spotted orb-weavers in damp, vegetation-rich places like gardens, forests, and woodlands. Sometimes, their ranges overlap with ordinary spotted orb-weavers.

Both species are usually easy to tell apart, but differentiating them can become tricky when dealing with red-femured orb-weavers that have lost most of their sharp coloring.

These nocturnal spiders consume arthropods trapped in their nests.

After killing their victims, they either consume them immediately or wrap them in silk to eat later. Their bite is harmless to humans.

38. Basilica Orbweaver

Basilica Orbweaver (Mecynogea lemniscata) in it web at Radnor Lake State Park, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
A Basilica Orbweaver (Mecynogea lemniscata) in it web at Radnor Lake State Park, Nashville, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Araneidae
  • Scientific Name: Mecynogea lemniscata
  • Other Names: Basilica Orb-weaver
  • Adult Size: 0.19 to 0.35 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The basilica orb-weaver is a small spider with a large, multicolored belly.

While the sides are mostly black and green with white and yellow spots, the back has irregular white, yellow, brown, black, and orange line patterns. The carapace is brown with a black stripe at the center and edges.

Basilica orb-weavers are hard to mistake for other spiders because of their coloration. You’ll typically encounter them in woodlands and places rich with vegetation.

While their webs are orb-shaped, they spin their nests horizontally and elevate the center to resemble a pointed dome.

These arachnids usually anchor their dome-shaped webs above plants and spend much time near them. Like other orb-weavers, they rely on the arthropods their nests catch for nutrition.

Most orb-weavers eat their webs and rebuild them every day to repair damages. Basilica orb-weavers do not. If their nest is damaged, they fix the damaged spots.

They build a new one above the old one if they can’t fix the damages. Basilica orb-weavers are harmless to humans.

39. Bowl and Doily Spider

A Bowl-and-doily Spider (Frontinella pyramitela) in its web in Union County, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Linyphiidae
  • Scientific Name: Frontinella pyramitela
  • Other Names: Sheet-weavers
  • Adult Size: Up to 0.15 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The bowl and doily spider builds a large, intricate nest consisting of a bowl-shaped web and a flat, doily-like sheet under. While the nest it creates is not sticky, it is excellent at catching flying insects.

Most bowl and doily spiders anchor their nests to trees or tree branches in forests and woodlands. The top of the bowl has an area of thickened silk that insects often crash into while flying.

The interruption in their flight makes the insects fall into the bowl, where an eager bowl and doily spider waits to consume them. The spider first paralyzes its victims with venom before eating them.

Like other orb-weavers, female bowl and doily spiders are the dominant sex. Most bowl and doily spiders you’ll find in webs are females. But it’s also common to see nests hosting male and female doily spiders outside mating seasons.

Living together doesn’t necessarily make male and female bowl and doily spiders buddies. For example, when insects fall into their nests, both sexes often compete against each other for food.

These spiders are harmless to humans.

40. Woodlouse Hunter

Woodlouse Spider (Dysdera crocata) on a mossy surface in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
A Woodlouse Spider (Dysdera crocata) on a mossy surface in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Dysderidae
  • Scientific Name: Dysdera crocata
  • Other Names: Woodlouse Spider, Sowbug Hunter, Slater Spider, Long-Fanged Ground Spider, Roly-Poly Hunter, Sowbug Killer, Pillbug Hunter, Cell Spider,  Orange Spider
  • Adult Size: 0.35 to 0.59 inches
  • Lifespan: 3 to 4 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

At first glance, you might mistake a woodlouse hunter for a broad-faced sac spider.

Both are hunters, and both have reddish, patternless bodies. But you can tell both species apart if you look closely.

For starters, woodlouse hunters have six eyes, while broad-faced sac spiders have eight. The eyes of broad-faced sac spiders are also widely spaced, while woodlouse hunters’ eyes have a circular arrangement.

You’ll usually find woodlouse spiders in moist places, such as forests and gardens. They hide under rocks, leaf litter, decaying logs, and flower pots. Although you might find them indoors, these spiders are more outdoorsy.

Woodlouse spiders have long, sharp fangs to pierce and inject prey with venom. Their name comes from their favorite prey—woodlouse. In addition to woodlouse, these spiders eat other arthropods, including other spiders.

These arachnids are venomous, but you’ll only experience mild symptoms if one bites you. Be careful around them, but don’t let them scare you.

