COMMON SYNANTHROPIC SPIDERS IN CALIFORNIA

Aphonopelma spp.
Family Theraphosidae
"Tarantula"

All of California's native tarantulas are in the genus Aphonopelma.  They often are found in pool filters.  The females live in burrows and are occasionally dug up in gardens.  Males are often seen wandering in search of females in the fall.


Photos
top
© Will Chatfield-Taylor HAVE PERMISSION
bottom © Robyn Waayers HAVE PERMISSION
aphonopelmaaphonopelma
Calisoga longitarsus
Family Nemesiidae
"Calisoga spider," "False tarantula."

"I can't believe it's not a tarantula!"  Often mistaken for a tarantula, Calisoga  is smaller and unable to climb smooth surfaces.  Very frequently encountered in the Oakland hills. There is considerable variation in color and form. The similar Calisoga thevenetti is less frequently seen.  As with tarantulas, the spiders are usually safely hidden in their burrows, and wandering males are the most likely to be encountered.

NB.  Platnick (2006) does not accept the transfer of C. longitarsus to the genus Calisoga for procedural reasons.  He lists it under its previous genus name, Brachythele.  However, it is widely accepted that Brachythele  is an old-world genus, and that that North American spiders described as Brachythele  are correctly placed in Callisoga.

Photos cc Stephen Lew Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5
calisogacalisoga
Dysdera crocata
Family Dysderidae
"Sow-bug killer"

A mediterranean invasive, this spider is usually found under wood or bark.

Photo cc Peter J. DeVries Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5
dysdera
Pholcus phalangioides
Family Pholcidae
"Daddy long-legs," "cellar spider"

The common synanthropic cellar spiders in California are European invasives, native pholcids are much smaller.  Pholcus can be distinguished from Holocnemus by the grey/brown concolorous abdomen.  Their webs are irregular tangles.

Photo © Jerome Rovner HAVE PERMISSION
pholcus

Holocnemus pluchei
Family Pholcidae
"Daddy long-legs," "Marbled cellar spider"

The common synanthropic cellar spiders in California are European invasives, native pholcids are much smaller.  Holocnemus can be distinguished from Pholcus  by the "marbled" pattern on the abdomens.  Their webs are irregular tangles.

Photo © I. R. Lindsey NEED PERMISSION
holocnemus
Latrodectus hesperus
Family Theridiidae
"Black widow"

This is the only spider that you are likely to encounter in California whose venom is medically significant.  The red hour-glass may be yellow or orange, and may not actually be shaped like an hourglass.  Males and immature females are not solid black, and have attractive marble-like patterns on their abdomens.  Makes a typical theridiid tangle web.

Photo © Bryan E. Reynolds NEED PERMISSION
latrodectus
Steatoda grossa
Family Theridiidae
"False black widow"

Another European invasive, this spider seems to be displacing our native black widows in urban areas.  This spider is roughly the same size and shape as a black widow, but is brown with a faint purple sheen.  Makes a typical theridiid tangle web.

Photos
Top
© Jim Berrian HAVE PERMISSION
Bottom © Cheryl Moorehead  HAVE PERMISSION
steatoda
steatoda
Achearanea tepediorum
Family Theridiidae
"American house spider"

A common invasive, believed to be from South America.  Makes a typical theridiid tangle web.

Photo © Tom Adams  HAVE PERMISSION
Achearanea

Araneus diadematus
Family Araneidae
"Cross orbweaver," "Garden spider"

Another European invasive, this spider can become quite imposing in size and density in the late fall.  Makes a large vertical orb-web.

Photo © Diogo Verissomo HAVE PERMISSION
diadematus
Cyclosa conica
Family Araneidae
"Trashline orbweaver"

This orbweaver decorates its vertical orb web with a line of debris, in which are hidden the spider and eggsacs.

Photo cc Stephen Lew Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5
cyclosa
Argiope argentata
Family Araneidae
"Silver garden spider," "Silver argiope"

Common in gardens, makes an orb web with shiny, radiating "stabilimenta" (sing. stabilimentum).

