Wyoming is known for its rugged scenery, including mountains, hot springs, and forests. The Equality State is also home to many different kinds of plants and animals, ranging from bison to mountain lions. The state also has more than its fair share of spiders. From orb weavers to ground spiders, you can find all sorts of arachnids in Wyoming. Here is a list of 10 spiders in Wyoming that you can find throughout The Equality State.
#10: Carolina Wolf Spider
The Carolina wolf spider, Hogna carolinensis, is a member of the wolf spider family Lycosidae. It is widely distributed throughout most of North America.
Carolina wolf spiders are one of the largest spiders in Wyoming. Adult females range from 22 to 35 millimeters long, while males measure between 18 and 20 millimeters long. With their legs extended, they can easily reach up to 50 millimeters long. They appear predominantly light brown aside from several dark markings. Additionally, the males feature orange sides.
Like other members of their family, Carolina wolf spiders actively hunt for food instead of using webs to catch their prey. They typically hide inside their burrows and then ambush unsuspecting prey that wanders too close. However, they will also sometimes chase down their prey. Their unique venom can both paralyze and disinfect their prey but does not pose any significant threat to humans.
#9: Daring Jumping Spider
Phidippus audax, or the daring jumping spider, also goes by the name the bold jumping spider or bold jumper. It belongs to the jumping spider family Salticidae and ranges throughout most of North America.
Female daring jumping spiders tend to measure around 11 millimeters long, and males typically measure about 8 millimeters long. They appear primarily black except for a variety of colorful markings on the abdomen that range from yellow to red to blue. Meanwhile, the mouthparts, or chelicerae, are quite large and look metallic blue-green.
Daring jumping spiders are one of the most agile spiders in Wyoming. They get their name from the fact that they can leap nearly 50 times their body length, which is much further than other jumping spiders. Their keen eyesight augments their jumping prowess and allows them to hunt prey effectively. Due to their small size, their bite is not medically significant.
#8: Shamrock Orb Weaver
The shamrock orb weaver, Araneus trifolium, belongs to the orb-weaver family Araneidae. You can find these spiders in Wyoming and throughout much of the United States and Canada.
Adult shamrock orb weavers can reach up to 19 millimeters long, with females typically measuring larger than males. They look primarily light brown or beige but come in a variety of different colors. That said, the abdomen can look either pale green, yellow, or orange and features numerous distinctive white markings.
Shamrock orb weavers make radial-style webs that can measure up to 2 feet wide. They use their webs to catch prey during the day and then rebuild any damage at night. Their bite is not considered medically significant. At worst, bite symptoms may cause some mild pain or swelling.
#7: Red-Spotted Ant Mimic Spider
Castianeira descripta, or the red-spotted ant mimic spider, is a member of the corrinid spider family Corinnidae. You can find it throughout most of the United States, mostly in shrubs or wooded areas near anthills.
Female red-spotted ant mimics typically measure about 13 millimeters long, with males measuring noticeably smaller. They look primarily black except for a reddish-brown mark near the rear of the abdomen. People occasionally confuse them for black widows due to their similar appearance. However, unlike black widows, red-spotted ant mimics feature a distinctive white stripe down the middle of the carapace.
Red-spotted ant mimics utilize one of the most unique prey capture methods of all the spiders in Wyoming. Instead of using webs or chasing their prey, they impersonate ants by using their front legs like antennae. This allows them to sneak up on and ambush their prey without drawing attention to themselves.
#6: Hobo Spider
The hobo spider, Tegenaria agrestis, belongs to the funnel web spider family Agelenidae. It is widely distributed throughout parts of Europe, North America, and Central Asia. According to some rumors, it travels by hitching rides in cars and other vehicles, hence its name.
Adult specimens generally measure from 7 to 14 millimeters long, with males tending to measure smaller than females. They appear predominantly brown except for several V-shaped markings down the center of their abdomens. Additionally, they typically feature a light stripe in the middle of their sternums.
