VENOMOUS SPIDERS OF FLORIDA
Let me start by saying that I am not an arachnologist, nor am I an entomologist. These pages are designed to give limited information about the dangerously venomous spiders of Florida, but should in no way be considered a complete guide.
In reality, virtually every species of spider is venomous. All of them have fangs and inject venom to kill or paralyze their prey, however, most species do not have potent enough venom to be considered dangerous to humans. This page is designed to help identify those species of spiders in Florida that have potent venom, and could be considered dangerous to humans.
There are 5 species of dangerously venomous spiders that inhabit Florida. I feel that anyone who lives in or visits Florida should make themselves aware of these spiders, and learn how to identify them. Click on any of the spider names below for information about the species.
- Northern Black Widow - Latrodectus variolus
- Southern Black Widow - Latrodectus mactans
- Brown Widow - Latrodectus geometricus
- Red Widow - Latrodectus bishopi
- Brown Recluse - Loxosceles reclusa
There have been instances where two other species of recluse spiders have been found in Florida.
- The Mediterranean Recluse - Loxosceles rufescens.
The Mediterranean recluse has been identified in single buildings in a few Florida counties according to the Florida Department Of Agriculture and Consumer Services Entomology Circular No. 406 on recluse spiders in Florida. According to the report, all appear to be isolated incidents in which the spiders were more than likely transported into the buildings inadvertently.
- The Chilean Recluse spider - Loxosceles laeta.
In 2002, a home in Winter Haven, Polk County, Florida was reported as being infested with the Chilean recluse. This is the only report that I am aware of identifying the Chilean recluse in Florida.
- Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services report - Florida DOACS report on the infestation. The report includes information about the Chilean recluse, including pictures of the species.
External links involving the venomous spiders of Florida
- South Florida Spider Survey. The South Florida Spider Survey asked me to let my readers know that they are happy to identify spider specimens for the public. Their site is for a volunteer-based survey of the urban spiders of southern Florida. The site contains information on the project, tips for collecting and preserving spiders, and some relevant links.
- Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DOACS) web page on the venomous spiders of Florida.
- Florida DOACS Entomology Circular No. 406 on recluse spiders in Florida.
- Florida DOACS DPI Pest Alert on the Chilean Recluse
- Venomous Spiders in Florida Document from the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS).
For more information on dangerously venomous spiders, please see the Venomous Links page.