How to Identify Spiders in Nebraska

How to Identify Spiders in NebraskaNebraskans are lucky in the fact that they have a wide variety of colorful and harmless spiders. Although most species of these spiders have undeniably creepy features, they generally wreak their havoc on smaller insects and leave people alone. But while most spiders in Nebraska are peaceful creatures, there are a few which are actually quite deadly. It is important to be able to recognize the difference in these varieties, as you never know when you might encounter one. (Pictured: Bold Jumping Spider)


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Get Out Your Magnifying Glass

Things You’ll Need:
  • Gloves
  • Magnifying Glass
Step 1
Put on protective gloves. Even though you should never touch the spider, it is still necessary to take precautions against getting bitten.
Step 2
Look for oversized fangs in the front of the spider's body. If the spider you have found is a reddish or dark, flesh-like color with intimidating fangs, it is most likely a woodlouse hunter. While this spider looks quite dangerous, it is actually a peaceful creature that frequently lives under and around the bases of buildings and hunts for insects at night.
Step 3
Determine if the spider is very large or has brown hairs covering its entire body. The wolf spider is well-known in Nebraska because of its tendency to grow to outstanding sizes. Like the woodlouse hunter, it also hunts insects without using a web. This means that they are more nomadic and often show up in strange places, but they are not poisonous.
Step 4
Search around the area for a web of impressive size. Garden spiders are very common in the Midwest and frequently spin very large and ornate webs in which to catch their prey. These spiders often have very bright markings such as yellow and black and are also harmless to humans.
Step 5
Look for a red marking on the lower abdomen if the spider is solid black in color with thin legs. This red, hourglass-shaped marking indicates that the spider is a female of the black widow variety. The males of this species typically are lighter in color and don't always have any easily identifiable characteristics. Beware, as males and females are highly poisonous.
Step 6
Examine the back of a light brown spider for a "fiddle" shape. The darkened pigmentation of the brown recluse usually forms the general shape of a fiddle on the cephalothorax. These spiders also have three rows of eyes in pairs, unlike many other species of spiders in Nebraska. Use extreme caution when dealing with a brown recluse, as they are highly poisonous and their bites are often fatal.

Tips & Warnings

Search in cool, dark places if you want to find spiders in Nebraska. Most spiders have soft bodies and retain their water by keeping out of the direct sunlight.
Never pick up or touch a spider with your bare hands even if you know it is harmless. Spiders often change and take on different appearances throughout their development, and adolescent spiders can be just as dangerous as adults.
Be aware if you choose to use a pesticide to kill spiders in or around your home. Some pesticides are not formulated for safe use around children or pets and can potentially cause more damage than spiders.

Article Written By Jakki Rochelle

Jakki Rochelle has been writing professionally for more than five years, with work featured in "Lines Academic Journal." Rochelle attends a university in central Kansas, where she will graduate with bachelor's degrees in English and sociology.

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