Spiders in Pennsylvania can be found in many habitats ranging from lawns and under rocks to the basement and cellars of your home. While most spiders look scary and can give you the creepy-crawlies, a lot of them prefer to stay away from you and don’t deliver medically-dangerous bites. However, it’s still good to know about the common species you can find in the state and recognize the more dangerous ones. Let’s learn more about 10 common spiders in Pennsylvania.
10 common spiders in Pennsylvania
Here are 10 common spiders you can find throughout the state of Pennsylvania.
1. Wolf spider
Scientific family: Lycosidae
Wolf spiders are scary dark brown spiders with gray hairs that you can often see around your home during June or July when the eggs are newly hatched. These spiders even sometimes carry their babies on their back, similar to scorpions. Although they are venomous, they only bite if they get trapped next to your skin, such as in your shoe. Their venom isn’t very harmful, leading to redness, swelling, and mild pain that usually subsides quickly.
2. Grass spider
Scientific family: Agelenidae
The typical grass spider is a very common species of spider in Pennsylvania that makes their web in weeds and grass or other groundcovers such as periwinkle and ivy. If you look out onto your lawn and see webs everywhere on a dewy morning, it’s typically grass spiders. You can identify their webs from the cone-like or funnel shape they hide in.
These spiders are shy and less likely to bite you. They prefer to run away and hide. But if you do get bitten, it usually leads to minor pain, itching, redness, and slight swelling.
3. Common house spider
Scientific name: Parasteatoda tepidariorum
As their name suggests, the common house spider can be abundant in your home. They are typically the culprits for multiple empty webs scattered in different areas since they often abandon their webs to create new ones. You can find these spiders in damp areas such as basements or crawl spaces as well as on windows and wall corners.
4. Giant lichen orb weaver
Scientific name: Araneus Bicentenarius
The giant lichen orb weaver can be found anywhere in Pennsylvania woods on trees with a fungus called lichen. However, they are nocturnal and will be hiding from predators, such as birds, during the day. Orb weavers build beautiful-looking webs with their non-sticky silk. It typically radiates from the center into a circular shape looking similar to a bicycle wheel.
5. Trapdoor spider
Scientific family: Ctenizidae
These dark brown or reddish-brown spiders have shiny heads and hairy abdomen. Instead of creating webs like most spiders, they build underground tunnels. They get their name from the silk they place at the opening of their tunnels that resembles a trapdoor. With their large fangs and speed, they chase and snatch prey once it gets close to the “trapdoor.”
6. Black widow spider
Scientific genus: Latrodectus
The black widow spider gets their name from the fact females often kill and eat males after mating. These spiders are native to Pennsylvania and will live anywhere that is an undisturbed location, including in barns or garages and under stumps or stones.
You’ll want to watch out for the distinctive red hourglass pattern on the female’s black rounded abdomen because these spiders have strong venom. In fact, they are the most venomous common spiders in Pennsylvania. If bitten, you can develop various symptoms, including:
- Tingling along your nerves
- High blood pressure
- Fevers and chills
- Burning sensation on your skin
- Muscle pain
- Breathing problems
7. Daring jumping spider
Scientific name: Phidippus audax
Also known as the bold jumper, the daring jumping spider is one of Pennsylvania’s multiple common jumping spider species. As their name suggests, they have the amazing ability to jump at you or out of the way when they feel threatened. They only make webs to protect their eggs and sometimes spin one strand of silk as a safety measure when they make their daring jumps. They are also very small spiders growing around 0.15 to 0.5 inches long.
8. Cellar spider
Scientific family: Pholcidae
Sometimes called daddy long legs, the cellar spider is identifiable by their tiny bodies with extremely long legs. Not only are they found throughout Pennsylvania, but they are the most common species in the U.S.
With their bodies and mouth being so small, they are not known for biting humans and are typically very harmless. You can find these spiders hanging out in dark, quiet areas such as cellars and basements. However, they sometimes wander around the house, including onto kitchen cupboards and in bathrooms.
9. Running crab spider
Scientific family: Philodromidae
Running crab spiders are hunters that rely on camouflage to hide before running very fast to catch their prey. They only build webs for their egg sacs. Interestingly enough, these spiders can regrow their legs if they ever lose one.
Although low-risk, their bites are painful and can lead to swelling. On rare occasions, people also experience inflammation, headaches, vomiting, or irregular pulse rates.
10. Black and yellow garden spider
Scientific name: Argiope aurantia
A common spider in your garden, the black and yellow garden spider, is one of the most recognizable species in the state. They are known for their beautiful webs that have a unique zig-zag pattern in the center to help protect and camouflage them. The theory is predators are less likely to run into their webs and destroy it when they see the zig-zag marking. Generally harmless to humans, these spiders have bites that feel similar to bee stings.