33 Types of Spiders in Tennessee

Types of Spiders in Tennessee
Photo by Marcus Lange

Whether you live in Tennessee or not, you probably know that our state has plenty of spiders hiding out all over the place (there’s no getting away from them!).

Tennessee has all kinds of spiders, from the giant wolf spider that can get as big as your hand to the tiny orb weaver that likes to chill in your garden.

Spiders may not be the cutest creatures in the world, but they aren’t exactly free, either. That being said, some spiders are far more terrifying than others. Some are even downright deadly to humans. 

So which spiders do you need to look for if you live in Tennessee? Let’s take a look at the creepiest types of spiders in Tennessee that will make your skin crawl (and keep you up at night).

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about each creepy crawly and how to deal with them if they invade your space!

Table of Contents

1. Hibana Gracilis

Named after Hibana, the volcano goddess of Japan, this spider‘s golden pattern on its abdomen is an interesting anomaly among types of spiders in Tennessee.

This makes it stand out. Once a day or so, they leave their retreat to hang under some leaves or building eaves. 

However, as they wait for prey, they sometimes wave their forelegs. What really sets this spider apart from others is what it does when it sees a fly in its web.

Instead of eating them on the spot, Hibana gracilis sits and sucks out their liquefied insides, leaving behind only the hollow shell.

2. Metacyrba Taeniola

Most spiders are harmless, and it’s easy to forget that they’re a vital part of the ecosystem. If there weren’t any spiders, we would probably have way more pests, like flies and cockroaches. 

However, it’s important to be careful around all spiders because some spider bites can cause sickness or death.

The Metacyrba taeniola is a long-legged spider among the types of spiders in Tennessee that is often seen inside homes in late summer through fall. 

These nocturnal insects will build webs near window ledges so that when nighttime falls. They can prey on crawling insects using their deadly web silk as bait. They were also featured on an episode of I Love Nature which told how these fascinating creatures live.

3. Phidippus Whitman (Huntsman Spider)

This spider, which is also known as the Huntsman Spider, can be found across North America and Central America. Some of its distinguishing characteristics are that it has a black body with large yellow stripes on the sides.

Also, those males have pedipalps that are longer than the females’. The male will use these pedipalps for hunting prey or mate. 

This type of spider usually lives between rocks and trees. While it is rarely harmful to humans, this type of spider will occasionally capture them while they sleep if they accidentally walk into its web. 

To avoid this potentially deadly situation, one should shake out their clothes before getting dressed. Or, take care to inspect their shoes before putting them on each day.

4. Tigrosa Georgicola (Giant Wood Spider)

Arachnophobes, beware, as one of the creepiest types of spiders in Tennessee can be found in many backyards. The Tigrosa georgicola, also known as the giant wood spider, is a type of tarantula that is native to Tennessee. 

These spiders are around two inches long and can live up to six years. They eat insects and other invertebrates, but luckily there have been no reports of them hurting humans.

5. Trochosa Sepulchralis (Black Widow Spider)

This arachnid is often called the Black Widow Spider. It has a nearly uniform black abdomen with the red hourglass marking found on the underside of its abdomen. It also features thick, reddish-brown legs covered with coarse bristles. 

Females can grow up to six centimeters in size. They mostly live under rocks and in logs, as well as close to streams or ponds.

Males reach 3/4 inch in body length and are usually not poisonous. They may approach and enter spider webs near females looking for mating partners.

6. Verrucosa Arenata (Arrowhead Orb-weaver)

Verrucosa arenata, also known as the Arrowhead Orb-weaver. It is among the common types of spiders in Tennessee. Found throughout North America.

They are most commonly found in wooded and shaded areas but can be seen on walls inside homes or buildings. 

Males range from 3/4 to 1 3/8. Females are larger and can grow to 2. Females will make a vertical hole for their web before laying several strands of silk nearby.

Verrucosa araneata does not have egg sacs. Instead, the eggs are carried on her abdomen for about three weeks until they hatch into tiny spiders.

7. Tigrosa Aspersa (Tiger Wolf Spider)

Tigrosa aspersa, also known as the tiger wolf spider or the feasting spider, is a large and relatively common species of jumping spider. One of the largest wolf spiders grows to around 3 cm (1 inch) in size. The name 

Tigrosa comes from its striped thorax, an arachnid feature that distinguishes it from other related genera. It has a light brown abdomen with dark brown stripes that often blur into spots at their ends. This pattern does not continue onto their carapace. 

Tarsal claws are dark brown on males but light orange-brown on females. This species lives in burrows on the ground and under logs or stones in woodland habitats.

