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10 Spiders Found in Arkansas

Brooke Billingsley

When it comes to finding spiders in Arkansas, all you have to do is check the dark corners of your house, garage, or shed and you’ll find a variety of spiders. Arkansas has a fascinating array of spiders that represent a range of colors, shapes, and even hunting styles.

As spooky as many people find spiders, they are a vital part of maintaining the ecosystem through controlling insect populations. This doesn’t just keep us from being overrun by bugs, but it also helps control diseases spread by insects, like mosquitos.

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10 Spiders Found in Arkansas

1. Brown Recluse

Brown Recluse Spider_Nick626_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Nick626, Shutterstock
Species: L. reclusa
Longevity: 1–2 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 0.6–2 cm
Diet: Carnivorous

The Brown Recluse is often referred to as a poisonous spider, but they are actually venomous since their toxin is transferred via a bite. They are sometimes referred to as “Fiddleback spiders” due to the distinct fiddle shape on their back. They are one of the two dangerously venomous spiders in the state and often get a worse reputation than they deserve.

As the name implies, these spiders are reclusive, often being found in dark places like wood piles and cardboard boxes, so most people encounter them when working outdoors or cleaning spaces like garages and sheds. These spiders have necrotizing venom, which means that it causes tissue to die and break down. Their bites are typically recognizable by a red or purple area with a black center that begins to pit.


2. Southern Black Widow

Southern Black Widow Spider closeup_Liz Weber_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Liz Weber, Shutterstock
Species: L. mactans
Longevity: 1–3 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 0.6–1.5 cm
Diet: Carnivorous

The Southern Black Widow spider is the other dangerously venomous spider in the state of Arkansas and is probably the most well-known venomous spider in the United States. The females are larger than the males and are known to kill them after mating, which is where they get their “widow” name. While most people recognize the round black body with red hourglass of the females, male Black Widows are usually black, tan, or grey and have a narrower body than females. These spiders typically keep to themselves in dark areas, but will bite if disturbed, which often leads to bites in places like garages.

Black Widows produce a venom containing powerful neurotoxins, which helps them incapacitate their prey. In humans, these bites are not usually fatal except in children and people with some medical conditions, but can lead to significant muscle pain, nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, swelling, and itching. Minor bites can typically be treated with cold compresses and over the counter anti-inflammatory medications.


3. Dotted Wolf Spider

Species: R. punctulata
Longevity: 1–2 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 1.2–1.5 cm
Diet: Carnivorous

The Dotted Wolf spider fits the “creepy crawly” bill due to their tendency to scurry around, often crossing paths with people. What many people don’t realize is that Dotted Wolf spiders, along with other types of Wolf spiders, are extremely agile and hunt by chasing down prey. They do not build webs, so they tend to be more mobile than web building spiders. They are non-venomous and are more likely to run than bite. Dotted Wolf spiders have strong maternal instincts and females can often be seen carrying their young on their abdomen until they are old enough to survive on their own.


4. Arkansas Chocolate Tarantula

Species: A. hentzi
Longevity: 10–25 years
Good to own as a pet?: Yes
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 3.5–5 cm
Diet: Carnivorous

One of the largest spiders in the state, the Arkansas Chocolate Tarantula can be imposing, but these spiders are content to stay far away from humans. They have hairy bodies and legs and some females have been known to live up to 25 years in captivity. They may be found in abandoned reptile or mammal burrows or in naturally occurring crevices and small caves.

These spiders reach sexual maturity around age 10–11 and males usually die shortly after mating. Females carry fertilized eggs from fall to the following summer before laying 200–800 eggs. The hatchlings will stay with the mother until they are large enough to live on their own.


5. Black-Footed Yellow Sac Spider

Species: C. inclusum
Longevity: 1–2 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 0.5–0.8 cm
Diet: Carnivorous

The Black-Footed Yellow Sac spider is known for the silky sacs they spin instead of webs, spending most of their time inside these sacs, which are typically attached in hidden places, like the underside of leaves. Females build silk tubes that are used to contain their eggs and hatchlings for the first couple of weeks of life.

They are mildly venomous spiders whose bites have reportedly led to necrosis. However, some studies have shown no bites developing necrosis. Nonetheless, these bites can lead to pain, swelling, and nausea.


