The spiders commonly found in Minnesota gardens represent a wide variety of types. They range from speedy hunters that stalk their prey through foliage to crafty web-builders that spend their time constructing traps for unsuspecting insects.
Wolf spiders are a type of hunting spider, which means they roam in search of prey rather than wait in webs to trap prey. They are dark brown and somewhat hairy, and they can have a body length of more than 1 inch; the Carolina wolf spider is the largest wolf spider species in North America.
Wolf spiders are common in Minnesota gardens, woodlands, meadows and fields, where they are usually found on the ground or hiding under rocks. They are not aggressive, and despite their size, they pose no threat to humans.
Jumping spiders are also among the state's hunting spiders, and their method of attack is to jump on prey, often leaping a distance many times their own body length. They are hairier and smaller than wolf spiders, usually only reaching a body length of 1/4 to 1/2 inch. They are typically dark with lighter markings.
Jumping spiders are fast movers, and they often run sideways or backward. Their eyesight is also better than that of any other spider. They are not reclusive and often sit on walls and windows that are exposed to sunshine.
Orb weaver spiders are common inhabitants of Minnesota gardens. Their body length ranges from 1/8 to 1 inch, and they typically have large abdomens that are sometimes brightly colored.
Orb weavers build large, circular webs, and they wait within them to snag prey.
One of the most well-known orb weavers is the black-and-yellow argiope, which is bright black and yellow, and reaches up to 1 inch in body length. Another orb weaver, the barn spider is 4/5 inch long and is brown and yellow.
Sac spiders are nocturnal hunting spiders. They are usually small, reaching no more than 2/5 inch in body length, and typically light in color. The yellow sac spider is a common species; it is light-yellow, and, like other sac spiders, its body is about 2/5 inch long.
Sac spiders do not build webs, and they hide during the day, often inside a leaf that they've rolled and lined with silk. In gardens, sac spiders are usually found on the ground or on plant foliage.
The venom of a sac spider contains a toxin that can cause pain, swelling and ulcerations.
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