South Florida is home to numerous species of spiders. Each of these spiders is unique and easily identifiable. Whether you reside in southern Florida or are just visiting, finding and recognizing these creatures is a good way to learn more about the region's ecosystem.
One of the most common spiders found in South Florida is also one of its most distinct. The spinybacked orbweaver spider, also known as the crab spider, is white and black with six reddish spines that protrude from the body. Female spinybacked orbweavers are 5 to 9 millimeters in length, and 10 to 13 millimeters wide. Males are much smaller. They are found in parks and backyards. The spider gets its name from the orb-shaped web it spins.
The most common spider in the Florida region is the orchard spider. Somewhat smaller than the spinybacked orbweaver, the orchard spider has a long abdomen with markings that are green, silver, yellow or bright orange. They prefer to reside in areas that are not well-manicured, such as parks and overgrown lawns. The orchard spider has a distinct, long jaw and often lives in webs clustered near spiders of the same species.
The spitting spider, unlike the spinybacked orbweaver and orchard spider, does not spin webs. In fact, the spitting spider lives in a tubular lair, emerging only at night to spit out a substance that immobilizes their prey so that they can kill them. Spitting spiders are easily identified by their six eyes and domed backs. They are most often brown. Spitting spiders prefer to live in and around trees, or in houses that do not use air conditioning.
Also known as the funnelweb spider, the grass spider commonly lives around homes. These spiders tend to be shy and not easily seen. They get their name for the funnel-shaped web they weave. They have long legs that are banded with rings. These spiders are venomous, but if you are bit, the venom will do little more than cause mild skin irritation.
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