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The Spider Myths Site
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General Fallacies

Myth: Any spider species can be found anywhere.

Fact: Except for a few of the house-spider species, most spiders have strictly limited ranges; perhaps a large part of one continent (almost never an entire continent), perhaps only a few states or provinces, or even more restricted. Each locality has its own spider fauna, its own set of species to choose from in making an identification.

If you don't know the location, even a specimen in hand is fantastically difficult to identify, and a description or whole-body photo is quite impossible. Many people e-mail me with identity questions without giving me any clue to their location. I'm not psychic; I don't know without being told, whether an e-mail originates from Maine, Madagascar, or my own neighborhood. Please give your location! And if you're thousands of miles away from me, you're better off finding a local specialist who will know your local fauna.

Also, never assume that some spider you just heard about, lives in your own backyard!

Map shows a Pacific coast & a NE distribution Map shows a large Rocky Mountain & a small Oregon coast distribution Map shows a coast to coast distribution Map shows a large eastern, a smaller Great Basin, and 2 tiny Pacific coast distributions
Callobius wood spiders, 2 of the 30+ species
Click image to enlarge
Sisicottus microspiders, 2 of the 9 species
Click image to enlarge
A widespread species (1 of about 50) of Pardosa wolf spiders
Click image to enlarge
Zelotes ground spiders, 4 of the 60+ species
Click image to enlarge
Spider distributions are all different . . . . . . as these examples show.
No spider lives every place, and most don't live where you do. This fact must be stressed with notorious species like the brown recluse and the hobo spider (click for maps); if you're not inside their area, you don't have them in your home!

Text © 2003, Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture,
University of Washington, Box 353010, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
Phone: 206-543-5590
Photos © as credited
Queries to Spider Myths author, Rod Crawford

This page last updated 1 September, 2010

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