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Spider Monday: Exotic Spiders


Heteropoda venatoria, a large huntsman spider introduced from Asia. I shared my mosquito rearing rooms in Florida with these monsters, who presumably ate the large American Cockroaches (also introduced) who lived there.

Thanks to global trade and human movement, you no longer need to travel the world to see the world of spiders. There are many introduced and exotic species in our own backyards. In fact, some of the most common spiders we see every day in North America are introduced from elsewhere. This page on BugGuide, compiled by Beatriz Moisset, served as a great reference; there are more than 57 species listed.

I have to wonder what kind competitive effects these introduced predators have had on the native fauna. Some of them are by far the most numerous spiders in a given habitat, and they must have pushed out some of the native species.  As far as I know, this topic has received little study, although why that should be the case, I am not sure.

Anyway, here are some of the exotic spiders i have encountered over the years. I hope you enjoy them on this Spider Monday!


This is a Huntsman female I kept as a pet. My one attempt to get her a boyfriend ended badly, as he was quickly seized and devoured in a gruesome rejection scene.


Pholcus phalangioides, the Longbodied Cellar Spider is also probably introduced.


Philodromus dispar male. These dapper fellows must have a rough life, as many times I find them with missing legs.

Philodromus dispar female

The female Philodromus dispar are more conventionally attired.

The Giant House Spider, Tegenaria duellica (also referred to as T. gigantea), is one of the most common spiders in urban BC. If someone tells you they found this “really huge spider” 9 times out of 10 it is this!


The less boldly-marked congener, Tegenaria agrestis, is commonly called the Hobo Spider.


There are several therediids introduced to North America as well, perhaps none so notorious as the brown widow, Latrodectus geometricus. This spider gets a bad rap for being dangerous, but its only crime is to its spider brethren. They can be exceedingly abundant, and probably compete strongly with the native tangle web-weaving spiders.


They are extraordinarily fecund: all these egg sacs seem to have been laid by a single female. The brown widow egg sacs always have this shape reminiscent of an anti-shipping mine.


Even some of the jumping spiders are introduced. Here is Salticus scenicus, the so-called zebra jumper.

Menemerus bivittatus

In Florida, I encountered Menemerus bivittatus, the grey wall jumper.

sitticus fasciger

This is Sitticus fasciger, a jumping spider from Asia that seems to be spreading.