This species is one of Kansas Spiders that can inflict a serious bite. Though not deadly, the bite of a brown recluse may ulcerate and require removal of affected tissue by a physician. This species is common in outbuildings, upper boards, boxes, and other protected areas, and especially in little used, upstairs rooms and attics of homes, where it is dry and warm.
This 8 to 10 mm long spider is familiar to most Kansans in name only. It is shy and seeks nesting sites in embankments, under stones, and in undisturbed areas around buildings. When alarmed, it usually attempts to escape rather than bite. The neurotoxic venom injected with the bite causes severe abdominal cramps, pain, nausea, sweating and trembling. It rarely causes death except in small children or the elderly. The black widow gained its name from the fact that the female sometimes eats the male after mating.
These spiders are very common around homes and outbuildings. At night, they can be found on their webs and nearby, but are hidden by day. Orb spiders vary in color but generally are gray or brown with banded legs.
Golden Garden Spider
Most Kansans have seen this showy spider in their gardens, flowerbeds and bushes. They are quite large and are contrastingly marked with black, yellow and silvery white. They usually hang head downward in the middle of their web. Kids of all ages enjoy tossing grasshoppers into the web to watch this spider attack and wrap its prey in silk.
There are many species of wolf spiders but all are large with long legs. Body lengths around 1 inch are common. They run rapidly and capture their prey by hunting rather than trapping them in a web. They occur mostly in lawns, and in the autumn they like to enter homes.
Jumping spiders are also hunters. Most are blackmarked with white and/or red and rarely exceed ½inch. They are equally attentive to the motion of a nearby fly or human walking across the room. They stalk their prey slowly and capture it with a sudden last-second leap. An ever-present trailing line of silk serves as a safety line in case a jump sends them flying into mid-air.
Long Jawed Orb Weavers
This elongated spider is light brown with a yellowish abdomen. They are very common on low growing
plants around ponds, streams, and rivers and many unnerve the occupants of rowboats as they climb up the oars.