What kinds of spiders can you find in China?
Many people are terrified of spiders and find them extremely creepy. This is unfortunate because not only are most spiders completely harmless, but they benefit our environment by controlling the insect population. In fact, without spiders, our food supply would be in serious jeopardy.
Before we begin, I want you to know that the list below is just a fraction of the spiders in China. Because of the sheer number of these arachnids, it would be impossible to cover them all. For example, some estimates claim over 50,000 kinds of spiders on the planet (and the list is still growing)!
In today’s article, I did my best to develop a list of spiders you’re most likely to see.
Here are 21 common SPIDERS that live in China!
#1. Giant Golden Orbweaver
- Nephila pilipes
- Females are 30–50 mm (1.1-1.9 in), but their overall size, including their legs, is up to 20 cm (7.9 in).
- Males are much smaller, up to 5–6 mm (0.19-0.23 in).
- Their coloring is a stripy yellow and black with black legs with lighter-colored joints.
Giant Golden Orbweavers prefer habitats with no direct sunlight. This makes them perfectly adapted to live in dense rainforests and jungles. They build webs in bushes and trees near water sources.
Like many spiders, the females of this species are MUCH larger than the males. However, the Giant Golden Orbweaver takes it to a whole new level. Just look at the pair below and how the female dwarfs her partner!
The most surprising thing about this spider in China is that it’s a picky eater!
Incredibly, it only eats a few species of insects and will throw many others out of its web instead of eating them. To ensure they have enough of their preferred food source, they cache desirable food and store it in their webs for later.
Despite their intimidating appearance, Giant Golden Orbweavers aren’t dangerous to humans. Bites are rare, and symptoms are usually mild, involving muscle soreness or tightness. Symptoms go away on their own and don’t usually require medical treatment.
#2. Banded Phintella
- Phintella vittata
- Adults are 6-7 mm (0.23-0.27 in) long.
- They have striped bodies and black legs, which are short compared to their abdomens.
Look for the Banded Phintella in leaf litter and buildings in tropical climates. Like other jumping spiders in China, this species doesn’t build a web, instead hunting for its prey on the forest floor. However, they still need shelter from larger predators.
During the nighttime, they hide in enclosed structures woven from fibers or underneath debris on the forest floor. Then, once the sun rises, the Banded Phintella uses its excellent vision to find prey and evade predators. Of course, having the ability to leap several times its body length doesn’t hurt either!
These fascinating spiders aren’t only remarkable because of their hunting skills. Banded Phintellas also have striking opalescent bands on their abdomens, making them look like small jewels! The bands reflect sunlight, which gives them their shimmering quality. Males of the species use their reflective abilities to attract a mate, sort of like a flashy suit. 🙂
#3. Common Housefly Catcher
- Plexippus petersi
- Males are 6-10 mm (0.24-0.39 in) long, and females are around 10 mm (0.4 in) long.
- Their coloring is brown overall, with four black oval spots on the back.
- The legs and bodies of this species are covered in hair.
Don’t break out the insecticide if you see this spider in China!
The Common Housefly Catcher is frequently found in homes and commercial cropland, but this spider is there for one thing only – to eat pests.
This species is incredibly skilled at hunting mosquitos and other pest insects, making it one of the most helpful spiders around. It often inhabits areas with large pest populations. Fields infested with fly larvae and homes with bug problems are common habitats.
Common Housefly Catchers have even proven their usefulness in pest control studies! In investigations into whether this species could be used to control houseflies, they reduced the population significantly. So even if spiders aren’t your favorite animal, just remember that this one is doing you a favor by sticking around. 🙂
#4. Red Weaver Ant-mimicking Spider
- Myrmaplata plataleoides
- Females are 6–7 mm (0.23-0.27 in), and males are about 9–12 mm (0.35-0.47 in).
- Their coloring is pale blonde to dark brown, and they have unusually long bodies.
- They have long, spindly legs.
Even up close, it’s almost impossible to tell that this species is a spider at all!
The Red Weaver Ant-mimicking Spider is so good at disguising itself that it’s hard to tell it apart from the weaver ant it impersonates. Take a look at the Red Weaver Ants below, and you’ll see what I mean!
