How to Identify Spiders in Connecticut

Orb weaver on leafIt's not easy to identify spiders in Connecticut; there are over 500 species living there. However, with the use of a field guide, it's possible to closely observe a spider and be able to tell with reasonable certainty which type it is. Factors such as the size of the spider, its markings and where it's found are all important tools when trying to identify it. (Pictured: An Orb Weaver spinning a web that gently curls the apple leaf in Connecticut)


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Field guide to spiders
Step 1
Buy a field guide for identifying spiders, such as the National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Insects and Spiders of North America. It's impossible to identify spiders in Connecticut or any other state without a reliable and comprehensive guide of this nature. Books such as this are handy, and in many cases can help you to correctly identify a spider on the spot.
Step 2
Observe the size of the spider. By knowing how big a spider is, you can eliminate many species. Take careful notice of the size of the spider's body and legs when attempting to identify a particular spider.
Step 3
Look at the coloring and any markings the spider may have on its body. Many spiders can be identified by a specific marking, such as the female black widow spider, which possesses a red hourglass-shaped pattern on its underside. The garden spider found in Connecticut has a distinctive black and yellow pattern on its back that makes it quickly recognizable once you have acquainted yourself with the species.
Step 4
Pay attention to the habitat of the spider. Determine if it's living in a web or on the ground underneath a rock, such as the wolf spider does. Not all spiders weave a web and then live in it, and the ones that do have many different kinds of webs. Where the web is located is also important.
Step 5
Take a picture of the spiders you're trying to identify. It can be used for future reference and compared to the pictures that are in your field guide and on the Internet. If you suspect a spider may be a certain species, always look in the field guide to see if that kind of spider is native to Connecticut. Field guides come complete with a map that shows the range of a spider, allowing you to either confirm your thoughts or eliminate a species and continue looking for what type of spider it may be.

Tips & Warnings

Never harm a spider while trying to identify it. The vast majority of spider species in Connecticut are beneficial to the environment.

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