18 Types of Spiders in Chicago

Types of Spiders in Chicago
Photo by Gabriel Cattaruzzi

If you live in the Chicago area, you’ve probably seen or heard about the spiders that call the area home.

From the brown recluse to the black widow to the hobo spider, knowing which kinds of spiders reside in your town can help you react quickly if you find one crawling near you.

Check out this guide to learn about these types of spiders in Chicago and how to take care of them if they wander into your home or business!

1. Wolf Spider

The Wolf Spider is a common household spider found anywhere from urban cities like Chicago, Illinois, to wooded areas. Wolf spiders are typically dark brown or black and often blend into their surroundings, like under logs or stones. 

However, one characteristic you will notice when identifying a wolf spider is its distinctive violin-shaped mark on its back. If you are interested in these types of spiders in Chicago, we invite you to read our post about them here.

2. Black Widow

The Black Widow, or Latrodectus geometricus, is known for having a painful bite. Generally, these types of spiders in Chicago prefer dark places, like deep grass or wood piles. They often live near human structures and nest under sheets on porches and outbuildings. 

Female black widows typically weave thin circular webs with open centers- creating an entrapment area for their unsuspecting prey.

Black widows are characterized by their glossy black color and infamous red hourglass marking on the abdomens, distinguishing them from other types of spiders in Chicago.

3. Brown Recluse

The brown recluse spider is one of the most dangerous types of spiders in Chicago. The venom can significantly damage and cause tissue necrosis, leading to organ failure. Brown recluses are found throughout the United States and southern Canada. 

They have a dark violin-shaped marking on their backs. They have a much more limited range than other spiders like tarantulas or black widows. It’s primarily found in forested areas. 

As a result, they’re not as likely to encounter humans as often as other types of spiders in Chicago. However, they’re still relatively common outside homes and garages.

4. Yellow Sac Spider

The yellow sac spider is probably the most common of all spiders. They are all over North America and have a yellowish color that blends well with ceilings and tall grasses. These types of spiders in Chicago are tiny, reaching only about 1/2 inches long as adults. 

Yellow sac spiders are a few types that build funnel-shaped webs under things like porches, rock ledges, or boxes (where they await prey).

When prey wanders into their trap, they lunge at it with fantastic speed, injecting a paralyzing venom with their bite before sucking out the body fluids with their long proboscis or sucking mouthparts.

Though these types of Spiders in Chicago may not seem scary at first glance, they are dangerous if enough venom is injected into a person’s bloodstream.

5. Jumping Spider

Did you know that jumping spiders can jump up to 50 times their height? They jump with remarkable speed, accuracy, and force– even more so than a running cheetah. 

The silk threads connecting the back legs act as elastic springs for increased energy. The males often stay on the females’ backs during mating and ride around on them like horses.

6. Hobo Spider

The hobo spider is typically brown with gray or white markings and can live anywhere from under a log to inside your home. They love extreme environments and are generally nocturnal. They can often be found sleeping in piles of leaves. 

These types of Spiders in Chicago prefer colder temperatures than most other species, so during winter, you’ll find them living indoors, where they might make their way into your shoes or hide out in your clothes dryer. If you spot one, don’t panic—this species is non-venomous!

7. Orb Weaver

There are seven different species of Orb Weaver spiders found in Chicago. This spider is medium-sized, with a body length of 3/4 inches and a leg span of up to 2 inches.

The females have one or two light yellow stripes on their brown abdomens, while males may have a white streak. 

Females also have eight eyes. Males tend to have six eyes. These types of spiders in Chicago spin circular webs that can be either vertical or horizontal. They spend most of their time waiting for prey to get caught in their web.

8. Nursery Web Spider

The Nursery Web Spider has a greenish cephalothorax and abdomen, with a golden core near its head.

They are light green with black stripes on their back and pale spots on the front part of their abdomen. They spend most of their time hunting prey on foliage or grassy areas. 

These types of spiders in Chicago will also wrap their prey in webbing after biting it, usually containing an anticoagulant that keeps the spider’s prey from escaping by clotting blood flow.

The spider will then carry its wrapped victim off to consume later at leisure. In captivity, these spiders were observed eating two large crickets daily, but they will eat as many as 50 if given access to them all at once.

9. Theridiidae Cobwebs Spiders

Theridiidae is a family of spiders that includes cobweb weavers and comb-footed spiders. They make a tangled nest, called a cobweb, with an irregular pattern. If you see cobwebs around your house or garage, it might mean more spiders nearby. 

These webs can be used as traps, but they do not have any sticky properties and don’t entangle bugs like other types of spider webs.

Instead, the spider waits until prey lands on the web and then comes out from its hiding place behind some leaves or under a rock.

They sometimes hang from their silk lines between two branches near their web, where they wait for prey to fly before striking.

10. Thomisidae Crab Spiders

Thomisidae spiders, or crab spiders, are often mistaken for other types of spiders, like tarantulas or brown recluses. Their small size and bright coloring distinguish them from different types of spiders in Chicago.

