How to Identify Michigan Spiders

How to Identify Michigan SpidersThere are colorful spiders and dangerous spiders in Michigan. Even though a spider may be colorful, however, doesn't mean you should pick it up and play with it. A spider's bite can hurt, even though only a few cases will result in medical treatment. Spiders in Michigan can be found in all areas of the state. Pictured: Goldenrod Crab Spider (Misumena vatia).


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Look in gardens and fields to find some of the most colorful spiders in Michigan. The crab spider is yellow or white, depending on the color flower it sits on. They can also be found on stems and sometimes inside homes. They are very small and are known for being able to walk sideways, hence the name. The yellow garden spider is one of the most colorful, with a yellow body and black, brown and white markings. This spider stays in gardens, where it can spin its web and catch many small insects, such as flies and gnats.
Step 2
Be careful not to step on a grass spider as you walk in the grass. In Michigan, there are a number of types of grass spider that make their home in Michigan grasses. They can be seen during the summer months and create funnel-type webs. Grass spiders also roam to wooden fences and open fields. They are brownish-yellow.
Step 3
Look for spiral wheel-shaped webs. Orb weavers build large, round webs near fields, forests and gardens. They tend to stay low to the ground to capture their prey. The orb weaver spider is brightly colored and has eight same-sized eyes.
Step 4
Avoid the black widow. You won't run into a black widow very often in Michigan, but they do exist, and if you are bitten by one you will need to seek immediate medical attention. They are venomous and their bite can hurt badly. The black widow isn't aggressive; it will only bite if threatened. The female widow has a red hourglass shape on the bottom of her abdomen, while the male has yellow and red lines or spots on his back. The black widow stays in areas that are not disturbed very often, such as the attic or basement or even stacked boxes in a closet.
Step 5
Look in forest areas and mountains for jumping spiders in Michigan. The jumping spider gets its name for its hunting method of jumping onto its prey. Sometimes it will jump toward what it wants to investigate. These spiders don't tend to run away from humans, since they are curious spiders. They are not aggressive, however. The jumping spider is hairy and has two sets of eyes (one large and one small). They are gray and black, with various colors of markings from yellow to red.

Tips & Warnings

Even though the black widow isn't aggressive, make sure not to reach into dark areas or move boxes that have been sitting a long time without wearing gloves. This will protect you from being bitten.

Article Written By Laura Hageman

Laura Hageman has written varied articles on real estate to entertainment topics for the past three years. Hageman wrote a romantic comedy novel entitled Her Desire listed on She has written for Web sites such as CurrentForeclosures and Triond over the course of 7 years. Hageman holds a Bachelor's degree in Arts.

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