Their mimicry serves to protect the Red Weaver Ant-mimicking Spider from predators in a few ways. First, Red Weaver Ants are often aggressive, attacking predators in groups. Also, Red Weaver Ants taste terrible and have a painful bite. So for a timid, harmless spider like our impostor, taking on the appearance of a much more aggressive species helps keep it safe.
In addition to its looks, this spider will steal from the brood of the Red Weaver Ant to disguise its own smell, warding off predators even more. However, if the Red Weaver Ant-mimicking Spider is confronted by the ants it mimics, it will run away.
#5. Joro Spider
- Trichonephila clavata
- Females are 17–25 mm (0.66-0.98 in) long, while males are 7–10 mm 0.27-0.39 in).
- This species has blue and yellow stripes on the abdomen with a red patch near the back. Its legs are black with bands of yellow.
- The legs have brushy sections of dense hair.
Look for Joro Spiders in China in both forests and populated locations.
Interestingly, this species has also spread to North America. For example, populations have been discovered in Georgia and South Carolina. Joro Spiders are resistant to cold weather, and extreme conditions, so many researchers believe this intimidating-looking spider will eventually become naturalized across the eastern United States.
This species isn’t aggressive, but it will occasionally bite if provoked or handled roughly, and its venom can cause a lot of pain. However, it isn’t life-threatening, so don’t be too scared!
There is a mythological creature in Japanese folklore modeled after the Joro Spider, called Jorōgumo. Despite the species’ relative harmlessness, the Jorōgumo is not a creature you’d want to cross. According to legend, it can breathe fire, control other spiders, and shapeshift into a beautiful woman and devour unsuspecting men!
#6. Black and White Spiny Spider
- Gasteracantha kuhli
- Females‘ abdomens are 6-9 mm (0.23-0.35 in) wide. Their abdomens are hardened and armored with six spines.
- Males‘ abdomens are 3-4 mm (0.11-0.15 in) wide. They are also hard-bodied, but they have rounded bumps instead of spines.
- Both sexes are black and white with short legs.
The Black and White Spiny Spider is different from most spiders in China!
This small orb-weaving spider has a hardened body that protects it from predators. The most interesting feature is its sharp spines that cover the back of the abdomen. Despite its small size, this spider won’t take any attacks lying down.
Additionally, its coloring is similar to a Rorschach inkblot test. The designs on its back can take the shape of anything from a skull to a cuddly panda! I can see a cat’s face and a little dog in the examples above. 🙂
Black and White Spiny Spiders spend most of their time in webs constructed in shrubs. They wait for prey to become tangled up, then wrap it in silk before eating.
#7. Abandoned-web Orb-Weaver
- Adults are large and dark brown, with a triangular abdomen that has spikes at the corners.
- Its legs are thick and often retracted, making it look dead.
The Abandoned-web Orb-weaver got its name from the straggly web it creates. The webs often have missing sections and loose strings of silk, leading predators and observers to think they’re abandoned! Instead, the spider is often lying in wait to grab its prey.
This nocturnal spider in China eats moths predominantly, although it’s large enough to capture and consume small bats! Unfortunately, it’s unlikely to see the Abandoned-web Orb-weaver since it spends its days sheltering under leaves in the underbrush. So if you come across one of these spiders, count yourself extremely lucky.
If you try to find one, the best place to look is in overgrown gardens or bushland. Abandoned-web Orb-weavers make their webs between branches and leaves in these areas.
#8. Multi-colored Phintella
- Phintelloides versicolor
- Adults are around 6-7 mm (0.23-0.27 in) long.
- They vary in color from pale cream to nearly black and often have markings in shades of brown, yellow, or red.
- Their legs are short in comparison to their abdomens.
Multi-colored Phintella Spiders can be difficult to identify because of their wide range of colors. Just look at the photos above; based on their coloring, it might be hard to believe those two spiders are the same species! However, despite their differing shades, their body shape and uniquely large middle eyes make them hard to mistake for any other spider.
These small jumping spiders prefer to live in forests and buildings in tropical climates. They don’t usually build webs but instead hunt for prey on the forest floor.
