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Identifying Common Spider Species in Alberta

Reading time: 5 minutes

Spiders are downright fascinating creatures, aren’t they? They’re practically everywhere, including here in Alberta, Canada. Over 600 spider species hang out in this neck of the woods. Some of these eight-legged buddies are pretty easy to point out, while others are like elusive little ninjas.

Let’s get acquainted with some of the usual suspects in Alberta’s spider scene and learn the ropes on how to tell them apart – from their looks and behaviours to their web-spinning talents.

Ready to dive into the world of Alberta’s Spider Squad? Let’s go!

Spider Common Species
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Wolf Spiders: The Day-Night Stalkers

Picture this: Alberta's wild landscapes, where wolf spiders roam free, masters of the hunt. Unlike web spinners, these guys prefer the chase-and-pounce technique. Robust in build, with long legs and eyes that almost seem to be saying "I see you," they frequently sport unique patterns in gray, black, or brown tones. They may be in marshes, woodlands, grasslands, or even your backyard at any time of day or night. Don't worry, though; they're the chill neighbours of the spider world. Bites? Only if you're asking for it.

Crab Spiders: Nature's Chameleons

Meet the crab spiders, the quick-change artists of Alberta. Sporting a crab-like vibe with a flattened body and legs that stretch sideways, these tricksters can match their colour to flowers, leaves, or bark. It's all about the ambush game for them, lurking for unsuspecting insects. No webs for these tiny dancers, just some silk action for anchoring or egg sac fashion. Small, colourful, and harmless to us humans, they're like the undercover agents of the spider realm.

Orb Weavers: Architects of Elegance

Enter the architects of Alberta's spider society—the orb weavers. With webs that could rival a masterpiece, these spiders are all about catching flying insects in style. Picture a round or oval abdomen decked out in colourful patterns and eight eyes arranged like a fashion-forward accessory. Cross spider, marbled orb weaver, banded garden spider—their names alone hint at their artistic flair. Found in meadows, gardens, or forests, they're the haute couture designers of the arachnid world.

Jumping Spiders: The Adorable Acrobats

With a compact body, short legs, and oversized eyes, they're like the puppies of the spider world. Jumping? You bet. These little acrobats use their skills for hunting, escaping, and even saying hello.

Black, brown, or gray with snazzy markings, some even rock iridescent colours. Intelligent and curious, they might just recognize you. Found on sunny surfaces like rockstars on stage. Their bites? As rare and painless as an unexpected compliment.

Cobweb Spiders: Masters of the Dark Arts

Enter the cobweb spiders, the stealthy illusionists of Alberta. No fancy webs here—just messy, irregular masterpieces hidden in dark corners. Small, slender bodies with spots or patterns, they're the James Bonds of the spider world. But beware the black widow, the undercover agent with a red hourglass mark. Shy and reclusive, they're not out for trouble.

Fishing Spiders (Pisauridae): Aquatic Avengers

Fishing Spider Species
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Have you ever heard of spiders that fish? No, it's not a fisherman's tale; it's the fishing spiders of Alberta! These bad boys are the James Bonds of the spider world, equipped with a flat, hairy body and legs that can walk on water.

They use their legs to sense ripples, catch aquatic prey, and can even dive underwater with a nifty air bubble as their makeshift scuba gear. Found chilling near ponds and streams, these spiders are the true water daredevils. And don't worry, their bites are as mild as a summer breeze.

Funnel Weavers (Agelenidae): Web Architects of the Grasslands

Picture this: a spider architect creating a cozy home with a horizontal sheet and a funnel-shaped retreat. That's the life of Alberta's funnel weavers!

With a slender body, spiny legs, and a love for low vegetation, these spiders craft intricate webs to nab unsuspecting prey. It's like a VIP lounge for insects, and the funnel weavers are the gatekeepers. Hanging out in grasses and shrubs, they're the unsung heroes of the garden, keeping things in check. Oh, and their bites? Rarer than a shooting star and as mild as a morning breeze.

Sac Spiders (Clubionidae): Silk-Spinning Sleuths

Meet Alberta's undercover operatives, the sac spiders! These tiny titans may not be the flashiest, but they've got some tricks up their silk sleeves. Crafting silk sacs for shelters or egg cases, sac spiders sport a smooth, cylindrical body with a penchant for the night shift. No webs for these nocturnal hunters; they're out there roaming, looking for their next insect conquest.

Found in leaf litter and cozy nooks, they're the secret agents of the spider world. Their bites might pack a bit of a punch, but think more "ouch" than "emergency room."

Well, isn't that a wrap, folks? Alberta's spider squad is way more diverse than you'd think, showing us that the arachnid world is a real adventure. Stay sharp, keep those eyes wide open, and who knows, you might just catch one of these eight-legged wonders spinning their magic right in your backyard!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are these spiders dangerous to humans?

Fortunately, the spiders discussed in the blog are generally harmless to humans. The Wolf Spiders, Crab Spiders, Orb Weavers, Jumping Spiders, Fishing Spiders, Funnel Weavers, and Sac Spiders are not aggressive and will only bite if provoked. Severe reactions are rare. However, their bites may produce moderate discomfort like pain, swelling, or itching.

What makes a spider poisonous and non-venomous?

While all spiders produce venom, the majority of species mentioned are not considered medically significant to humans. However, the blog does mention the Black Widow Spider, a member of the Cobweb Spider family, which is the only medically significant spider in Alberta. Black Widows can be identified by their small size, black or dark brown colour, and the distinctive red hourglass mark on the underside of their abdomen.

How can I create a spider-free environment without harming them?

Some recommendations are:

  • Reduce clutter. Spiders love hiding spots, so keeping your living space clutter-free minimizes potential habitats.
  • Seal entry points. Seal cracks and gaps in windows, doors, and walls to prevent spiders from entering your home.
  • Use natural deterrents. Citrus peels, vinegar, or essential oils like peppermint can act as natural deterrents without harming spiders.
  • Install screens. Ensure windows and doors have screens to keep spiders out while allowing airflow.
  • Regular cleaning. Regularly clean and dust your home and yard to remove spider webs and discourage spiders from settling in.

Maintaining a Spider-Friendly Environment with WebWatch Guardians

Buzz Boss technician spraying against spiders

Buzz Boss steps in as your spider-busting ally, offering a holistic approach to bid farewell to those pesky eight-legged invaders.

Our thorough pest management services are tailored to tackle spider infestations head-on, ensuring a spider-free zone for you to enjoy.

While spiders are generally harmless, we understand the need for a critter-free environment, and that's where we come in. Connect with us today. Your spider-free haven is just a call away!

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