Frequently Asked Questions

You probably still have questions about spiders in Tennessee. Read on to find the answers to your most pressing questions.

What do spiders in Tennessee eat?

Spiders primarily eat insects, but they feed on other arthropods too. Cannibalism is common among several species, especially after mating. Females are usually the ones cannibalizing males.

Besides arthropods, some species eat other animals like tiny fish and tadpoles. Fishing spiders are among such spiders.

Do spiders in Tennessee have good eyesight?

Some spiders in Tennessee have excellent vision, while others don’t.

Spiders with good eyesight are usually hunters like jumping spiders and crab spiders. Since they don’t trap prey with webs, they need their eyes to locate prey.

Web-builders often have poor vision, but their eyes are good motion sensors. They make do by relying on vibratory signals on their webs to locate prey and escape predators.

Where can I find spiders in Tennessee?

You’ll find spiders almost anywhere you look in Tennessee.

Some species like common house spiders and daddy longlegs are abundant indoors. If you’re looking for more variety, consider checking your garden or nearby forests.

Are there any poisonous spiders in Tennessee?

Tennessee is home to dozens of venomous spiders.

Thankfully, most only have mild venoms and don’t cause any real harm when they bite. The only spiders you should worry about are black widows and brown recluses.

Can a spider bite kill you?

Yes. Some spiders produce venom toxic enough to kill people. Black widows are the only spiders in Tennessee that can kill with their bites. Fortunately, people rarely die from black widow spider bites.

While black widows produce venoms that can kill, the quantity they inject into human beings isn’t enough to kill most people. Symptoms like difficulty breathing, nausea, and muscle stiffness are common.

But death usually only happens if your immune system is weak due to age or illness.

What is the deadliest spider in Tennessee?

The northern and southern black widows are the deadliest spiders in Tennessee. They are also among the deadliest in the world.

Although their bites aren’t always lethal, there’s always that possibility, especially if your immune system is compromised. Their venom is, after all, several times deadlier than a rattlesnake’s.

Are there brown recluses in Tennessee?

Yes. Tennessee is home to some brown recluse populations.

However, you won’t come across these spiders as often as you will other species. That’s largely due to their small populations and reclusive nature.

Are there jumping spiders in Tennessee?

Yes. Tennessee is home to various types of jumping spiders. Well-known species in the state include the bold jumper and tan jumper.

Are there tarantulas in Tennessee?

Tennessee isn’t home to any known tarantula species. Tarantulas you come across in the state are likely exotic species brought in from other states.

Are Tennessee tarantulas poisonous?

Tarantulas are generally venomous spiders, and the bites they inflict can be painful. But they usually aren’t deadly, so symptoms often clear up on their own.

Sadly, these fine, hairy spiders aren’t native to Tennessee.

Is it legal to own a pet spider in Tennessee?

Yes. It’s legal to keep spiders in Tennessee. If you choose to keep pet spiders, you’ll find many exciting and stunning species to choose from in the state.

Spiders are pretty low-maintenance compared to other conventional pets, so you shouldn’t have difficulty caring for them. You can keep most species in a ventilated enclosure and provide them with insects.

Species with mild venom are the easiest spiders to care for. While deadly spiders like black widows also make beautiful pets, be careful not to mishandle them.

Species like the brown recluse are more tricky because of the risk of developing wounds. You should avoid them.

How many species of spiders are there in Tennessee?

The number of unique spiders in Tennessee is not clear. Estimates put it at around 40 to 50. Some put it at over a hundred.

Regardless, only around 30 to 40 species are common or confirmed. The rest are pretty hard to come by.

What are the most common spiders in Tennessee?

Orb-weaving spiders are most likely the most abundant spiders in Tennessee. This family contains dozens of stunning spiders with unique physical features and behaviors. 

Wrapping up

Tennesse is home to a diverse collection of spiders.

You’ll find everything from harmless to deadly spiders in the state, but this diversity is good. Even deadly spiders play important ecological roles and should be left alone if they aren’t causing any problems.

Only a handful of spiders in Tennessee are of medical importance. Besides black widows and recluses, the majority of the spiders in the state aren’t a cause for concern. Most species rarely, if ever, bite.

Spiders consume plenty of insects and can help you control pests in your home and garden. However, if your home is at risk of being overrun by these critters, it makes sense to remove them.

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