Common Spiders in Los Angeles

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With its year-round temperate climate, Los Angeles draws millions of people to make it their home and a vacation destination. It shouldn't come as a surprise, then, that this mild weather is also cause for Los Angeles to be an ideal habitat for a number of species of spiders, some more common than others.

Wolf Spiders

  • Several main species of wolf spiders are commonly found in the Los Angeles area, all of which can be identified by a distinct eye pattern: a front, small row of four, two large ones directly above and two final eyes pointing outwards above them. Baby wolf spiders are carried on the backs of the females which can spin round egg sacks with their silk. A layer in the eyes, called tapetum, is reflective and appears blue-green by flashlight. The various species can vary in habitat, making homes in streams beneath rocks, in neighborhood yards, in forests and on hillsides.

California Trapdoor Spiders

  • Despite their commonness, California trapdoor spiders are rarely spotted in this area. This is in part due to their camouflaged burrows with the doors hidden among soil and leaves. Trapdoor spiders actively fight to keep their small burrows closed. The males may be seen wandering in the spring, their bodies are slender and dark with long legs. Females can grow larger, over 1 inch in length, and typically have a gray or tan abdomen. About six species make their homes in or around Los Angeles.

Black Widow Spiders

  • The only common Los Angeles spider that is also dangerous, due to its venom and fangs large enough to penetrate human skin, Black Widows make their homes even in the most populated areas. They are born as gold and white-striped spiderlings, or baby spiders, but in maturity females develop their distinctive black coloring with a red hourglass on the abdomen. Small males may still have stripes of red, white and black in maturity. Black widows are populous along rocky hillsides, can be found under park benches and even hang in webs on commercial streets in the city.

False Black Widow Spiders

  • This European invasive is particularly common in cities. Their webs are often large and somewhat triangular, like those of a black widow, but false black widows spin theirs with finer silk in moister locations. Though its shape may resemble a black widow, its color and markings make it distinct, varying from gray with white markings -- typically in a horseshoe-shaped pattern on the abdomen -- to entirely black. The males are smaller than the females and often wander into homes.

Sac Spiders

  • The Los Angeles area has two common yellow sac spider species. They may appear to be a pale greenish yellow, or even tan, and can grow to be 1/2 inch long. While the more common species builds its sacs in homes, typically in nooks and crannies or within household appliances, the other is mostly found in gardens and is the cause for the occasional bite. Both species wander on branches, primarily in fly-infested locations, to feed.

References

  • Photo Credit Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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