Animals

10 Spiders Crawling Around Jacksonville

Jacksonville is known for its incredible wildlife, offering more than just a bustling city experience. While you might expect to see whales, dolphins, and sharks along the coastline or catch a glimpse of bald eagles and ospreys soaring in the sky, another much smaller creature calls this city home: spiders. They might not be as majestic as alligators or as playful as otters, but spiders are an integral part of Jacksonville’s ecosystem.

There are various kinds of spiders living in Jacksonville. Let’s explore the fascinating lives of Jacksonville’s spiders, from the timid ones who lurk in corners to the ferocious ones that build webs in your lawn!

Venomous Spiders in Jacksonville
1. Brown Recluse Spider (Loxosceles reclusa)

The brown recluse spider is not native to Florida. In Jacksonville, though, they have been discovered and occasionally establish colonies. The brown recluse is one among these.

When its legs are included, a fully mature brown recluse typically measures around the size of a quarter. These spiders’ legs and abdomen are solidly colored, devoid of any markings, and their hue ranges from tan to dark brown. They have thin, hairless legs with no discernible spines.

Typically, brown recluse spiders prefer to reside in tiny gaps beneath dead tree bark, wooden planks, or boulders. These spiders like dry, warm areas to build their nests. They eat soft insects, including as flies, moths, roaches, and crickets. Curiously, they have a reputation for eating one another.

Instead of trapping their food in webs like some spiders do, brown recluses hunt at night.

Even though their venom is extremely dangerous, humans are usually not severely harmed by it because they inject so little of it. Having said that, an enzyme in the venom destroys blood arteries and kills adjacent cells. So, if you spot this spider, it’s best to stay away from it!

2. Southern Black Widow (Latrodectus mactans)

Jacksonville is among the four varieties of black widow spiders that have made Florida their home. The southern black widow is the most well-known of them. The fact that these spiders consume their spouses after mating accounts for the term “black widow.”

The upper side of the spherical abdomen of female southern black widows is decorated with red dots that contrast with their glossy black bodies. Additionally, these spiders bear the well-known red, hourglass-shaped pattern on the underside of their abdomen. Male spiders, on the other hand, have flatter abdomens with white and red dots.

Females have a body length of 0.31 to 0.5 inches and a maximum length of 1.37 inches when counting the legs. Males are much smaller than females.

These spiders are typically found outdoors in rodent burrows, vacant tree trunks, and piles of rocks or wood. But they also frequent less-used spaces like basements, sheds, and garages. Their primary food source is insects, including beetles, grasshoppers, ants, and caterpillars.

Even though black widow venom is very strong, a bite may not hurt too much at first. It hurts even more an hour or two later. Some may even get tingling or discomfort down their spine that is related to nerves. Muscle spasms, excruciating pain, sweating, convulsions, and nausea are further symptoms.

3. Red Widow (Latrodectus bishopi)

Some areas of Florida are home to the red widow spider.

Its body is composed of a reddish-orange colored head, thorax, and legs, with a black abdomen. On its back, this spider typically has a few tiny red spots with a white border around each one.

The size of a female red widow is around half an inch, with a leg span that can range from half an inch to two inches. In contrast, men are noticeably smaller.

Only sandy, arid environments, such as Florida’s flatwoods and scrub, are home to these spiders. They prefer scarab beetles in particular, but they mostly eat large insects like flies and crickets.

Red widows are similarly poisonous as their black widow cousins. People are especially vulnerable to the venom of female red widows, which can result in chronic muscle spasms. Males, on the other hand, are less dangerous because they often do not bite humans.

4. Brown Widow (Latrodectus geometricus)

The brown widow is another poisonous spider that can be found in Jacksonville.

Brown widows feature a mixture of tan, brown, and black hues, whereas black widows are predominantly black and red. Mature females frequently have three angled lines on each side of their abdomen in addition to a single stripe that runs down it.

When their legs are outstretched, female brown widows measure approximately 1 to 1.5 inches in length, but males are significantly smaller.

These spiders like to nest in trees and shrubs or in peaceful, protected areas close to homes.

Insects and whatever else they manage to trap in their webs are the main foods of brown widow spiders. They ensnare their prey with sticky silk, inject venom, and then devour them.

Though they share the same venom as their black widow relatives, brown widows often pose less of a threat to people. Brown widows release less venom when they bite, but it is still just as strong. It is important to note that young and male brown widows do not bite at all; only mature female brown widows present a risk of biting.

5. Northern Black Widow (Latrodectus variolus)

Situated throughout Florida, the northern black widow is infamous for its deadly nature.

These spiders have glossy black bodies with a distinctive red pattern on the base of the abdomen that resembles an incomplete hourglass. The marking can also change with age; on top of the abdomen, it may occasionally have a sequence of reddish-orange patches.

The body length of a female spider is around 0.5 inches, or 1 ½ inches when their legs are included. In contrast, males of this species of widow spider are smaller.

These spiders create complex, three-dimensional webs, and they like enclosed, dark spaces with many of web anchors. In addition to natural habitats, man-made features such as woodpiles, culverts, and stone walls can harbor northern black widow spiders.

As expert predators, they mostly eat live insects, other spiders, arthropods, and occasionally even other creatures from their own species.

The northern black widow is just as poisonous as the other black widows we’ve talked about. It’s important to remember that they are shy due to their cautious nature and that they hardly ever bite people. Nevertheless, you should always proceed with caution if you come across these poisonous spiders.