Argiope argentata pictures:
CalPhotos     BugGuide

Photo cc Sean McCann

Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial 1.0 HAVE PERMISSION

A artentata
Argiope aurantia
Family Araneidae
Yellow garden spider, "Yellow argiope"

Common in gardens, makes an orb web with shiny, radiating "stabilimenta" (sing. stabilimentum).

Photo by Jo-Ann Ordano
© California Academy of Sciences HAVE PERMISSION
a aurantia
Argiope trifasciata
Family Araneidae
"Banded garden spider," "Banded argiope"

Less frequently seen than other Argiope spp., makes an orb web with shiny, radiating "stabilimenta" (sing. stabilimentum).

Photo cc Bruce Marlin Attribution NonCommercial NoDerivatives 2.5
a trifasciata
Zygiella x-notata
Family Araneidae

Another common invasive, this spider makes a vertical orb web with two sectors missing, looking like a pizza with a single piece missing.

Photo © Ian Pembroke NEED PERMISSION
zygiella
Family Linyphiidae
"Money spider"

There are lots of linyphiids, and the taxonomy is a real mess.  Linyphiid webs are usually flat sheets under which the spider hangs.  The picture at right is of a courting pair of Neriene digna (male on the left), which seems to be particularly common in the Bay Area in the spring.  

Photo cc Stephen Lew Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5
liny
Grass spiders
Family Agelenidae

Photo
Top © Ray A. Akey NEED PERMISSION
Bottom © Marion Cronen HAVE PERMISSION
hololena
agelenid

Badumnas longinqua
Family Desidae

This invasive spider is native to Australia and New Zealand.  The web is a mesh, often with a distinct lattice pattern, commonly seen on fenceposts, streetsigns, and sideview mirrors.

Photo cc Stephen Lew Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5
badumnas
Wolf spiders
Family Lycosidae

Wolf spiders are difficult to id even to genus without a microscope, but most found around homes turn out to be in the genus Pardosa.  Females are often seen carrying their eggsacs on their spinnerets, or carrying spiderlings on their backs.  Wolf spiders do not make a web, except for the infrequently seen Sossipus which makes a sheet web.

Photos
Top © Lynette Schimming HAVE PERMISSION
Bottom © Joyce Gross
lycosidae
lycosidae

Peucetia viridans
Family Oxyopidae
"Green lynx spider"

Common in gardens, often seen guarding eggsacs. Less frequently seen is P. longipalpis.  Lynx spider do not make webs. 

Photos © Tom Murray HAVE PERMISSION
oxyopidae
Zoropsis spinimana
Family Zoropsidae

A recently arrived mediterranean invasive, now found in the Bay Area.  If you see this spider, please contact Darrell Ubick at the California Academy of Science.  This spider does not make a web.

Photos
Top (female) cc Anca Mosoiu
Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5
Bottom (male) © Flickr user Omeuceu NEED PERMISSION
zoropsis
zoropsis
Cheiracanthium spp.
Family Miturgidae
"Yellow sac spider"

Cheiacanthium inclusum (pictured) is common in agricultural settings, and C. mildei is common in homes.  They are annecdotally associated with mildly symptomatic envenomations, but there are no studies or data supporting this.  Yellow sac spiders do not make a web but may make a conspicuous molting chamber.

Photos © Jim Berrian  HAVE PERMISSION
Cheiracanthium
cheiracanthium
Anachemmis spp. and Titiotus spp.
Family Tengellidae

Photo © Martin Putnam  HAVE PERMISSION
titiotus

Scotophaeus blackwalli
Family Gnaphosidae



Photo © A. Dale NEED PERMISSION
Misumena vaita
Family Thomisidae

Photo cc Stephen Lew Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5
misumena
Olios spp.
Family Sparassidae

Photos
top Glenn and Martha Vargas © California Academy of Sciences HAVE PERMISSION
Bottom © I. R. Lindsey NEED PERMISSION
oliosolios
Phidippus spp.
Family Salticidae

There are many jumping spiders around the home and garden, but of the common ones Phiddipus are the most conspicuous.  They do not make a web.

Photos
top (P. johnsoni) © I. R. Lindsey NEED PERMISSION
bottom (P. audax)
© Tom Murray  HAVE PERMISSION
phidippus johnsoni
phidippus audax