12 Common Southern California Spiders

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Spiders are found all over the world, and California is no exception. So, what are the common southern California spiders? California has a diverse spider population, with 66 unique species of spiders documented.

Some of these spiders are transported by humans to different parts of the world, where they can establish new populations.

Spiders are fascinating creatures that have evolved some interesting adaptations to their environment. One such adaptation is the use of venom to kill prey or defend themselves.

Another is the ability to spin webs for trapping prey. Baby spiders also have good eyesight, like anti mimic spiders, lynx spiders, and flower spiders.

Continue reading to find out more about common southern California spiders. 

12 Common Southern California Spiders

Black Widow Spider (Venom Body)

A Black Widow Spider spinning a web in an oak tree.

The black widow spiders are one of the venomous spiders found in the Southern California Spider. They are typically black, with red or pink spots on their backs.

They are considered dangerous to humans and should be avoided. Females are about 1.5 inches long, while males are half the size of females.

It is easily identifiable by the distinctive marking on its abdomen called an hourglass. This hourglass is red, making it easy to spot this dangerous spider. Additionally, these spiders have a comb foot to help them move around quickly.

The black widow spider is notorious for its deadly venom. The female spider hangs upside down to attract prey and can typically live up to three years. The male spider only lives for one or two months.

The females typically eat and kill them after mating, providing them with a ready supply of protein. 

Brown Spiders in California (Brown Widow)

Female Adult Brown Widow of the species Latrodectus geometricus

The brown widow spiders are another venomous spider found in southern California. These widow spiders are smaller and lighter in color than the black widow spider, with a range of colors that includes tan, dark brown, black, and shades of grey.

The Brown Widow spider is indigenous to Africa but has spread throughout California. 

They are identifiable by their hourglass-shaped design on the underside of their abdomen, which is usually a vivid orange or yellowish color.

Additionally, they have a black & white geometric pattern on the top side of their abdomen; however, as they mature, their coloring darkens. Brown widow spiders are typically identified by their distinctive markings, including stripes on the legs.

Additionally, brown widows are often easy to identify due to their egg sacs, which are large and spherical.

Unlike the black widow, which has a smooth, round egg sac, the brown widow’s egg sac is ribbed and spiny. This distinguishing feature can help you identify an infestation before it becomes too dangerous.

These spiders have a life cycle of 1 to 2 years, and they can produce up to 20 egg sacs containing 120-150 eggs over their lifetime. 

Brown widow spiders in California can breed all year long. After they emerge from their egg sac, they will molt and start eating but remain in the nest area for a few weeks.

Then, they will perform their amazing ballooning act and travel far away from their original nest site. While they are not typically aggressive, they will bite if threatened.

Red-Back Jumping Spider

Red-backed jumping spider (Phidippus johnsoni) on leaf in springtime.

The red-back jumping spider is a species of jumping spider found in Australia. It gets its name because most of its body is red and black. The Red Back Jumping Spider is a small yet ferocious predator.

It is a relatively small spider, with adults averaging around 5mm in length. It can leap up to 10 times its body length to five times its size to snatch prey. This spider feeds primarily on small insects and is not considered a threat to humans.

The red-back jumping spider is a fascinating creature with an intricate mating ritual. The male will perform a zigzag dance to attract a female, and if she is interested, she will stand guard over her eggs until they hatch.

Once they hatch, the young spiders will look like miniature versions of their parents. They will then start to grow and develop their characteristics.

Orb Weaver Spiders (Araneidae)

Name : Orb Weaver Scientific Name:  Neoscona spp. Location: Mulashi, Pune. Descrption: One of the large orb weaving spiders, use to build a web with concentric rings and most of the times active during night.

Orb weavers are a spider in the araneidae family, one of the three largest spider groups. Orb weavers are so named because their webs often resemble orbs. Webs consist of radiating strands, like spokes of a wheel, and concentric circles.

Orb-weaver spiders are fascinating creatures with eight eyes arranged in 2 rows of 4 eyes each. They use the vibrations within their web to help them detect prey, and they can spin very strong webs.