Savannah’s Non-Dangerous Spiders

Let’s examine a few of Jacksonville’s common non-venomous spiders.

6. Carolina Wolf Spider (Hogna carolinensis)

One of the biggest spider species in Jacksonville and the US is the Carolina wolf spider.

Its unusual eye arrangement comprises eight eyeballs in total—four little eyes on the bottom row, two enormous eyes in the center, and a final pair of medium-sized eyes on the top row—and measures between three and four inches. Their color could be medium brown or brownish-gray.

Carolina wolf spiders burrow in the ground, unlike many other spiders that spin webs. Their native habitats include neighborhood gardens, coastal forests, and arid, shrubby places. Their main food sources are other spiders and ground-dwelling invertebrates including beetles, grasshoppers, and cockroaches.

Despite their large size and potential threat, Carolina wolf spiders rarely hurt humans. They are not toxic, though an allergic reaction to their venom is conceivable but uncommon. Because of the spider’s size, a bite could hurt, but minor pain, temporary swelling, and itching normally go away fast. Despite its frightening appearance, a bite from a Carolina wolf spider is typically no more harmful than a bee sting, so don’t panic!

7. Bold Jumping Spider (Phidippus audax)

In Jacksonville, one can frequently see jumping spiders. The bold jumping spider is one of the many species that live in Florida.

These tiny, fluffy arachnids have tiny white hairs all over their black bodies. Their abdomen has distinct patterns, and their main body is sturdy, round, and raised. They are distinguished by a sizable white triangle with two smaller spots surrounding it in the center of their abdomen. Their eight eyes are one of their most striking features. They have a more humanoid appearance because to the notably huge eyes in one pair. These little spiders have a length of just 0.5 inches.

These nimble spiders are frequently found in a variety of outdoor environments, including farms, meadows, and open spaces.

These lone hunters hunt with their extraordinary vision. They eat a wide variety of things, such as grasshoppers, other spiders, and insects like caterpillars and dragonflies.

When enlarged, leaping spiders can appear somewhat menacing, although they are completely harmless to humans. If you come upon one, don’t worry—they aren’t poisonous.

8. Spiny Orb Weaver (Gasteracantha cancriformis)

Jacksonville is home to wolf and jumping spiders, among other kinds of orb weavers. Among them, the spiny orb weaver is the most famous spider.

The six needle-like projections on the abdomen of these spiders make them easy to identify. It’s typical to refer to these extensions as spines. Their legs and bodies are mostly black, with the bottom of their abdomens decorated with white spots. The upper side of their abdomen is usually white in Florida, with black spots and red, prickly spines.

The size of spiky orb weavers can vary from 0.06 to 0.38 inches.

These unusual spiders are frequently seen hanging out on shrubs and trees close to residences or at plant nurseries, particularly in regions with citrus trees. They mostly feed on little insects that become entangled in their complex webs.

People are not harmed by orb weavers. Although they technically possess venom, it is insufficient to harm people and is primarily useful for immobilizing their small victims.

9. Common House Spider (Parasteatoda tepidariorum)

In Jacksonville, as well as the rest of the United States, one can frequently see common house spiders.

The majority of these spiders have a brown appearance, yet some may have white or brown markings on their abdomen. The legs of house spiders are yellowish in color in females and somewhat orange in males. Usually, there are noticeable black stripes on the legs.

The average house spider’s diameter is less than a quarter of an inch. Furthermore, female house spiders are larger than males, as is the case with most spider species.

These spiders can be found in a wide range of locations, including yards and gardens as well as interior areas like attics and basements. They also frequently visit structures like sheds and barns. They mostly consume household insects including flies, ants, and mosquitoes.

Although these spiders are technically poisonous, humans are not in any danger from them as their venom only affects their victims.

10. American Nursery Web Spider (Pisaurina mira)

American nursery web spiders are commonly confused for their wolf spider counterparts in Jacksonville.

While female nursery web spiders can grow to about three-quarters of an inch in length, males are only around one-third of an inch. Their substantial legs are not included in this image. On the front portion of their bodies, they frequently have two distinct, dark stripes. These spiders have a lifespan of around a year and can have colors ranging from a pale yellow to a rich reddish-brown.

American nursery web spiders are hunters on the move, unlike the spiders you would be accustomed to seeing around your house. They are frequently spotted near vegetation or water sources. They can be found in meadows and woodland regions alike. Still, the areas where the woodlands give way to pastures are especially rich in them. Small insects like flies, mosquitoes, and even tadpoles make up the majority of their diet!

Despite their huge size and potentially intimidating appearance, nursery web spiders are not a serious hazard to humans or animals. Conversely, they are useful predators of a variety of bothersome insects in outdoor areas such as farms and gardens. Though officially venomous, American nursery spiders’ poison isn’t potent enough to harm humans or even domesticated animals.

Overview of the Spiders Crawling Around Jacksonville

Spider Scientific Name Venomous?
Brown Recluse Spider Loxosceles reclusa Yes
Southern Black Widow Latrodectus mactans Yes
Red Widow Latrodectus bishopi Yes
Brown Widow Latrodectus geometricus Yes
Northern Black Widow Latrodectus variolus Yes
Carolina Wolf Spider Hogna carolinensis Yes, but not dangerous to humans
Bold Jumping Spider Phidippus audax No
Spiny Orb Weaver Gasteracantha cancriformis Yes, but not dangerous to humans
Common House Spider Parasteatoda tepidariorum Yes, but not dangerous to humans
American Nursery Web Spider Pisaurina mira Yes, but not dangerous to humans