8. Steatoda Triangulosa (Triangulate Cobweb Spider)

This six-legged, creepy-crawly spider resides mainly throughout the midwestern United States. Growing to approximately 1/2 inch, this spider’s abdomen has a reddish tinge, with light-tan lines running down its back.

It is often found near water but not in it and usually hangs out on the bark of trees or vegetation at night, looking for prey. 

This spider belongs to the Theridiidae family, also known as cobweb spiders, because they spin very strong webs that resemble those made by cribellate (wooly comb) spiders. For such a small critter, they can inflict quite a bite!

9. Steatoda Grossa (False Black Widow)

Steatoda Grossa can grow to around 1 inch. The female S. Grossa has a web that it hangs from, which catches prey. They mostly feed on beetles and stink bugs. 

Also, most females can live for about two years, and males die soon after mating. One of the terrifying spiders in Tennessee, these spiders are found all across the state, including Knoxville and Nashville!

1O. Pisaurina Mira (Nursery Web Spider)

Creepy Crawly Alert! Nursery Web Spider: The Pisaurina Mira is one of the scariest types of spiders in Tennessee. This large, brown, and black spider has been spotted in fields, backyard gardens, and caves all around the state. 

Female Nursery webs are extremely aggressive and can be identified by their fangs (the ones you see poking out from under their chelicerae or fangs).

As with many spiders, the female Nursery web bites with its fangs while her venom is injected directly into your flesh to help subdue prey.

11. Platycryptus Undatus (Tan Jumping Spider)

Known for their extreme jumping abilities, tan jumping spiders have one of the highest vertical leaps among any North American spider. They can cover a distance of six times their body length and jump 25 times their height. 

Other common names for Platycryptus undatus include brown-banded garden spider or striped cellar spider. Despite being closely related to arachnids like wolf spiders, these creatures do not usually hunt prey other than small insects.

12. Phidippus Otiosus (Canopy Jumping Spider)

Pronounced Pid-IP-puss, these spiders are about 1/2 inch long and pale brown to grayish. Their favorite hang-out is the leaves of oak trees, where they can jump 30 feet at a time. 

Watch out for Pidippus otiosus; these guys are more than just creepy. These spiders live mostly on the west coast, from California to southern Arizona and New Mexico. It can also be found as far east as North Carolina and Florida.

A female lays her eggs within her silk on any leaves of an oak tree she encounters during her wanderings before dying and abandoning them there to hatch.

13. Phidippus Audax (Bold Jumper)

This brightly colored spider is one of the largest and most common jumping spiders in the North, earning the name Bold Jumper.

They are typically black, with some red or orange on the abdomen. They have eight eyes, unlike many other types of spiders in Tennessee that have six or eight eyes.

A jump from this spider can be five times their body length. This means they can be formidable adversaries to large insects like bees.

When disturbed, a Bold Jumper will vibrate their body rapidly and try to appear larger than they are. If this doesn’t work, it may bite or scurry away from any threat until there is no danger present.

14. Neoscona Crucifera (Hentz Orb-weaver)

Possibly the most common species of orb-weaver spider found in Tennessee, the Neoscona crucifera has a variety of markings that it can take on. When mature, its abdomen has an orange stripe on it, and its head appears as if it is wearing a hood. 

In addition, females are usually orange or tan with light-colored stripes, while males are brown or greenish-brown with darker-colored stripes. It spins its webs near lights or inside dark cavities like holes and corners. 

These spiders have a strong preference for weaving their webs near street lamps. They are typically very shy and harmless towards humans. Although they have been known to bite if provoked due to feeling threatened.

15. Misumenoides Formosipes (White-banded Crab Spider)

The Misumenoides formosipes, aka white-banded crab spider, is found on plants and flowers and most easily seen when they’re getting ready to feed. This particular arachnid loves eating small insects; females are twice as large as males. 

Also, the female body length is 3 millimeters (mm) while the male’s body length is 1.5 mm. Their fuzzy front pair of legs that look like egg beaters are used to hold their prey. 

In addition, they start a feeding process that can last up to one hour with larger prey like beetles. What makes these arachnids so gross? They produce venom that liquefies the insides of their captured prey for easier digestion.

16. Lyssomanes Viridis (Magnolia Green Jumper)

This fascinating little arachnid is also known to be a cannibalistic predator. They use their strong, spiny front legs to help jump onto prey and then inject them with a potent neurotoxic venom that liquefies the insides of the victim’s body.

Once this happens, it will lap up its victim’s remains with its long hairy front legs. They then turn around and do the same thing again to another spider that just happened nearby. 

This usually becomes a very gruesome scene for anybody who is around at the time. Lyssomanes viridis can move swiftly and leap relatively long distances.

