Common Garden Spiders
Common types of garden spiders include crab spiders, cobweb weavers, daddy longlegs, elongate long-jawed spiders, grass spiders, jumping spiders, orb weavers, sac spiders, and wolf spiders.
Crab spiders are known for their crablike appearance and sideways walk. Some species are found on flowers and plants, while others are more commonly encountered on the ground. They will lie in wait for their prey and attack it when it happens by. They have an elaborate coat of camouflage that often matches the places where they wait for prey. some species even have the ability to change colors.
Cobweb weavers are often found in gardens. They build their webs in secluded areas where they will be protected from the elements. They hang upside down in their webs to await prey. Cobweb weavers are sometimes mistaken for the black widow, but they are not dangerous to people.
Many people may be surprised to learn that daddy longlegs are actually not spiders. However, they are closely related and resemble spiders, particularly because of their eight legs. Unlike spiders, daddy longlegs do not bite humans and lack venom glands. They also do not build webs. Daddy longlegs are usually not active during the day, but begin to search for food around dusk. Due to their similar appearance, daddy longlegs are often confused with cellar spiders.
Elongate long-jawed spiders also build orb webs, which are open in the center. They tend to construct these so that they are facing the sun.
Grass spiders build funnel-like webs near the ground in grassy fields or yards. The spider hides in the narrow end of the funnel, and when it feels the vibration from an insect or other spider, it hurries out to attack the prey.
Jumping spiders do not build webs to catch their prey, but hunt for it in gardens or indoor areas. These spiders have excellent vision and the ability to jump as much as 20 times their body length. They can move quickly backwards and sideways for short distances. They are active during the daytime and pounce upon prey.
Orb weavers create the well-known webs of concentric circles that most people think of when picturing a spider web. The webs are used to capture various types of insects. These spiders have poor vision, but are able to attack prey by feeling the vibrations in the web. Orb weavers are also known as garden spiders and there are several varieties of them.
Sac spiders do not construct webs, but build sacs or flattened tubes for retreat. These can be found outdoors under debris or on outbuildings. Indoors, they will construct them in upper corners and ceilings. These spiders wander on the ground and on plants and considered beneficial in controlling other garden pests.
Wolf spiders got their name because they hunt and chase their prey, usually at night. They do not build webs. These spiders are often found in gardens or open areas and prefer to live in places that are shaded by vegetation. There are over 100 species of wolf spider in the United States.