Spiders are air-breathing arthropods that have eight legs and chelicerae with fangs able to inject venom. There are several species of spiders that are commonly found in Missouri.
Missouri spider family
One of the more dangerous spiders in the United States.
Though they are not necessarily aggressive, black widows’ bites can be very harmful. Death seldom results from a black widow’s bite in healthy adults. However, children and elderly are vulnerable. A black widow’s bite is immediately painful and other symptoms such as headache, dizziness, abdominal and back pain are sure to follow.
They weave tangled webs of coarse silk in dark, quiet locations; such as: garages, porches, crawl spaces, and sheds.
A black widow can be easily identified by their large, round, shiny black abdomens usually decorated with an hour glasslike shape on the belly.
This spider gets its name due to the fact it avoids parts of rooms where human activity is prevalent.
The Brown Recluse bite can be harmful. Their bites are usually sharp but not initially painful. Death from their bite is extremely rare, but the bite is debilitating and psychologically traumatic in severe cases.
The Brown Recluse is a very common spider in the Midwest and is commonly located in low activity areas of the home.
It can be identified by its oval abdomen that is uniformly tan to brown without marking. A dark fiddle shaped mark can be found on the cephalothorax (head) with the broad base of the fiddle beginning at the eyes and the narrow fiddle neck ending just above the abdomen.
Though not originally native to the United States, the Yellow House Spider is rather common.
The spider is about ¼ inch long, with legs and head (cephalothorax) darker than the abdomen. It is known to be yellow, white, or greenish.
During the fall these spiders are known to migrate into structures and automobiles. This spider will bite if pressed or accidentally confined (usually during victim’s sleep).
The venom from the bite can cause pain and reddening at the site of the bite. However, the bite is much less severe than that of a Brown Recluse.
This type of spider includes wolf spiders, jumping spiders, and crab spiders.
Wolf spiders are hairy in nature and very common outdoors in their normal habitat under leaf litter, rocks, and logs. They tend to migrate into structures at ground level, especially in the fall and winter.Their bite can hurt but it is not dangerous.
Jumping spiders are known to be very active during the day and are very common around windows. They are usually small and have husky cephalothoraxes (heads) and are brightly colored. They often enter buildings from shrubs near windows or ride in on plant blossoms.
Crab spiders are dark, tan, lightly colored orange, yellow or creamy white. Their legs extend out from their sides causing “crab-like”movement. They hide in flowers and bushes. They often come inside structures via plants and flowers.
This type of spider includes Orb-weaving spiders, cobweb spiders, and boathouse spiders.
Orb-weaving spiders are known for their “orb-like”webs which tend to extend one foot or so across on porches, trees, shrubs, and bushes. Their bodies are often 1 inch long with very long legs, and they often sit in the center of the web waiting to catch their prey. They are not known to be aggressive.
The cobweb spider makes small irregular webs. They are typically found indoors in the upper inside corners of widow frames.There are many species of them, including the Black Widow, though most of them are much smaller than the Black Widow. They have a similar body shape as the Black Widow but much duller in color. These spiders often defecate drops of feces that dry and discolor anything they fall on.
Boathouse spiders are unique but not uncommon. They typically are located in the rafter area of boathouses. They, like the cobweb spider, defecate drops of feces that dry and discolor anything they fall on. These spiders often travel by wind on their ballooning silk threads.
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