Orb weavers belong to the family of spiders that have four to six spinnerets. The spinnerets are the organs used to produce silk. Male orb weavers are much smaller than female orb weavers, and they typically do not build webs.

In the meantime, female orb weavers lay eggs in clutches of several hundred. The male will then eat them after mating. Unfortunately, female orb weavers die in the first frost. It leaves her babies to hatch and fend for themselves in the springtime.

Most orb-weavers live for around 1 to 2 years. It is a relatively short lifespan, but they can still produce up to 12 egg sacs in their lifetime, each with about 500 eggs. As a result, the orb-weaver spider population can quickly grow if left unchecked.

Wolf Spiders

Wolf Spider

Wolf spiders are widely present all over North America. They can be brown, grey, black, or tan and have dark markings that help them blend in with their surroundings. They are also fast runners and good climbers, making them difficult to spot.

Wolf spiders typically prey on insects but also eat other small animals. Wolf spiders range from a quarter-inch to over an inch long. They have four small eyes arranged in a V-pattern along the front row of their heads and usually have brown and black fur.

Wolf spiders are generally shy and will flee if they feel threatened, but they can bite if they are mishandled.

Female wolf spiders are interesting creatures with some unique features. One of these is that they have special patterns on their bodies that attract mates.

Another is that eggs are wrapped in silk camouflage and attached to the spinnerets, which are small organs on the spider’s abdomen that produce silk. Wolf spiders are known for their maternal care.

Once the mother wolf spider has laid her eggs, she will search for a safe place to hide them and cover them with a silk glands sac.

Desert Recluse Spider

spider in a web in woods

The desert recluse spider is a small, nocturnal spider ranging from 5 to 2 inches. They are typically found in the southwestern United States. But can also be found in parts of Mexico and Central America. They come out at night and are generally shy and docile creatures.

The Desert Recluse Spider is unique for a few reasons. For starters, it has eight eyes instead of the usual six. Secondly, as most spiders do, they have three eyes instead of two pairs. It allows the Desert Recluse to have heightened vision and better navigate its surroundings.

The desert recluse spider is identifiable by its long legs, hairless body, and wide stance. The cephalothorax is round in shape, while the abdomen is narrow and covered with short hairs.

The desert recluse spider is different from other recluse spiders in that it does not have the dark violin marking on the top of its’ cephalothorax. This mark is a key identifier for most recluse spiders.

In addition, spiders have a life cycle that progresses through four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

The Desert Recluse Spider is venomous, and its bites can range in symptoms from nothing to being life-threatening. The spider’s bite can also be transmitted to humans, so it is important to be aware of the dangers posed by this animal.

Common House Spiders (Mouse Spiders and Garden Spiders)

Closeup of European garden spider (cross spider, crowned orb weaver) sitting on a spider web

The Common House Spider is also called the American House Spider. These spiders are typically found outdoors, but they can also enter homes through cracks and crevices. They prefer dark, moist areas and build their webs in corners and around windows or doorways. 

Their elongated abdomens and eight eyes easily identify common house spiders. Males range from 3.8mm to 4.7mm, while females can be 7mm long. The two lateral pairs of eyes almost touch, and the 4th pair of legs has a row of serrated bristles that help the spider cling to prey.

As their name suggests, common house spiders are commonly found inside homes. They’re typically yellowish-brown, with their abdomens being off-white with a few dark stripes.

Although they can be harmful to humans if they bite, they’re not considered dangerous and usually won’t cause any serious harm. 

House spiders choose websites at random, but they find it hard to survive in homes because of the low humidity and few insects they consider food. They can be found outside around windows and in eaves, where they wait by a light source to trap their prey.

Mating may occur any time of year, and the female will often lay her eggs near or inside the web she builds.

The female common house spider produces up to seventeen sacs in her lifetime, each containing four thousand eggs. The spiderlings hatch within a week and live anywhere from six months to a year.

Daddy Long-Legs (Map Cellar Spiders)

Daddy-longlegs on wooden post with detail and negative space for copy

Daddy Longlegs spiders are common for various arthropods, including spiders, harvestmen, and mites. The true daddy long-legs, which is the species most people refer to when they say “daddy long-legs,” is not a spider but an arachnid.

