New Mexico Spiders: What is that crawling on the back of your neck? | I am New Mexico

New Mexico Spiders: What is that crawling on the back of your neck?

New Mexico Spiders – (November 10, 2016)—If you’re like most people, the sound of spiders crawling on your neck will send you up the wall, literally. Despite the fact that most of us don’t like spiders, New Mexico seems to have quite the arachnid population. Here are 23 species of spiders that are well-established, in the state of New Mexico.

As you can see below, many of them look different whether they are male of female. If you’re a bug-lover, then you’ll love this post. If you’re scared of spiders, worst-off, you’ll learn a little bit about what’s creeping in your backyard. Enjoy!


New Mexico Spiders


Male Adult Male

Male Agelenopsis spp. spider


Female Adult Female

Female Agelenopsis spp. spider

Agelenopsis spp.
(Grass Spiders)

Summary

“Grass Spiders” are represented by 13 species collectively found throughout most of the U.S. and southern Canada, and northern Mexico. Like all members of the funnel weaver family Agelenidae, they spin dense, non-sticky, sheet-like webs with a funnel-like retreat where the spider hides.


Male Adult Male

Male Argiope aurantia spider

Female Adult Female

Female Argiope aurantia spider

Argiope aurantia
(Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

Summary

Mature females are enormous, their bold black-and-yellow pattern adding to their intimidating appearance. Common in gardens, orchards, forest edges, old fields, and farms, they spin a classic round orb web which is usually decorated with a bold, zigzag band of silk called a stabilimentum.


Male Adult Male

Male Argiope trifasciata spider

Female Adult Female

Female Argiope trifasciata spider

Argiope trifasciata
(Banded Garden Spider)

Summary

Females are large, silvery spiders with legs banded in black and yellow. Look for this species in late summer and fall in fields, prairies, gardens, and meadows. The circular webs are built close to the ground amid tall grasses and weeds, often with a zigzag band of silk running through the center.


Male Adult Male

Male Cheiracanthium mildei spider

Female Adult Female

Female Cheiracanthium mildei spider

Cheiracanthium mildei
(Longlegged Sac Spider)

Summary

“Longlegged Sac Spiders” are pale green, tan, or yellow nocturnal hunting spiders with very long front legs. Native to southern Europe, this spider has made its way into North America, where it is now fairly widespread. It is commonly found indoors, where it prowls walls and ceilings at night, looking for prey or mates.


Male Adult Male

Male Dolomedes triton spider

Female Adult Female

Female Dolomedes triton spider

Dolomedes triton
(Six-spotted Fishing Spider)

Summary

A large and strong hunting spider, this species is more closely associated with water than any of the other Nearctic fishing spiders. Find it among aquatic vegetation at the margins of streams and rivers, as well as floating around in lakes and residential pools. It eats aquatic insects, small fish, or even small amphibians!


Male Adult Male

Male Dysdera crocata spider

Female Adult Female

Female Dysdera crocata spider

Dysdera crocata
(Woodlouse Hunter)

Summary

Native to Europe, and now widespread across the globe, this brightly colored spider is hard to miss. The long jaws and fangs are used to stab or turn over its prey: land isopods like sowbugs and roly-polies. This species does not spin a web, but hunts “on foot,” sometimes straying indoors.


Male Adult Male

Male Hogna carolinensis spider

Female Adult Female

Female Hogna carolinensis spider

Hogna carolinensis
(Carolina Wolf Spider)

Summary

This species is the largest “wolf spider” in North America. Females reach 22-35 millimeters in body length. Their legspan is greater still. This spider may hunt actively at night, or wait in ambush at the mouth of its burrow, where it hides during the day. Adult males may wander indoors during mating season.


Male Adult Male

Male Kukulcania hibernalis spider

Female Adult Female

Female Kukulcania hibernalis spider

Kukulcania hibernalis
(Southern House Spider)

Summary

This species is often associated with human habitations, spreading its web from cracks and crevices on the exterior of homes, barns, and other structures. Males are frequently mistaken for recluse spiders (genus Loxosceles). The females may live up to eight years.


Male Adult Male

Male Latrodectus geometricus spider

Female Adult Female

Female Latrodectus geometricus spider

Latrodectus geometricus
(Brown Widow Spider)

Summary

The “Brown Widow” is probably native to Africa, but now found almost globally in subtropical regions. Its affinity for man-made structures has allowed it to spread via commerce. It can be common in yards and gardens, often in more exposed situations than other widow species. The spiky egg sacs are fairly diagnostic.


Male Adult Male

Male Loxosceles reclusa spider

Female Adult Female

Female Loxosceles reclusa spider

Loxosceles reclusa
(Brown Recluse)

Summary

The “Brown Recluse” is one of the few species in North America whose venom is considered medically significant. It is very timid and non-aggressive and simple precautions can be taken to avoid bites. The eye arrangement is an important diagnostic feature.


Male Adult Male

Male Menemerus bivittatus spider

Female Adult Female

Female Menemerus bivittatus spider

Menemerus bivittatus
(Gray Wall Jumper)

Summary

This species is native to the Old World tropics, but has ridden cargo to many other tropical and subtropical places around the globe. Look for these jumping spiders almost exclusively on the exterior walls of buildings here in the U.S. They are active hunters during the day and spend the night hidden away in crevices.


