stealthy ground spiders (Family Gnaphosidae)

Stealthy ground spiders (Family Gnaphosidae)

There are 45 species of stealthy ground spiders known from Ohio. This represents about 7% of our spider species.

Characteristics of Gnaphosidae:

  • anterior spinnerets well separated, tubular, often long extending beyond the end of the abdomen giving the spider the appearance of having two exhaust pipes at the back
  • dark brown, black, or reddish
  • posterior median eyes often odd-shaped and very reflective (shiny)
  • small to medium sized
  • found on ground, often under debris

Ground spiders are sometimes difficult to find. They hide under rocks and logs during the day and hunt primarily at night. Most of the species are dark-colored with relatively long legs. Even the groups (genera) are difficult for non-specialists to identify.  One species, the Parson Spider, is common in houses, and adults of this species may be found at any time of the year. The genus Micaria contains a number of small, daytime-active runners. Members of this genus resemble the appearance and behavior of ants.

Ohio Examples:

photo of parson spider in my sink

parson spider (Herpyllus ecclesiasticus) in my sink

photo of parson spider

parson spider (Herpyllus ecclesiasticus)

photo of parson spider

parson spider (Herpyllus ecclesiasticus) showing two obvious spinnerets at the back