Spiders (Arachnida: Araneae)

Spiders (Arachnida: Araneae)

Spiders (order Araneae) are air-breathing arthropods that have eight legs and chelicerae with fangs able to inject venom. They are the largest order of arachnids and rank seventh in total species diversity among all orders of organisms. Spiders are found worldwide on every continent except for Antarctica, and have become established in nearly every habitat with the exceptions of air and sea colonization. As of June 2022, at least 50,200 spider species, and 132 families have been recorded by taxonomists. However, there has been dissension within the scientific community as to how all these families should be classified, as evidenced by the over 20 different classifications that have been proposed since 1900.

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Marshal Hedin

Department of Biology, San Diego State University, San Diego CA 92182-4614, USA. Email: mhedin@~@mail.sdsu.edu


Nadia Ayoub

Biology Department, Washington & Lee University, Lexington, VA 24450 USA. Email: ayoubn@~@wlu.edu


T.C. Jones

Department of Biological Sciences, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN 37614 USA. Email: jonestc@~@etsu.edu

Dangerously Venomous Spiders

There are only two venomous spiders of any significance in the continental U.S., the Brown Recluse and the Black Widow. Tarantulas are relatively harmless though people can have an allergic reaction to their bite. Other spiders may also cause a slight allergic reaction at the site of a bite, with some redness and swelling.

Brown Recluse - Follow this link if you are you worried that a particular spider might be a brown recluse (Loxosceles reclusa)

The brown recluse spider, Loxosceles reclusa, is often implicated as a cause of necrotic skin lesions. Diagnoses are most commonly made by clinical appearance and infrequently is a spider seen, captured or identified at the time of the bite. The brown recluse lives in a circumscribed area of the U.S. (the south central Midwest) with a few less common recluse species living in the more sparsely-populated southwest U.S. In these areas, where spider populations may be dense, recluse spiders may be a cause of significant morbidity. However, outside the natural range of these recluse species, the conviction that they are the etiological agents behind necrotic lesions of unknown origin is widespread, and most often erroneous. In some states such as California, unsubstantiated reports concerning recluse spider bites have taken on the status of "urban legend" leading to overdiagnosis and, therefore, inappropriate treatment. (Source: Identifying and Misidentifying the Brown Recluse Spider. Dermatology Online, Rick Vetter. )

Black Widow - Wikipedia entry on Black Widow Spiders

Tarantulas - Wikipedia entry on Tarantulas

North American Spiders


This page is an attempt to provide a list of valid names for the spiders (Araneae) which occur in North America north of Mexico. The list has been compiled by a committee of volunteer contributors of the American Arachnological Society (Spiders of North America Check-list Committee). As a version of each family list becomes available at this site its name will be highlighted; indicating a link to the draft list. The committee is most interested in receiving suggestions or corrections. Please direct these questions to Richard Bradley.

The following list of families is adapted from the list provided in the World Spider Catalog Version 16. The main purpose of a page such as the current one is to provide information on the names currently in use in the most convenient form; thus the list of families, genera, and species are presented in alphabetic order.

How to use this site

To find a particular name you should first select the family to which you believe the spider belongs and scan the list for the "candidate" name you are checking. If you do not find the name quickly; use the "find-in-page" or Find (on-this-page) function (under the Edit pulldown menu with your browser) searching for the species' name. Try a search without the name's ending as this might change with the name of the older generic assignment. For example, Acanthepeira venusta (Banks, 1896) was at one time listed as Araneus venustus. If you search under "venust" you would locate both names. In this way you may locate the current name.

Because our taxonomic knowledge is constantly changing, species may be re-assigned to different genera, and genera to different families. If you have difficulty finding the species you are interested in, consider using the World Spider Catalog with its extensive lists of synonyms.

After the name of a species in this list, there is an indication of the states (USA) and provinces (Canada) where the species has been reported. Many species distributions are poorly known, so these lists may be incomplete. Don’t be too surprised if you find a species in a state or province that is not listed. If you do detect such a situation, you should consider reporting your record and perhaps submitting a voucher specimen to a museum collection for that region.

For each family, there is a downloadable document and pdf. Just click on the appropriate link.

See also corrections for the families with many changes in Kaston's Spiders of Connecticut and How to Know the Spiders

Spiders of Connecticut rev. ed. 1981  pdf

How to Know the Spiders 1978 3rd Edition  pdf

updated February 20, 2021


Agelenidae  pdf
Amaurobiidae  pdf
Anapidae  pdf
Antrodiaetidae  pdf
Anyphaenidae  pdf
Araneidae  pdf
Atypidae  pdf
Caponiidae  pdf
Cheiracanthiidae pdf
Cithaeronidae  pdf
Clubionidae  pdf
Corinnidae  pdf
Ctenidae  pdf
Cybaeidae  pdf
Cyrtaucheniidae  pdf
Deinopidae  pdf
Desidae  pdf
Dictynidae  pdf
Diguetidae  pdf
Dysderidae  pdf
Euagridae  pdf
Euctenizidae  pdf
Filistatidae  pdf
Gnaphosidae  pdf
Hahniidae  pdf
Halonoproctidae  pdf
Hersiliidae  pdf
Hexurellidae  pdf
Homalonychidae  pdf
Hypochilidae  pdf
Leptonetidae  pdf
Linyphiidae  pdf
Liocranidae  pdf
Lycosidae  pdf
Megahexuridae  pdf
Microhexuridae  pdf

Mimetidae  pdf
Miturgidae  pdf
Myrmecicultoridae  pdf
Mysmenidae  pdf
Nemesiidae  pdf
Nesticidae  pdf
Oecobiidae  pdf
Oonopidae  pdf
Oxyopidae  pdf
Philodromidae  pdf
Pholcidae  pdf
Phrurolithidae  pdf
Pimoidae  pdf
Pisauridae  pdf
Plectreuridae  pdf
Salticidae  pdf
Scytodidae  pdf
Segestriidae  pdf
Selenopidae  pdf
Sicariidae  pdf
Sparassidae  pdf
Symphytognathidae  pdf
Telemidae  pdf
Tetragnathidae  pdf
Theraphosidae  pdf
Theridiidae  pdf
Theridiosomatidae  pdf
Thomisidae  pdf
Titanoecidae  pdf
Trachelidae  pdf
Trechaleidae  pdf
Trogloraptoridae  pdf
Uloboridae  pdf
Zodariidae  pdf
Zoropsidae  pdf


Photos by Marshal Hedin, Bryan Reynolds and Jay Stafstrom