Male Adult Male

Male Misumena vatia spider

Female Adult Female

Female Misumena vatia spider

Misumena vatia
(Goldenrod Crab Spider)

Summary

This spider is an ambush hunter, lying patiently in wait on flowers for an insect to come within striking range. Adult females may be overall yellow or white, with the ability to change back and forth. This species can conquer surprisingly large prey like bees and butterflies.


Male Adult Male

Male Misumenoides formosipes spider

Female Adult Female

Female Misumenoides formosipes spider

Misumenoides formosipes
(Whitebanded Crab Spider)

Summary

This spider waits in ambush on flowers for visiting insects to come within range, seizing a victim in the embrace of its first two pairs of legs. Adult females can change from white to yellow and vice versa, though the change takes some time. Males are very small and strikingly different than females.


Male Adult Male

Male Neoscona crucifera spider

Female Adult Female

Female Neoscona crucifera spider

Neoscona crucifera
(Spotted Orbweaver)

Summary

This species is relatively variable in color and sometimes pattern, but is most commonly seen sporting a rusty-red or golden orange color. The orb-shaped web is very large and is often constructed on buildings and other man-made structures, especially near outdoor lights. This species is most conspicuous in late summer and early fall.

Male Adult Male

Male Olios giganteus spider

Female Adult Female

Female Olios giganteus spider

Olios giganteus
(Giant Crab Spider)

Summary

This relatively large species lives in arid, desert ecosystems. They are nocturnal and like to prowl vertical surfaces like shrubs, trees, and the exterior walls of buildings. They do not spin a web to catch prey, but easily overpower most insects.


Male Adult Male

Male Parasteatoda tepidariorum spider

Female Adult Female

Female Parasteatoda tepidariorum spider

Parasteatoda tepidariorum
(Common House Spider)

Summary

This species is abundant and widespread across the entire world, and is closely associated with buildings and other man-made structures. The teardrop-shaped, papery brown egg sacs can aid in their identification. The spider’s color and body shape cause them to be mistaken for “brown widows” on occasion.


Male Adult Male

Male Peucetia viridans spider

Female Adult Female

Female Peucetia viridans spider

Peucetia viridans
(Green Lynx Spider)

Summary

This is a relatively large, bright green spider with long, spiny legs and lightning fast movements. They are typically spotted in shrubs and bushes during the day, where they are sit-and-wait predators. Incredibly, this spider is capable of “spitting” venom in self-defense.


Male Adult Male

Male Phidippus audax spider

Female Adult Female

Female Phidippus audax spider

Phidippus audax
(Bold Jumper)

Summary

The “Bold Jumper” is one of the largest and most common species of jumping spider in North America. The spider is mostly black with a conspicuous white, orange, or red triangular patch in the center of its abdomen. Take a close look at this spider’s chelicerae (jaws), as they have a gorgeous, iridescent sheen to them and come in a variety of colors!


Male Adult Male

Male Pholcus phalangioides spider

Female Adult Female

Female Pholcus phalangioides spider

Pholcus phalangioides
(Longbodied Cellar Spider)

Summary

The Longbodied Cellar Spider is thought to be native to Europe, but can be found globally after having traveled nearly everywhere as a stowaway in commerce. Their long, thin legs and elongated abdomen make them relatively easy to identify. Find them on ceilings, in basements, storage sheds, old wells, caves, and other dry locations with low light.


Male Adult Male

Male Salticus scenicus spider

Female Adult Female

Female Salticus scenicus spider

Salticus scenicus
(Zebra Jumper)

Summary

The zebra-like color pattern makes this species one of the easier jumping spiders to identify in the field. It is most common around urban and suburban areas where it hunts by day on fences, rock walls, the exterior of buildings, and similar situations. Thought to be native to Europe, it is also now established in the U.S., southern Canada, and Asia.


Male Adult Male

Male Scytodes thoracica spider

Female Adult Female

Female Scytodes thoracica spider

Scytodes thoracica
(Spitting Spider)

Summary

This ornately-marked spider immobilizes its prey by spitting a mixture of silk, glue, and venom onto it. Watch for this slow-moving species leisurely walking the walls and ceilings at night. They are easily recognized by their dome-shaped carapace and thin, banded legs.


Male Adult Male

Male Steatoda grossa spider

Female Adult Female

Female Steatoda grossa spider

Steatoda grossa
(False Black Widow)

Summary

The “False Black Widow” belongs to the same family as true black widows, and is easily mistaken for its dangerous cousins. However, note that this spider does not have the red hourglass on the underside of the abdomen. It is common in buildings, but may live outdoors in sheltered spots such as wood piles, under bridges, or in rock walls.


Male Adult Male

Male Tegenaria domestica spider

Female Adult Female

Female Tegenaria domestica spider

Tegenaria domestica
(Barn Funnel Weaver)

Summary

Today, this species occurs nearly everywhere people live, having spread with international commerce. The sheet-like webs of this spider are conspicuous in dark corners of barns, cellars, sheds, garages, cabins, and other man-made structures. Adult males frequently get caught in bathtubs or sinks at night.



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