Multi-colored Phintellas use their varied coloring as camouflage. For example, if one of these spiders lives in the forest, it might be shades of dark brown to blend in with tree bark. However, a city-dwelling spider is better served by pale coloring to hide on light-colored floors or walls.
#9. Long-horned Orbweaver
- Macracantha arcuata
- Females are 8-9 mm (0.1-0.35 in) wide at the abdomen, but their center spines can be up to 26 mm (1 in) long.
- Their coloring can be red, yellow, white, or black, with black horns and legs that sometimes have an iridescent bluish cast.
- Males are only about 1.5 mm (0.05 in) long.
One look at the Long-horned Orbweaver will give you all the information you need about how it got that name! This incredible spider has a hardened, shell-like body with two long spines that curl out from its back. It’s definitely one of the most intimidating spiders found in China!
Long-horned Orbweavers live in heavily forested areas, including tropical rainforests. Here, the dense tree cover is perfect for stringing their webs. Their webs can be up to 1.2 m (four ft) across, which makes them very effective for catching large insects.
Despite its appearance, the Long-horned Orbweaver isn’t dangerous to humans, and a bite has never been reported. They prefer to spend their time away from humans, underneath leaves where they wait for a meal. 🙂
#10. Hasselt’s Spiny Spider
- Macracantha hasselti
- Females are about 8 mm (0.31 in) long. They have hardened abdomens with sharp spikes, two of which are very long and sharp.
- Their coloring is bright orange, with 12 black dots that form two rows on the back.
- Males are much smaller and nondescript.
Hasselt’s Spiny Spiders live in tropical forests in China.
Their bright coloring and spiny appendages make them look dangerous, but this is all for show. In reality, these orb-weaving spiders are harmless to humans.
In fact, their showy appearance is a defense mechanism against larger predators! And I imagine it’s pretty effective; I definitely wouldn’t eat one if I came across it! Like other spiny orb-weavers, this species has a hard, shell-like abdomen that’s tough for even large predators to bite through. Plus, even if they get through the shell, they still have to contend with long, pointy spikes.
In addition to their tough exoskeleton, their colorful appearance helps deter predators by making them seem poisonous. In reality, they don’t have potent toxins at all.
#11. Pear-shaped Opadometa
- Opadometa fastigata
- Their coloring is dark on the body and legs, with silvery-white or gold markings on the back.
- This species has long, spindly legs and an enlarged oval abdomen.
- The legs have a patch of brushy spines at the joint.
Like other orb weavers, Pear-shaped Opadometas produce seven distinct types of silk. However, the silks have different compositions, each used for a different purpose as part of the web.
These webs are incredibly important for the survival of the Pear-shaped Opadometa because they help with nearly every aspect of their life. For example, they trap food in their web and detect it by feeling the vibration. In addition, the surface of the web collects droplets of water for them to drink.
These spiders will occasionally bite humans in self-defense. However, Pear-shaped Opadometa venom is not toxic to humans. Bites are typically less severe than a bee sting, with minor redness and swelling.
#12. Pointillist Neoscona
- Neoscona punctigera
- Females measure about 1.1 cm (0.43 in) and males are about 0.7 cm (0.28 in) long.
- Males are black and white with striped abdomens and spiky hairs all over the body and legs.
- Females are a dull brown, covered in hairs, and generally larger but not as striking as males.
Pointillist Neoscona Spiders are widespread in China and well-known for an unusual reason.
These spiders are often used for spider-fighting, where spiders are pitted against one another and made to fight. Although the practice can be brutal and is often discouraged, it is fairly widespread.
In fact, school children often set up spider fights to place bets and earn pocket money from other kids during the school day. The fights have become so distracting in some schools that school administrators have had to step in!
Pointillist Neosconas are used because the females are aggressive and territorial. They won’t tolerate another female in their presence, instead fighting for dominance. Unfortunately, the winning spider often kills the loser after the battle is over.
In the wild, Pointillist Neoscona Spiders spend their time in their webs, waiting for food to become trapped. As a result, they don’t often enter homes and aren’t aggressive toward people unless they’re handled roughly.
