11 Spiders in Maryland | Identification, and Risk

Arachnid species come in a variety of colors, sizes, patterns, and shapes. Despite popular beliefs, most spiders are not harmful to humans and many actively avoid urban habitats. 

This article lists some of the most common spiders in Maryland, highlighting what they look like, where they can be found, and how dangerous they are.

Most Venomous Spider in Maryland

1. Black Widow Spider

Black Widow Spider
Black Widow spider in its web
Credit: Ken-ichi Ueda

Scientific Name: Latrodectus variolus 

Entirely black, these spiders are characterized by their iconic red, hourglass shape that adorns their abdomens. 

Where Will They Be Hiding? 

Black widow spiders favor dark and woody areas. They commonly frequent log piles, crevices, and low shrubs. Indoors, they may make their homes behind or under furniture, and in clothes and shoes. 

Are They Dangerous? 

The black widow’s venom is 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake. In humans, their bites can cause muscle aches, nausea, and paralysis of the diaphragm. The bites can be fatal to young children, the elderly, and vulnerable people. 

Females are larger and more dangerous than males. They tend to bite humans out of self-defense. 

Only around 4 to 8 people die per year from black widow bites.

Common Spiders in Maryland

2. Dark Fishing Spider

Dark Fishing Spider
Dark Fishing Spider sitting amongst leaves
Credit: Mangodreads

Scientific Name: Dolomedes tenebrosus 

Dark fishing spiders are a mottled light and dark brown pattern. They have hairy, stripy legs whilst their oval-shaped abdomen is decorated with repeating M-shaped patterns. This species is the largest spider that is native to Maryland. A female dark fishing spider can reach 26mm in length. 

Where Will They Be Hiding? 

As may be inferred by their name, these spiders live in woody, wetland habitats so they are in close proximity to their aquatic prey. During the winter months, these spiders may venture into urban areas where buildings can provide warmth.

Are They Dangerous? 

Similarly to many species of spiders, dark-fishing spiders tend to avoid human contact. Although they are capable of delivering venom, their bite is not harmful to humans.

3. Crab Spider

Crab Spider
Spider on a plant
Credit: Olaf Leillinger

Scientific Name: Misumena vatia

The crab spider has a bulbous abdomen. They get their name from their ability to walk sideways in a crab-like fashion. Their front legs are longer and stronger than the rest. These spiders are yellow or white in color, depending on the flower they hunt upon. Females possess the ability to change color, to maximize their camouflage. 

Where Will They Be Hiding?

Crab spiders do not make webs but sit and wait to ambush predators using their strong, front legs. They inhabit gardens, grasslands, and woodlands where they are found on a variety of plant species. Milkweed and goldenrod are among some of their favorite plants. 

Are They Dangerous?

Whilst their venom is powerful enough to kill prey much larger than themselves, it is not dangerous to humans. Their mouthparts and fangs are too small to pierce human skin.

4. Triangulate Cobweb Spider

Triangulate Cobweb Spider
Triangulate Cobweb Spider walking along the floor
Credit: Syrio

Scientific Name: Steatoda triangulosa

The triangulate cobweb spider has a brown-orange abdomen adorned with a zig-zag pattern. They have long and spindly yellow-brown legs.

Where Will They Be Hiding? 

Cobweb spiders are primarily found in houses, basements, and garages. They build their tangle of webs in dark corners and under furniture. They are more frequently found in man-made structures than they are outside. 

Are They Dangerous?

Triangulate cobweb spiders are not generally aggressive. Despite being in the same family as the widows, they are not harmful to humans. There are no known cases of human envenomation. 

5. Wolf Spider

Wolf Spider
Wolf Spider walking over stones
Credit: Judy Gallagher

Scientific Name: Lycosidae spp. 

Wolf spiders are mottled sandy brown, allowing them to blend into their surroundings. 

They are so-called because they pounce on their prey in a wolf-like manner, instead of spinning webs. 

Where Will They Be Hiding? 

Wolf spiders live on the ground and can be found hiding in plants and crevices. If they enter your home, they may hide around doors and windows, among houseplants, and in basements and garages. 

Are They Dangerous? 

Wolf spiders are generally not aggressive toward humans. If they do bite, their venom is not poisonous to humans, but because they are fairly large the bite itself may be painful. 

6. Sac Spider

Sac Spider
Sac Spider on a leaf
Credit: Holger Gröschl

Scientific Name: Clubiona trivialis 

The sac spider has a large, oval-shaped abdomen. They range from pale, creamy yellow to red-brown in color. 

Where Will They Be Hiding? 

Sac spiders construct silk tubes or sacs in which they reside. These are often located in plants, log piles, or ceiling corners. They can frequently be observed crawling along vertical surfaces. 

