17 Different Types of Spiders in California

Types of Spiders in California
Photo by Amandad

If you live in California, you’re probably well aware that your state has more types of spiders than most other states in the country.

California’s spider population could technically be categorized as its ecosystem, considering that over 100 different spiders available in the Golden State alone!

If you’re interested in learning about some of the most common types of spiders in California and how to identify them, keep reading for more information about eight of these fascinating creatures.

1. Black Widow Spiders

In general, black widow spiders can be found in homes and outdoors. One of the main characteristics that you might notice about a black widow is that they have a black and red hourglass on the underside of their abdomen.

Black widows generally have three parts to their body, including the head, thorax (a part found just below the head), and eight legs. 

The front section may be red, whereas other parts are either yellowish-brown or dark brown. They may grow to measure up to 15 millimeters long or even more depending on how old they are when molting or renewing their skin for one year.

2. The Brown Recluse

The Brown Recluse is the most commonly found spider in Southern California. It’s coloring often provides good camouflage among wood piles, firewood, or rock outcroppings.

These types of spider in California is usually not aggressive and will try to escape when spotted by humans. 

If bitten, its bite is potentially quite severe and can result in death; this bite is known as a necrotic arachnidism because it destroys tissue while leaving a crusty wound.

It’s also known as a violin spider because the dark markings on its cephalothorax resemble the body of an old-fashioned fiddle with exaggerated frets.

3. The Wolf Spider

First, let’s start with the wolf spider, one of the more common spiders in urban and rural areas. The wolf spider can vary significantly from just a few millimeters to nearly an inch in length and is dark gray or brown, with dense fur on its upper legs and back.

These spiders will often burrow for shelter under logs, stones, boards, or vegetation that provides cover. 

They will often seek out those places where insects are most abundant as prey and build their webs there. Wolves spiders tend to be timid but will bite if they feel threatened when aggravated; they only have one row of eyes instead of two like other members of the family Lycosidae.

4. Hobo Spider

Let’s look at how each spider affects your home or office: The hobo spider is light to dark brown with markings on its abdomen that resemble two triangles pointing toward each other on its backside.

These different types of spiders in California prefer areas indoors, such as basements or wood piles, but will seek shelter anywhere when it rains or snows.

Hobo spiders usually use straws to wrap up their prey before they eat it–sometimes even wrapping them up into little balls and leaving them somewhere else.

5. Lynx Spider

As its name might suggest, the lynx spider is quite fast. These types of spiders in California are so small that you can hardly tell when they’re there, and that’s where they get their speed. Lynx spiders are a type of jumper because they can leap to escape predators and capture prey. 

Lynx spiders prefer to use pouncing as an attack strategy, but they also have venom glands in their mouth, which they can release from a set of jaws near the bottom part of their fangs.

Despite these two tactics, they don’t pose much of a threat to humans unless you threaten them with being eaten alive. 

They usually nest near grass or plants, which cover them while hunting. These eight-legged creatures come out mostly at night, just before sunrise or sunset.

6. Jumping Spider

The jumping spider is one of the most common spiders found throughout California. This small but agile creature can jump about ten times its height, and its hunting technique depends on its ability to surprise its prey by leaping.

When a jumping spider finds food, it bites it with powerful fangs that pump venom into its prey’s body to kill it. 

They then inject digestive juices before sucking out the liquid remains. There are over 800 types of jumping spiders across the world, although only three live in North America.

The types of spiders in California are not just limited to these few examples: there are also trap-door, wolf, false widow, orb weaver, and house spiders – each with different habitats and behaviors.

7. Garden Spiders

There are more than 3,000 types of spiders across the world. Eight of these live in California, including garden spiders.

Garden spiders, so-named because they like to wander and forage for insects among flower gardens and crop fields, live up to their name by nesting almost anywhere there is vegetation or soil. 

While they’re not considered a significant health hazard to humans, those with allergies to arachnids could be at risk. The female garden spider typically lays eggs between bark slabs and crevices on tree branches.

When she’s finished laying eggs, she hangs on with her fangs until after the young hatch, then clips herself off and finds her way back home — sometimes as much as 100 yards away from where she began.

8. Tarantulas

While tarantulas are not native to the US, they are definitely among the most recognizable types of spiders. Tarantulas live in dry and warm areas with open spaces for building a burrow.

They typically have short, stubby legs for digging and can live on low-quality food sources due to their slow metabolism. 

Tarantula’s front four pairs of legs are prehensile, meaning they can pick up objects. Their eight eyes sit on either side of their head and are so sensitive that they can detect movement from over 30 feet away!

The types of spiders in California that you will find include tarantulas, wolf spiders, ground-dwelling sac spiders, and cellar spiders.

9. Crab Spiders

While you can often overlook crab spiders because they’re not as expected and do not get near humans as much as other types, you can find them throughout the United States, including California.