#13. Bird-dropping Spider
- Celaenia excavata
- Females are about 12 mm (0.47 in) long, while males are only 2.5 mm (0.09 in) long.
- These spiders are distinctly lumpy and irregular, with mottled white and brown coloring.
- Their legs are short and often curled under the body.
One look at the Bird-dropping Spider in China is all you need to know where its name came from!
This spider is a master of disguise, and its chosen costume is – you guessed it – bird poop. It has a lumpy, shapeless abdomen and short legs. Combined with its white and brown coloring, it’s easy to completely pass this spider by without a second thought.
Incredibly, its distinctive looks aren’t the weirdest thing about this species! Bird-dropping Spiders also have an unusual way of catching a meal. First, they release a pheromone that mimics the scent of female moths, luring male moths in. Then, once the moth gets near enough, the spider grabs it with its powerful legs.
Even if you miss the actual spider because of its amazing camouflage, you’ll probably notice its distinctive egg sacs. They’re almost as large as the spider itself, light brown in color, and hang from thin strands of silk in bunches or rows.
#14. Wasp Spider
- Argiope bruennichi
- Striking yellow and black markings across its body.
- The legs also have stripes.
- Females are around 17 mm (0.66 in). Males measure less than 5 mm (0.19 in).
This species is one of the most recognizable spiders in China!
These spiders get their name from their unique coloration, which is meant to resemble a wasp. Predators tend to leave them alone since they think they will be messing with a fierce stinging insect. 🙂
Wasp Spiders make beautiful orb-shaped webs in the morning. Interestingly, they construct a distinctive zig-zag pattern called a Stabilimentum in the center of the web, which is thought to help attract insects by reflecting UV light. Look for them in sunny, open fields or gardens.
Despite their bright coloring, Wasp Spiders are not dangerous to humans. They are not aggressive and will only bite if seriously provoked.
#15. Long-bodied Cellar Spider
- Pholcus phalangioides
Also known as Daddy Longlegs, Skull Spider
- The cephalothorax (head) and abdomen are different shades of brown.
- Females have a body length of around 8 mm (0.31 in), with males slightly smaller.
- Legs are long and about 5 to 6 times the length of the body.
Do you know the spider that always seems to be in the corner of your basement? Well, it’s most likely the Long-bodied Cellar Spider! These long, thin, and delicate spiders are commonly found in homes and buildings as they prefer warm habitats. I know that every time I clean my basement with a vacuum, a few of these spiders end up getting sucked inside.
Some people find cellar spiders beneficial because they are known to hunt down and kill other types of spiders. But unfortunately, they will also eradicate native spider species. Interestingly, these spiders will leave their webs to hunt for other spiders! Once they find one, they subdue their victim, using their long legs to avoid being bitten in retaliation.
Despite their proximity to people, they are not dangerous and are not known to bite humans.
#16. Common House Spider
- Parasteatoda tepidariorum
- Both sexes can appear anywhere from nearly black to a variety of colors.
- They sometimes have patterns of different colors on their body.
- Females are larger than males, but females have a bulb-like abdomen, and males do not.
These spiders are found in China NEAR PEOPLE!
I know that I always find them in my garage! It always surprises me how small Common House Spiders really are, as they are generally only between 5-6 millimeters (0.20-0.24 in) long.
Even though there are probably a few of them in your house right now, you shouldn’t hate or fear Common House Spiders. They are actually helpful because they feed on small insects and pests in your house, like flies, ants, and mosquitos.
Even though they are relatively docile, bites do occur, mostly due to their proximity to humans. But have no fear; their venom is not dangerous in the least.
#17. Triangle Crab Spider
- Ebrechtella tricuspidata
- Females have a whitish-yellow abdomen with red markings. The rest of the body and legs are light green.
- Males are light brown, but their abdomen is pale green.
- Females reach a body length of 5–6 mm (0.19-0.23 in). Males are smaller, reaching a body length of 2.5–3.5 mm (0.09-0.13 in).
The best places to find Triangle Crab Spiders are inside flowers and on other vegetation in dry and sunny meadows and forest edges. Look closely because they blend in well with their surroundings!