Are They Dangerous?

The sac spider is a fairly aggressive species and can readily bite even when unprovoked. Their powerful jaws can easily penetrate human skin. Their venom produces mild, local cytotoxic and neurotoxic effects. Nonetheless, no fatal incidents have been recorded. 

7. Bold Jumping Spider

Bold Jumping Spider
Bold Jumping Spider Sat on a leaf
Credit: Brian Tomlinson

Scientific Name: Phidippus auxdax

Bold jumping spiders are a metallic black color overall. Their round abdomen is covered in a pattern of spots which are usually orange in juveniles and white in adults.

The mouthparts of these spiders are a brilliant, iridescent green-blue. They have amazing depth perception thanks to their forward facing eyes. They are hairy and fairly large, with females reaching 20mm in length. 

Where Will They Be Hiding? 

Open habitats including meadows, parks, and woodland edges are where this spider will be hiding. Rather than building webs, these spiders chase and pounce on their prey. It is from this hunting technique that this spider got its name.

Flat habitats and surfaces are favored by the bold jumping spider, meaning they often venture into gardens. Occasionally they may enter urban buildings where they are likely to frequent windowsill corners.

Are They Dangerous?

The bold-jumping spider is not known for being aggressive toward humans. The venom they contain is not dangerous to people, although the bite itself may result in itching or redness.

8. Spotted Orb Weaver Spider

Spotted Orb Weaver Spider
Spotted Orb Weaver Spider in its web
Credit: Kilarin

Scientific Name: Neoscona crucifera 

Spotted orb weaver spiders are red-brown in color. They get their name from the orb-shaped web they construct. Their abdomen is faintly patterned and their legs are back and brown striped. 

Where Will They Be Hiding?

Spotted orb weaver spiders are commonly found in our homes, especially during the autumn and winter months. Fences, window frames, and guttering are some man-made structures they can live in. 

Are They Dangerous?

Spotted orb webbed spiders are not considered a threat to humans. Although they contain venom, it is not powerful enough to harm people and they seldom bite.

9. Cellar Spider

Cellar Spider
Cellar Spider with egg sac
Credit: Ryan Hodnett

Scientific Name: Pholcus phalangioides 

Cellar spiders are a combination of different shades of brown. They are also known as ‘daddy long-leg spiders’ due to their thin abdomen and long, spindly legs, that reach 2 inches long. 

Where Will They Be Hiding? 

Cellar spiders are found almost exclusively indoors. They spin loose, messy webs in the corners of ceilings. 

Are They Dangerous? 

Whilst cellar spiders so have venom, they are not deadly to humans. Their jaws are too weak to pierce through human skin and their venom is not harmful to us.

10. Woodlouse Spider

Woodlouse Spider
Woodlouse Spider climbing along a rock
Credit: Mvuijlst

Scientific Name: Dysdera crocata

The woodlouse spider is also known as the woodlouse hunter, sowbug hunter, sowbug killer, pillbug hunter, and slater spider. 

Woodlouse spiders have a red-orange thorax and legs and a brown abdomen. 

Where Will They Be Hiding?

Woodlice make up the majority of this spider’s diet. As such, they are found in dark, damp areas such as log piles and leaf litter, where woodlice are abundant. They may occur in gardens but tend to avoid houses. 

Are They Dangerous? 

Although they look intimidating, woodlouse spiders are not dangerous to humans. There have been cases of people being bitten when handling these spiders, but their venom is not fatal to humans. Localized itching may occur and the powerful bite gives a painful pinch.

11. Black and Yellow Garden Spider

Black and Yellow Garden Spider
Black and Yellow Garden Spider in its web
Credit: Thaddeus Fisher

Scientific Name: Argiope aurantia 

The black and yellow garden spider is known by a variety of names. These include the golden garden spider, writing spider, zigzag spider, corn spider, Steeler spider, and McKinley spider. 

Striking black and yellow markings cover its oval-shaped abdomen. Their legs are striped red and black. 

Where Will They Be Hiding?

Black and yellow garden spiders commonly build their webs in gardens. They favor open areas with some vegetation. They also inhabit outbuildings and can be found along the eaves of houses. 

Are They Dangerous? 

The venom black and yellow garden spiders possess is used to immobilize their prey. However, it is not harmful to humans and they seldom bit people. 

You will also have fun reading Spiders in Virginia | Identification, and Risk

Other Spiders Native to Maryland

  • Black Footed Yellow Sac Spider (Cheiracanthium inclusum)
  • Furrow Spider (Larinioides cornutus)
  • Common House Spider (Parasteadtoda tepidariorum)
  • American Nursery Web Spider (Pisaurina mira)
  • Orchard Spider (Leucauge argyrobapta)