Arachnids are joint footed insects and include spiders, scorpions, and ticks. They are closely related to scorpions and mites without venom or stingers. Additionally, they have a single eye rather than the eight eyes of spiders.

Daddy long-legs is the common name for Opiliones, a group of arachnids with two body parts- a head and an abdomen. They also have eight jointed legs, so they get their other common name: harvestmen.

Daddy long-legs are not spiders, and they are not dangerous to humans. Daddy long-legs spiders- also commonly known as cellar spiders, harvestmen, or granddaddies- usually range from 2 to 10 mm long. 

Despite their name and scare factor, they have no venom, stingers, or mouthparts that can bite humans. They eat mainly insects and therefore help naturally control the pesky bug population.

That’s an old wives’ tale. In reality, Daddy long-legs spiders are not poisonous and cannot hurt humans.

California Ebony Tarantula

California Ebony Tarantula

Tarantulas have poor vision and rely on their sense of touch to navigate their environment. They are often very docile, as they do not want to risk accidentally touching something that could be harmful.

The California Ebony Tarantula’s diet consists mainly of insects. They will eat anything that they can catch, including other spiders.

The California Ebony Tarantula is a black tarantula that typically grows to about two inches in length. In contrast, they are not aggressive but can bite if threatened.

These spiders make good pets for those experienced with handling them and provide a unique opportunity for people to learn about the biology and care of tarantulas.

Brown Recluse Spider

Brown Recluse Spider sitting on a white background.

The brown recluse spider is a venomous spider found in the United States. They are often mistaken for other spiders, such as the common house spider.

Female brown recluse spiders will lay 40 to 50 eggs in a silken casing, and the spiderlings will hatch and go through one molt inside the egg case before emerging into the world.

The brown recluse spider starts its life as an egg and hatches into a larva. This larva will go through 6-7 molts before it becomes an adult. Once it becomes an adult, it will live for 1-2 years.

Northern Yellow Sac Spider

Male yellow sac spider, Cheiracanthium inclusum, Satara, Maharashtra, India

The yellow sac spider is a common house spider that tends to be slightly more aggressive than other species. They are often found in homes, garages, and other buildings. They typically build their webs in dark, secluded areas.

The bite of a yellow sac spider is usually not harmful, but it can cause some serious symptoms. The bite may cause a small red bump or swelling, but it can also result in a burning sensation in some cases. If a yellow sac spider bites you, seek medical attention immediately.

Jumping Spider

Extreme closeup of a Jumping Spider

The jumping spider is a small, harmless spider found all over southern Calfornia. It is named for its ability to jump great distances. Though they may look scary, jumping spiders generally aren’t harmful to humans.

They have even bitten some people, and it may cause some swelling and itching. But other than that, they’re pretty harmless creatures. The jumping spider is a common spider that is usually harmless. But can bite if provoked. 

How to prevent spiders?

You can use these tips to help prevent spiders from entering your home. First, it is important to understand how they gain entry through cracks and crevices in the foundation or around doors and windows.

You can take active steps to prevent them, such as sweeping and vacuuming regularly, keeping your home and property organized and clutter-free, and sealing any cracks or crevices.

Moreover, homeowners can do a few things to help prevent spiders and their prey from entering the home.

Installing door sweeps on all exterior doors is a good start, and turning off lights at night so that insects aren’t attracted to your home. These small steps can make a big difference in preventing spiders and other pests from becoming an issue.


Spiders are present in various shapes and sizes, and some are more harmful than others. While most spiders are harmless, a few species can inflict harm. It is important to be aware of the dangers posed by spiders and take steps to protect yourself from them.

While spiders generally aren’t harmful, you need to avoid a few species. The black widow and the brown recluse spiders can be incredibly dangerous if they bite you. Learn about the different types of spiders in your area to protect yourself and your family.

Though it’s essential to understand the different species of spiders, it is also important to remember that not all spiders are harmful. Many people appreciate the presence of spiders in their yards as they help control the population of other pests.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.