There are over 1,000 species of spiders found throughout the state of Wisconsin. Some are quite rare, so it’s highly unlikely that you’ll run into them when weeding your garden. Others, however, are found throughout most of the state.

You may also be wondering about venomous spiders in Wisconsin. The good news is that of the 15 most commonly found spiders, only two have venom that is harmful to humans. Keep reading to learn more about the spiders that you are likely to see in Wisconsin!


Top 15 Spiders Found in Wisconsin

1. Northern Black Widow

Northern Black Widow
Image Credit: Sean McVey, Shutterstock
Species:Latrodectus variolus
Longevity:1 to 3 years
Kept as pets?:No
Adult size:4 mm to 11 mm
Diet:Flies, mosquitoes, beetles, grasshoppers

The northern black widow is known for their appearance. They are black with a red hourglass shape on their back. This is one of only two venomous spiders found in Wisconsin. They often hide in dry, dark places.

Although their bite is ultimately only fatal about 1% of the time, it can be extremely painful and can cause other effects in humans, such as nausea, muscle aches, and breathing difficulties.

2. Brown Recluse

Brown Recluse Spider_Nick626_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Nick626, Shutterstock
Species:Loxosceles reclusa
Longevity:2 to 4 years
Kept as pets?:No
Adult size:¼ to ½ inch
Diet:Insects, other spiders

The brown recluse is not native to Wisconsin. However, they can be transported to the state on trucks, in produce, and through other means. They are noticeable for the violin-shaped markings on their back. The brown recluse typically hides in dark, dry places. Their bite can leave lasting tissue damage and scars. Most people recover, but you should seek immediate medical attention if you are bitten by one.

3. Common House Spider

common house spider
Image Credit: bernswaelz, Pixabay
Species:Parasteatoda tepidariorum
Kept as pets?:No
Adult size:3/16 to 5/16 inch

As their name implies, the common house spider typically spins their web near humans. They build messy webs that catch other household pests, like mosquitoes, gnats, and moths. The male has yellow legs, while the female has orange. The rest of their body is brownish-grey. They can bite but they aren’t venomous.

4. Giant House Spider

Giant house spider on white background
Image Credit: siala, Pixabay
Species:Eratigena atrica
Longevity:2 to 3 years
Kept as pets?:No
Adult size:2 to 3 inches (including legs)
Diet:Flies, wasps, moths

These large house spiders are quite harmless, despite their somewhat frightening appearance. Their bodies are beige to brown, and they may have some orange on their legs. They also have small hairs on their legs and abdomens. They can move quickly if they feel threatened and are more likely to hide than to bite.

5. Tan Jumping Spider

Tan Jumping Spider front view_SwastikEs_Shutterstock
Image Credit: SwastikEs, Shutterstock
Species:Platycryptus undatus
Longevity:1 year
Kept as pets?:No
Adult size:⅓ to ½ inch
Diet:Other spiders

The tan jumping spider is brown, white, or tan with grey or black spots. Their appearance helps them camouflage themselves from predators. These spiders are common snacks for birds, reptiles, and mammals in the wild, so their color is their best defense. Their eyes are also a helpful form of protection, as they can see 360 degrees around them.

6. Yellow Garden Spider

yellow garden spider
Image Credit: Roland Steinmann, Pixabay
Species:Argiope aurantia
Longevity:1 year
Kept as pets?:No
Adult size:⅕ to 1 inch
Diet:Grasshoppers, flies, bees

The yellow garden spider has a black body with yellow markings on the abdomen. They are found throughout the United States and Canada. Their abundance is due to the fact that females lay up to 3,000 eggs at a time! They are not venomous, although they will bite if disturbed.

7. Zebra Back Spider

A Zebra Back Spider (Salticus scenicus) on a stone wall
Image Credit: David James Chatterton, Shutterstock
Species:Salticus scenicus
Longevity:2 to 3 years
Venomous?:Yes, but cannot harm humans
Kept as pets?:No
Adult size:⅕ to ⅓ inch
Diet:Mosquitoes, flies

As their name implies, the zebra back spider resembles a zebra. They have black bodies with white stripes. They are one of the few spider species that don’t build webs. They hunt during the daytime by stalking prey and pouncing on it. They also have much better eyesight than most spiders do, which helps them hunt food.

8. Black-footed Yellow Sac Spider

Black footed yellow sac spider
Image Credit: Brett Hondow, Pixabay
Species:Cheiracanthium inclusum
Longevity:1 to 2 years
Venomous?:Yes, but cannot harm humans
Kept as pets?:No
Adult size:¾ to 1 inch
Diet:Insects, other spiders

These spiders are pale yellow or beige, with black or dark brown markings on their feet. Like the zebra back spider, they don’t spin webs. They stalk and attack prey at night and won’t hesitate to eat other spider species. Instead of relying on their vision, these spiders rely on vibrations in the ground to find prey.