The Thomisidae family contains 3,000 species, including the Garden Spider (Xysticus), found on the East Coast and northern California. Another example is the Goldenrod Crab Spider (Misumena vatia) found throughout North America.

11. Black And Yellow Garden Spiders

When you see this spider, it is not necessarily a good thing. If you open doors, the Black and Yellow Garden Spider will often enter your home. Their venom is mild but still can be very unpleasant for those allergic. 

These types of spiders in Chicago are nocturnal and feed on giant insects and other spiders. They prefer weedy fields and gardens, so they don’t always come into our homes unless they have no other choice.

If they do happen to get inside, don’t panic – just catch them with a glass or jar (not your hands!), then release them outside near their habitat!

12. Gnaphosidae Ground Spiders

The name ground spider comes from their ability to bury themselves head-first into the soil. They do this not only for protection but also to feed on ants. In contrast, members of other spider families eat them as food. 

Gnaphosidae ground spiders have excellent eyesight and can be found at night waiting near well-lit buildings for insects that are attracted by outdoor lights.

When they spot an insect, they leap out, grab it with their legs and bite it with their venomous fangs. Members of other spider families are known to feed on these types of spiders in Chicago. 

13. White-Banded Crab Spider

Luckily, not all spiders in Chicago are harmful. Some types of spiders in Chicago have developed behaviors that help protect your house from pests, making your home safer for you and other residents. 

The white-banded crab spider is one such creature that feeds on insects and makes its home within homes all over the city.

This hardworking spider is so prolific because they don’t need much food, they can reproduce without males (which is advantageous when it comes to using stored sperm), and they hunt prey by lying and waiting until an insect gets close enough before pouncing on them.

14. Gray Cross Spiders

The gray cross spider has a body length that ranges from 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch, with a leg span of about 2 inches.

This kindling spinning arachnid usually lives under stones and logs but is also found on artificial structures such as porches, buildings, eaves, and soffits.

Gray cross spiders can make their webs using silk which they produce from spinnerets on their abdomens. 

The web is placed on low-lying vegetation near ground level and at plant stems where insects might pass.

Once prey lands in their net, the spider springs out with great speed and agility, trapping it within its strong silk mesh before wrapping it up into a ball and consuming it whole.

15. Cellar Spider

Often mistaken for a mouse, the cellar spider is a yellowish arachnid that lives in dimly lit corners. While they produce venomous bites, they are not as aggressive as other spiders and usually only bite if provoked.

The spider’s body can reach one inch in length with a long span. The bite causes extreme pain that can last for several hours.

In colder months, these types of spiders in Chicago spider migrate to their favorite locations: underneath rocks and logs and inside house pipes or piles of sticks or debris—the perfect spot for mice or roaches that it eats.

The cellar spider will return to hiding when the weather warms up until the cold winter months come around again.

16. Northern Black Widow Spider

This is one of the more dangerous spiders in North America. Females are usually larger than males and will sometimes give live birth.

When threatened, a northern black widow will display an irregularly shaped hourglass-shaped red marking on its abdomen as a form of threat display. 

The northern black wife is more likely found under stones, wood, soil, and house eaves; they are also found in barns and outbuildings.

Very few places this type can’t get into because their design allows them to enter through small openings such as door or window screens or gaps around pipes or electrical cables.

17. White-Banded Crab Spider

The white-banded crab spider is commonly found in wood piles and outside on trees, rock walls, and garden shrubs.

These types of spiders in Chicago prey on other spiders and is a unique type because it looks just like a female jumping spider when they are out hunting. 

The white-banded crab spider will wait until its prey comes close enough. Then, they will pounce and pull them down with a silk line.

The white-banded crab spider also has another hunting tactic: they will remain motionless on or near the ground while waiting for unsuspecting prey.

18. Cat-Faced Spider

Cat-faced spiders are nocturnal spiders. Unlike many other house spiders, they do not spin webs but wander around at night, seeking prey.

They have often been observed on windowsills and corners by night with their backs pressed against a surface such as glass or wood, waiting for their next victim. 

Like many other types of cat-faced spiders in Chicago inject venom into their victims through their fangs. In contrast to other house spiders, these types of spiders in Chicago do not poison their prey with a web before devouring it.

The cat-faced spider can be identified by large fangs that point downwards from its upper jaw towards its lower jaw and an orange line on the underside of its abdomen, which stretches from its mouth down to its core.

Conclusion

Most types of spiders in Chicago are nocturnal, meaning they’re active during nighttime. These include wolf spiders, orb weavers, tarantulas, and cellar spiders. It’s best to steer clear of these types if you’re not equipped with an exterminator license.

Despite their scary names and habits, most spiders don’t pose a threat to humans. Most arachnids (spiders) will avoid us unless provoked or live inside our homes—venom into their victims through their fangs. 

In contrast to other house spiders, this spider does not poison its prey with a web before devouring it. The cat-faced spider can be identified by large fangs that point downwards from its upper jaw towards its lower jaw and an orange line on the underside of its abdomen, which stretches from its mouth down to its core.

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