Since these types of spiders in California resemble crabs, with six pairs of short legs, they’re also sometimes called water spiders. 

However, while there is some truth to their nickname, it’s unclear whether or not they enjoy spending time near water sources.

Their habitat range can cover much more ground than you might think. They tend to go into buildings and steer clear of the sun.

10. Orb-Weaver Spider

Orb weavers are very thin and shaped like wine glasses. Orb weavers make a circular web with an outer band that holds leaves, twigs, or other debris. These bands may offer camouflage to the spider. 

Even more interesting is that there are over 650 species of orb weaver spiders in California alone! It is because they can live in both forests and desert areas alike. 

The best way to tell if you have an orb weaver in your place is by looking at its web. If the web has a spiral pattern, chances are it’s an orb weaver.

11. Agelenopsis

You might have heard that there are different types of spiders in California; Agelenopsis is one type of spider many people think they have spotted.

But just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s harmless. All kinds of spiders can be dangerous, and it’s better to know more about them than to make a guess when identifying which type you are seeing. 

Another word for Agelenopsis is the funnel weaver. They weave webs that look like funnels from their homes near grassy fields. They can also live around rocks or trees near rivers or streams. 

They tend to build webs at night, so if you see one in your home during the day, it might be an orb-weaver. They don’t spin orb webs, though, so look out!

These are some types of spiders in California: Solenopsis, antelope horned devil, brown recluse, wolf spider, and black widow.

12. Cellar Spider

The cellar spider, also known as the spotted house spider or giant house spider, is one of the most extensive types of spider. It ranges from about four to six inches in length. 

These different types of spiders in California can be recognized by their light yellow to orange spots on a dark brown body and their well-defined ‘Cerebro pattern’ found just behind their head. They are often located indoors near damp areas like sinks and basements. 

While they are not harmful to humans, the cellar spider’s strong web-spinning abilities can result in snagging and trapping victims that wander too close to its lair.

These types of spiders are commonly seen on plants throughout warmer regions, including California because it provides them with some protection from predators like birds and lizards that prey upon them outdoors.

13. Common House Spider

Not to worry, the common house spider is harmless and is most often found indoors. The common house spider can grow up to an inch long and is usually the size of a silver dollar.

They have a dark-colored body with light markings on the abdomen (referred to as the face in some cultures) that are unique to each spider. 

There are different subspecies, but they’re all brownish-black. They build webs to catch other bugs, including mosquitoes, flies, bees, butterflies, and moths.

Sometimes they get tangled up in their nets, and you see them sitting still on walls or ceilings, waiting for their web lines to straighten out again.

14. False Black Widow Spider

A black widow spider is named for how the female latches onto its mate during mating and then kills them when its reproductive cycle is complete. These different types of spiders in California can be found on almost every continent (except Antarctica) and on several islands. They live primarily in tropical regions, including Southern Europe, South Africa, and Florida, but they can also be found living throughout more temperate areas of North America. 

Black widows prefer dark habitats such as sheds, wood piles, attics, and basements. If human encounters a male black widow, he will most likely survive because the male doesn’t produce venom strong enough to harm a human being.

15. Sac Spider

Southern California is home to one of the most common species of spiders: The Sac Spider. These spiders have reddish-brown markings on their back and will spin webs.

These different types of spiders in California make homes by binding leaves and other plant debris, often creating an ‘x’ shape. These little fellows hang out near or on the web.

16. Pholcus Phalangioides

A big reason that people often confuse these spider species with widows is that both are common in similar habitats.

Though Pholcus phalangioides have no venom, they are known to hang out near windows, and their presence may lead to more concern because they resemble their dangerous cousins. Males can reach lengths up to 1 inch, while females will grow to about half an inch in length. 

Pholcus phalangioides typically have a brownish-red color, but the color can vary depending on the number of times it has molted and where it’s located. They’re also not aggressive, so as long as you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you. 

These spiders live for about three years as adults before dying off during the mating season, when males are looking for females to mate with.

As an arachnid without venom or fangs, these types of spiders in California aren’t inherently dangerous or harmful, but their appearance does make them seem like a threat.

17. Misumena Vatia

I should admit from the beginning that I’m a huge arachnophobe. I’m terrified of spiders, and if there’s a spider on my clothes, it will immediately set me off. 

Now that spiders are running around that have bitten people who live in the Los Angeles area, I don’t think my fears are entirely unfounded!

While looking for a spider exterminator, you might want to take a quick look at these types of spiders in California that you’ll see when they start crawling around your home or yard.


Your chances of getting bitten by a spider are less than those of a shark. If you are afraid and want to know more, there are ways to keep spiders away naturally.

To prevent venomous spiders, wear gloves while working around. Outside lights discourage their nighttime activities, and insect repellent won’t hurt.

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