9. Bold Jumper

Spider picture Bold Jumper Spider
Image Credit: Chandler Bakken, Shutterstock
Species:Phidippus audax
Longevity:1 to 2 years
Kept as pets?:No
Adult size:¼ to ½ inch
Diet:Boll weevils, bollworms, other bugs

The bold jumping spider is named for their ability to jump and capture prey. While they don’t spin webs for hunting, they do release silk threads when they jump that can help break their fall if they miss their prey. These spiders are black with white banding on their legs and white spots on their bodies.

10. Six-Spotted Fishing Spider

Six-Spotted Fishing (Dock) Spider frontal view
Image Credit: Michael Benard, Shutterstock
Species:Dolomedes triton
Longevity:1 year
Venomous?:Yes, but their venom isn’t toxic to humans
Kept as pets?:No
Adult size:60 to 110 mm
Diet:Small fish and aquatic insects

These spiders are semi-aquatic. They lurk on the edges of bodies of water, on docks, and in bushes. They can run across the top of the water, using the surface tension to stay afloat. They have grey or brown bodies with white stripes and spots. Since they are small, they can sometimes be eaten by dragonflies and wasps.

11. Banded Garden Spider

banded garden argiope spider
Image Credit: Protasov AN, Shutterstock
Species:Argiope trifasciata
Longevity:Less than 1 year
Venomous?:Yes, but not to humans
Kept as pets?:No
Adult size:9 to 14 mm
Diet:Wasps, grasshoppers

The tiny banded garden spider has a black body with white bands around their back and legs. They can trap prey that is larger than themselves by injecting it with poison. These spiders can’t survive in cold weather and die in the winter. They are preyed upon by birds, larger spiders, and reptiles.

12. Triangulate Cobweb Spider

Triangulate Cobweb Spider (Steatoda triangulosa)
Image Credit: Timelynx, Shutterstock
Species:Steatoda triangulosa
Longevity:1 to 3 years
Venomous?:Yes, not toxic to humans
Kept as pets?:No
Adult size:⅛ to ¼ inch
Diet:Small insects, other spiders

The triangulate cobweb spider is commonly found in homes throughout Europe, North America, and New Zealand. They are black or brown, with white and yellow triangles on their abdomens. They are tiny and like to hide in the dark corners of man-made structures. These spiders are actually quite useful to humans because they eat brown recluse spiders, ticks, and fire ants.

13. Giant Lichen Orb-weaver

Large spider on tree branch, Giant Lichen Orb Weaver, select focus, isolated close up.
Image Credit: Cathleen Wake Gorbatenko, Shutterstock
Species:Araneus bicentenarius
Longevity:1 to 2 years
Venomous?:Not to humans
Kept as pets?:No
Adult size:1 inch

The giant lichen orb-weaver is named not for their size, but for the size of their web. They spin giant webs that can span up to 8 feet! They do most of their web-spinning at night. They then wait on the edge of these webs for prey to become entangled. These orb-weavers are grey with orange and black banded legs.

14. Dark Fishing Spider

Dark Fishing Spider (Dolomedes tenebrosus)
Image Credit: Jason Patrick Ross, Shutterstock
Species:Dolomedes tenebrosus
Longevity:1 to 2 years
Kept as pets?:No
Adult size:¼ to 1 inch
Diet:Small fish, aquatic insects

These spiders are brown with lighter chevron-patterned markings. They have brown and reddish bands on their legs and two rows of eyes. The female can lay over 1,000 eggs at a time. When they hatch, the baby spiders actually stay close to their mothers in a nursery web until they are a little larger. Both the mother and the babies will usually feast on the male, which usually dies after mating.

15. Striped Fishing Spider

Striped Fishing Spider (Dolomedes scriptus)
Image Credit: Chris Dale, Shutterstock
Species:Dolomedes scriptus
Longevity:1 year
Venomous?:Not harmful to humans
Kept as pets?:No
Adult size:5 to 6 inches
Diet:Small insects

These large spiders are pale brown with white or darker brown stripes on their legs and bodies. They are not web-spinners; instead, they stalk and hunt their prey. Due to their large size, these spiders have more difficulties hiding from predators. They are often eaten by birds and snakes.


Final Thoughts

There are many species of spiders found in Wisconsin. Some don’t spin webs at all, while others can spin webs that span up to 8 feet. Although many people are afraid of spiders, there are only two species in Wisconsin that warrant caution. Other than the brown recluse and the northern black widow, no other species have venom that is likely to cause you harm if you happen to be bitten by a spider on your next hike or fishing trip.

Featured Image Credit: redcctshirt, Pixabay