Hobo spiders make funnel-shaped webs that they use to help them catch prey. They typically wait at the back of the funnel and then rush forward to attack insects that wander too close. Due to several rumors about their bite, many people consider them one of the more dangerous spiders in Wyoming. In reality, their bite generally poses no threat to humans.
#5: Western Black Widow
Latrodectus hesperus is well-known as the western black widow. It belongs to the cobweb spider family Theridiidae and is one of the most dangerous spiders in Wyoming. As its name implies, it is widely distributed throughout western North America.
Adult females typically measure from 14 to 16 millimeters long, while males measure about half that size. The body looks almost entirely black aside from a colored hourglass-shaped marking on the abdomen. This marking generally appears red, but can also look yellow or white depending on the specimen.
Western black widows make tangled cobwebs that they use to catch their prey. While not known to act aggressively, they can and will bite if they get tangled in clothes or threatened. Their neurotoxic venom can cause latrodectism with symptoms including pain, nausea, and fever. That said, most bites do not prove medically significant, but it’s still wise to seek medical attention.
#4. Rabbit Hutch Spider
The rabbit hutch spider, Steatoda bipunctata, is the second member of the family Theridiidae to make our list of spiders in Wyoming. It is widely distributed throughout most of North America and Europe.
Adult rabbit hutch spiders average about 8 millimeters long, although males typically measure smaller than females. The large abdomen looks mostly brown except for a pale white line down the center and another across the front. While females appear dull-colored, males look quite glossy. People often confuse them for black widows, which is why they sometimes go by the name false widows.
Rabbit hutch spiders prefer to live in dry, dark spaces such as basements, sheds, or rabbit hutches, hence their name. In these places, they build messy cobwebs that they use to capture their prey. Due to their small size, their bite is not considered dangerous to humans.
#3. Arabesque Orb Weaver
Neoscona arabesca, or the arabesque orb weaver, is the second orb-weaver to make our list of spiders in Wyoming. Despite its name, it does not live in the Arabian peninsula but rather ranges throughout North America and Europe.
Female arabesque orb weavers range from 5 to 7 millimeters long, while males measure slightly smaller at about 5 to 6 millimeters long. They vary in color from orange to brown to grey or black. The abdomen features numerous markings that faintly resemble the swirls and curves common in North Africa and Middle Eastern artwork, hence their name.
Like other orb weavers, they make large orb webs that they use to catch their prey. You can often find them in gardens, fields, or other wooded areas with sufficient vegetation to host their webs. Their bite is not considered medically significant, and they rarely, if ever, attack humans.
#2: Deadly Ground Crab Spider
The deadly ground crab spider, Xysticus funestus, is a member of the crab spider family Thomisidae. You can find these spiders in Wyoming and throughout most of the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
Adult females typically measure about 10 millimeters long. Meanwhile, males only measure about half that size. They appear predominantly orangish except for several dark markings on the abdomen. Their long, curved legs enable them to walk forward, sideways and backward like a crab.
Deadly ground crabs are active hunters that don’t use webs to catch their prey. Their preferred hunting method involves ambushing insects that wander by grabbing them with their powerful legs. Their venom and strong legs allow them to take down prey much larger than themselves. Despite their intimidating name, their bite poses no threat to humans aside from some mild pain and swelling.
#1. Mouse Spider
Scotophaeus blackwalli, or the mouse spider, is a member of the ground spider family Gnaphosidae. You can find these spiders in Wyoming as well as much of the United States and parts of Europe. It shares its name with the more venomous mouse spiders of Australia and Chile but is not closely related.
Adult females can reach up to 12 millimeters long, while males can measure up to 9 millimeters long. The carapace appears dark brown while the abdomen looks more velvety-grey. Their quick, darting movements and hairy texture lead people sometimes to mistake them for mice, hence their name.
Like other ground spiders, mouse spiders actively hunt for food instead of using webs to catch their prey. They hunt by using their silk as a net to grab their prey. Additionally, they will also sometimes scavenge dead insects and other spiders.