They do this to hunt down unsuspecting victims hiding among foliage. Maybe even your garden plants or somewhere outside your window panes at night!

17. Loxosceles Reclusa (Brown Recluse)

Brown recluse spiders are also one of the most poisonous types of spiders in Tennessee.  Brown Recluses don’t always inject venom when they bite.

But if they do, you can expect symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, itching, and severe localized pain. This may spread over time to other body parts (depending on how much venom was injected). 

These bites can take months to heal. When these spiders are juveniles (and less than 15-20 mm), many people mistake them for sewing needles and get pricked by them often.

It’s very important to note that this type of spider cannot survive without a regular blood meal and prefers warm dark spaces with tight sealing doors or windows.

18. Leucauge Venusta (Orchard Orb-weaver)

Leucauge venusta is a widespread orb-weaving spider found in the Southern US and up into Canada. Like many other arachnids, these types of spiders in Tennessee will lay eggs near a water source.

The young hatch as spiderlings that will then grow to adulthood and start their own webs, which may be far from the original female’s web. 

In addition to its northern range, this species can be found on several Caribbean islands. They can also be found indoors and outdoors under rocks, logs, houses, palmetto leaf mats, and banana leaves.

Also, among other similar objects where they spin their sticky webbing to catch unsuspecting prey. Prey such as flies, mosquitoes, and even honey bees!

19. Latrodectus Variolus (Northern Black Widow)

Named for the shape of its distinctive red hourglass-shaped marking on its underside, Latrodectus variolus is a member of the notorious Latrodectidae family, better known as widow spiders. 

They are among the most venomous types of spiders in Tennessee, and their bite can be fatal to humans. 

Widow spiders prefer environments with thick vegetation. So they are often found around gardens and farms or in grass or leaf piles. 

Although they love to eat insects, they will also occasionally hunt small vertebrates such as birds, chipmunks, and frogs.

A hungry widow spider would rather kill than capture prey. There’s no guarantee that it will get anything to eat if it does not subdue it with venom first.

20. Latrodectus Mactans (Southern Black Widow)

This spider’s color can range from jet black to a rusty reddish brown, with an hourglass-shaped abdomen. The female Southern Black Widow has a body that ranges between 7-14mm long, and the males are around 4mm long. 

These spiders tend to build their webs on low shrubs, among the foliage, and at the base of trees. They can be found all throughout the state of Tennessee.

21. Larinioides Cornutus (Furrow Orb-weaver)

Larinioides cornutus, also known as the Furrow Orb-weaver or Crevice Weaver, is a spider that can be found throughout Tennessee. These are highly poisonous types of spiders in Tennessee. 

There are some pictures from Arkansas from 2014, but there haven’t been any new sightings since then. Nevertheless, these photos provide plenty of spooky fuel for horror film directors to create their latest killer-spider-themed thriller.

22. Kukulcania Hibernalis (Southern House Spider)

Kukulcania hibernalis, also known as the Southern House Spider, is one of Tennessee’s more well-known venomous spiders. They are primarily found all across the southeastern portion of the state.

Also, they like to inhabit areas around buildings, porches, barns, sheds, fences, and also garden areas.

Their nests are usually burrows that have been dug out by them. It can also be an abandoned rodent burrow that these terrifying creatures have invaded. 

They are small spiders at just 3/4ths in length but can still inject venom into you with their fangs from up to six inches away. And this can lead to some really uncomfortable symptoms like headache and nausea.

23. Herpyllus Ecclesiasticus (Eastern Parson Spider)

This is a beneficial spider and is often mistakenly thought of as dangerous. They are known to dwell inside church parsonages, where they prey on silverfish. 

Also, they’re known to live under rocks or logs and like to be near water sources. The males can reach up to .75 inches in length, while the females are smaller at .5 inches.

24. Araneus Cavaticus (Giant House Spider)

These types of spiders in Tennessee can be found inside homes, sheds, barns, warehouses, garages, and greenhouses.

Their web identifies them with a tangle of fine threads spun between two separate support threads like a hammock. Adults reach up to 1 inch and are capable of biting humans if provoked or handled carelessly.

25. Gasteracantha Cancriformis (Spiny-backed Orb-weaver)

No one is safe from the most deadly types of spiders in Tennessee, even you.   Gasteracantha cancriformis (Spiny-backed Orb-weaver) is a masterful arachnid with an almost invisible web.  

It preys upon bees, dragonflies, wasps, and other types of bugs. Beware when hiking. These spiders are known to weave webs over 2 feet tall!