6. Yellow Garden Spider

yellow garden spider
Image Credit: Roland Steinmann, Pixabay
Species: A. aurantia
Longevity: 1+ years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 0.8–3 cm
Diet: Carnivorous

Sometimes called “Zigzag Spiders”, Yellow Garden spiders are brightly colored yellow and black spiders. They build webs up to 2 feet in diameter with a distinct zigzag pattern down the center that helps stabilize the web. Although these spiders are large, they are peaceful spiders that are great for pest control in yards and gardens.

They will only bite people when harassed and even then, their bite tends to not be particularly painful and their venom is not harmful to humans. They only live to around 1 year of age, although some females have lived beyond this expectation. Males die shortly after mating and females lay their eggs in the fall and usually die once the first frost of winter occurs.


7. Spotted Orbweaver

Species: N. crucifera
Longevity: 1 year
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 0.5–1.7 cm
Diet: Carnivorous

The Spotted Orbweaver is a lovely spider that exhibit brown or black bodies with markings that are rust, gold, or orange. They are typically nocturnal and spend most of the daytime hiding near the edge of their web. In the fall, females may become diurnal when caring for eggs. They are peaceful and don’t often end up in people’s homes, although they are known to build webs in areas with lots of flying insect traffic, like around lights and porches.


8. Bold Jumping Spider

Species: P. audax
Longevity: 1–2 years
Good to own as a pet?: Yes
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 1–2 cm
Diet: Carnivorous

Bold Jumping spiders are peaceful and seemingly curious, with many people reporting they make good pets. They tend to have iridescent or metallic markings, and they exhibit interesting behaviors, like mating dances. They do not usually build webs, instead opting to chase down prey. They will spin webs for protection of themselves or their eggs, though. Although prevalent in Arkansas, they are the State Spider of New Hampshire.


9. Long-Bodied Cellar Spider

Species: P. phalangioides
Longevity: 2–3 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 0.7–0.8 cm
Diet: Carnivorous

The Long-Bodied Cellar spider is a long-legged spider with a narrow body. They are common in cool, dark places like cellars, but they are also commonly found in garages, sheds, and homes. They take a year to reach sexual maturity and can live for a couple of years beyond that point. Although some people claim they are one of the most venomous spiders in the world with fangs too small to harm people, this is false. They prefer to live near other Long-Bodied Cellar spiders and are known for leaving cobwebs behind.


10. Dark Fishing Spider

Species: D. tenebrosus
Longevity: 1–2 years
Good to own as a pet?: Yes
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 0.6–2.5 cm
Diet: Carnivorous

Dark Fishing spiders resemble Wolf spiders with their body shape and imposing size, but they spend their lives near water, although they do end up in homes sometimes. They hunt by chasing down their prey, even running across water’s surface to catch insects and small aquatic animals. If threatened, they may dive underwater to escape. They have strong maternal instincts and females are known to aggressively defend their eggs. They will bite people if threatened.

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Conclusion

Recognizing the important role that spiders play in the Natural State is necessary to maintaining spider populations and supporting the ecosystem. Even the creepiest spiders are important to maintaining the health of the natural environment. Choosing to recognize the support that spiders provide by controlling insects in and around your home can lead to a tolerant relationship between you and the spiders of Arkansas.


Featured Image Credit: Varghese, Shutterstock

Brooke Billingsley

Brooke Billingsley spent nine years as a veterinary assistant before becoming a human nurse in 2013. She resides in Arkansas with her boyfriend of five years. She loves all animals and currently shares a home with three dogs, two cats, five fish, and two snails. She has a soft spot for special needs animals and has a three-legged senior dog and an internet famous cat with acromegaly and cerebellar hypoplasia. Fish keeping has become a hobby of Brooke’s and she is continually learning how to give her aquarium pets the best life possible. Brooke enjoys plants and gardening and keeps a vegetable garden during the summer months. She stays active with yoga and obtained her 200-hour yoga teacher certification in 2020. She hosts a podcast focusing on folklore and myth and loves spending her free time researching and writing. Brooke believes that every day is an opportunity for learning and growth and she spends time daily working toward new skills and knowledge.