There are approximately 96 unique Canadian spider species confirmed through different sightings. Since spiders seen in the country don’t feel bound to territorial lines set by humans, the distribution of these insects is always subject to change. Every now and then, spiders are observed outside their known range because of either accidental or intentional transport by humans in luggage, cars, or other belongings.
Identifying Canadian Spiders
Being familiar with the specific spider family you are dealing with can help ensure a more effective pest control on your end.
Common House Spider
Adult house spiders have a body length of 1/4" to 3/8" excluding the legs. Their body is of yellow-brown colour with faint markings while their abdomen have short hairs and are of pale grey-brown colour.
A female house spider produces a spherical egg sac covered with silk layer and placed inside its web structure. A male house spider mates several times with a female one before it dies. The life of an adult house spider can last for years. These spiders are usually found in walls, sheds, and buildings and they produce a sheet web.
Black Widow Spider
While black widow spiders have a few varieties native to Canada, they usually enter the country through grape shipments. It is relatively easy to identify the black widow because of their black, shiny, and round body that has a red marking shaped like an hourglass found on their abdomen.
The black widow also stays away from humans and these spiders don’t bite except when provoked. The truth is that if you do get a spider bite, chances are you will never notice any symptoms at all since the black widow may choose to refrain from injecting its venom. The bite from a black widow that contains venom can lead to muscle pain which can last for several days. It is only in the rarest circumstances for this bite to be fatal.
Yellow Sac Spider
Sometimes confused with the brown recluse spiders, the yellow sac spiders are spiders native to certain parts of Mexico, California, and Central America. Similar to the black widow, the yellow sac spiders usually hitch rides in grape shipments bound to Canada.
The bite of yellow sac spiders can create symptoms that can linger for several weeks although the bite in itself doesn’t feel that painful. If you do get bitten, it is possible that you will experience swelling, muscle pain, as well as general pain as the result of the bite believed to be a bit worse compared to a wasp sting.
Cellar spiders are known for their extremely long legs. You can find their webs built in cellar corners or damp and cool basements. These spiders are harmless and you can control them by getting rid of their webs and lowering the humidity in the specific part of your home where you find them.
A cellar spider is also known as daddy-long-legs spider and is often confused with a different relative that looks like a spider called daddy long legs or harvestman. The harvestman lacks two distinct parts of the body like real spiders and it lacks glands that produce silk. But, it has four pairs of slender and long legs that may make you assume it to be a spider at first glance.
Crab spiders have the ability to camouflage themselves in order to match their surroundings or background. They have white to yellow default colour that can morph over several days to create a shield from potential predators.
Their abdomens have a red mark. The crab spider is the chameleon in the realm of spiders that love to perch on flowers while waiting for its prey.
Although harmless in general, wolf spiders look quite frightening. This spider species is native to Canada and can be found all over the country. Wolf spiders come in numerous varieties and the main reason behind their unusual name is due to how they hunt.
Wolf spiders run their prey down similar to how wolves do and they don’t use webs for luring in their prey. They often bite humans only if threatened and they are also not dangerous or aggressive. You can expect to suffer from redness and slight swelling if bitten.
The funnel web weaver is a spider family that builds a sheet-like and flat web with attached hideout that looks like a funnel. Small tree branches or grass usually support the web or it can also be built inside a shelter like between rocks or a tree trunk crevice.
These spiders hide in the funnel’s narrow end while waiting for insects to get trapped in the web. Once they sense a vibration, they charge out and inject a paralyzing bite to subdue their victim.
Most of them have long spinnerets extending beyond their posterior abdomen. Majority of it's family’s members have four eyes that are arranged in a center row with two eyes that are widely spaced under the line and two more above with a narrower space between them.
There are around 25-orb weaver spices found in Alberta alone, among which is the striking jewel spider. The spider is quite big and on its abdomen is an image that resembles a cat’s face. Jewel spiders construct a normal orb web with spirals and lines are spoke-like. Orb weavers prefer building webs around homes, usually close to light fixtures because they are attracted to prey insects.
Even though fishing spiders resemble wolf spiders, their eye pattern is actually different. An adult fishing spider can have a maximum width of 7.3 cm or 3 inches. These are commonly spotted near waterfronts and cottages, specifically around rocks close to the shoreline.
A fishing spider forages for its prey such as minnows and insects. Unlike the wolf spiders that carry the egg sac at the back of their body, a fishing spider carries its egg sac under their front thorax and head.
Jumping spiders are considered as the endearing type of spider with a big pair of front eyes and a small body. Their bodies appear furry and stocky. They stalk their pretty and have the ability to leap several inches from the attached silk lines. They also love sunlight.
Brown Recluse Spider
Brown recluse spiders are usually among the top reasons why many homeowners in Canada need the help of professionals. These spiders are very shy and secretive, as they love to stay in undisturbed and dark places.
They also rarely bite. However, despite their small size, their bite can be quite potent. They have necrotic venom and this means that it can result in the death of a small amount of tissue close to the mite bark. Getting bitten by these tiny guys will make you suffer from a sore for several weeks.
Hobo spiders have venom although not as dangerous as that of the black widow. The extent of the danger they pose is currently the subject of debate.If you do get bitten by this spider or any other spiders for that matter, make sure you collect a specimen to give to a medical professional for easy identification. Seek medical attention if necessary.