26. Dysdera Crocata (Woodlouse Hunter)

Woodlouse Hunter spiders are a spider that lives in warmer climates. They are mostly yellowish brown, with some parts of their bodies being white.

The males and females look very similar but have different mating organs. The female has two openings on the end of her abdomen, while the males only have one. 

These spiders usually eat woodlouses and are one of the largest types of spiders in Tennessee. Woodlouse hunters don’t spin webs, but they can be found running around on the ground or climbing plants when looking for food.

The size of this spider ranges from 4-7 millimeters long, about 1/4 inch for an adult female and 1/2 an inch for an adult male.

27. Dolomedes Tenebrosus (Dark Fishing Spider)

Dolomedes tenebrosus is one of the larger types of spiders in Tennessee, reaching a size up to three inches. Although not aggressive or harmful to humans, these nocturnal hunters have very powerful jaws that can inflict venom.

This spider typically stays close to water and vegetation and is commonly found near rivers, streams, lakes, and marshes.

The Dark Fishing Spider is often mistaken for a brown recluse due to its shoe-button eye pattern on its backside. Black widows are also commonly mistaken for Dolomedes tenebrosus.

28. Anahita Punctuata (Southeastern Wandering Spider)

Anahita punctuata is called the southeastern wandering spider or simply wandering spider. It is one of about 30 different species of wandering types of spiders in Tennessee.

However, the A. punctulata isn’t just found in North America. The spider has an extensive range from Texas to Florida. The spiders can be found at a wide variety of elevations.

Also, they are known to be stealthy, clever predators that lurk at the edge of their territory and quickly dash out to capture prey. 

These nocturnal hunters typically have a yellow-white body with a reddish brown abdomen with lighter stripes (similar to a leopard).

Female wandering spiders are around 1/3 inches long, while males average closer to 1/8 inches long.

29. Dolomedes Albineus (White-banded Fishing Spider)

Dolomedes albineus, also known as the white-banded fishing spider, is a type of spider that hunts its prey by catching it in a web. The scientific name comes from their markings, which resemble those on a fishing lure. 

Primarily, this spider feeds on small fish, crayfish and frogs but will feed opportunistically on any invertebrate that it can overpower.

While not an aggressive species, the Dolomedes albineus will defend itself if threatened by humans or predators such as herons and blue jays.

30. Cyclocosmia Truncata (Ravine Trapdoor Spider)

To make things worse, the male spiders have spikes on their feet to hold onto females. The only good thing about this spider is that it can’t fly and only eats one or two bugs a day. 

Cyclocosmia truncata has a large egg sac that lays around the lip of their burrow. So they are usually found outside. They come out at night to hunt, burrowing themselves back at dusk into the burrow.

31. Cheiracanthium Mildei (Long-legged Sac Spider)

Cheiracanthium mildei, also known as the long-legged sac spider, is a small wandering spider constructing a sac to house its eggs.

These spiders are typically orange and brown with an elongated body, long legs, and bold black bands on the abdomen. 

They like to inhabit weedy areas with lots of low shrubberies, such as dog roses, Virginia creeper, and ivy vines. 

Unlike other sac spiders that only create one-layer sacs for their egg cocoons,  Cheiracanthium mildei spiders will spin multiple layers around each cocoon. This provides insulation, making it difficult to find their eggs until they hatch.

32. Argiope Aurantia (Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

Argiope aurantia, also known as the Black and Yellow Garden Spider, is one of Tennessee’s largest types of spiders. Females growing up to 1-inch in length can seem intimidating to some people. 

But have no fear. Argiope aurantia actually uses their large webs to catch prey by chance. They generally reside near flowers and feed on nectar during the day.

This gorgeous spider can be identified by its yellow stripe across a black body. If you encounter an Argiope aurantia, it’s best not to disturb it, or its web as this could cause them harm.

33. Araneus Bicentenarius (Giant Lichen Orb-weaver)

Tennessee has over 3,000 different types of spiders, and approximately 100 live within our borders. The Giant Lichen Orb-weaver spider is one of these creatures. It spins its circular web to trap unsuspecting insects that come into contact with their icky sticky silk. 

Although not known for biting humans, these spiders pack a mean punch. Two types of venom can be delivered to unsuspecting prey.

Conclusion

Despite Tennessee’s chilly winters, there’s still plenty of warm weather throughout the year. This community is a perfect breeding ground for spiders.

Spiders are arachnids, not insects, and boast eight legs and two body parts. The abdomen and the cephalothorax contain the head, eyes, fangs, and mouth.

Also, spiders have an exoskeleton (exterior skeleton). This gives them an added layer of protection from their environment and predators like birds and lizards. The above listed are the creepiest types of spiders in Tennessee to watch out for.

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