These spiders don’t make webs but instead wait patiently for their prey to come to them. Then they use their long first and second legs to overpower their victim.
Did you know that crab spiders get their name from the unique way they can walk sideways, forwards, and backward, similar to a crab?!
#18. Adanson’s House Jumper
- Hasarius adansoni
- Males have more colorful bodies, with black abdomen color and two white crescents on their bodies. They grow up to 6 mm (0.23 in).
- Females are dark brown and don’t have any noticeable pattern, and are about 8 mm (0.31 in) long.
- Both sexes have long legs covered with spines and hairs.
The Adanson’s House Jumper lives in warm climates all over China. Its natural habitats include woodland and low vegetation, but since they are highly adaptable, they can be found in any terrestrial area.
Although they can reuse their nests, they usually build new ones each night. Their webs are relatively small, about twice the size of the spider. The Adanson’s House Jumper is quite sociable and can be seen grouped in bigger numbers.
One of the most interesting traits of this species is its ability to jump incredible distances. They hunt by leaping several centimeters onto their prey, grabbing them, and injecting venom by bite.
#19. Pantropical Jumping Spider
- Plexippus paykulli
- Adult females range from 9-12 mm (0.35-0.47 in) long, while adult males range from 9-11 mm (0.35-0.43 in) long.
- Females are brownish gray and darker on their back and head, especially around the eyes, and have a broad tan stripe that extends onto the abdomen.
- Males are black with a broad white central stripe and two white spots near the rear of the abdomen.
Pantropical Jumping Spiders live near buildings, in citrus groves, and in cotton fields. They cleverly spend time around light sources that attract insect prey.
Unlike many spiders in China, Pantropical Jumping Spiders do not construct a web. Instead, they construct silken retreats, often in the corner of a ceiling or other elevated position. They use this retreat to rest and hide between hunting.
Although they look incredibly dangerous, Pantropical Jumping Spiders will only bite if handled roughly. Their bites are relatively harmless and may resemble a bee sting or be even milder.
#20. Pantropical Huntsman Spider
- Heteropoda venatoria
- Adults are between 2.2 and 2.8 cm (0.86-1.10 in) long with a leg span of 7-12 cm (2.8-4.72 in).
- Females have larger bodies, and males have longer legs.
- Both sexes are brown with yellow or cream markings and distinct black spots on their legs.
The Pantropical Huntsman Spider is native to China but is a bit of a world traveler! They’re often called banana spiders because they hitch a ride in tropical fruit imports, making their way to other parts of the world. These fearsome-looking spiders thrive in areas with warm climates but are occasionally found in greenhouses and heated buildings in temperate climates.
Because of their need for warmth, Pantropical Huntsman Spiders slip into small cracks and crevices around homes, barns, and sheds. Luckily, they’re most active at night, so your chances of disturbing one are fairly low. Additionally, their venom is not dangerous to humans. However, they can deliver a painful bite that might swell and turn red.
As you may have guessed from their name, this species is an accomplished predator. Instead of trapping prey in webs, they rely on their speed and strength, grabbing prey with their jaws and injecting venom into it. In fact, people in many tropical countries like them because they feed on cockroaches and other pests.
#21. Gray Wall Jumping Spider
- Menemerus bivittatus
- This species has a flattened torso and short, thick, greyish-white hair. Tufts of dark brown hair grow close to the eyes.
- The male has a brownish-white stripe on each side of the abdomen and a black dorsal stripe.
- The female has a larger abdomen and is typically lighter brown. In addition, her abdomen is rimmed with broad black stripes that come together at the end.
- Both sexes are about 9 mm (0.3 in) long, but males are usually slightly smaller.
The Gray Wall Jumping Spider is native to China but has since spread worldwide. It frequently appears on the exterior of buildings or tree trunks in gardens.
Instead of weaving a web around their prey, the Gray Wall Jumping spider stalks the prey before springing on it to attack. Their wide eyes and visual acuity allow them to focus easily on objects and distinguish between different colors. And, using their exceptional jumping ability, they can seize their prey in the blink of an eye.
Interestingly, male Gray Wall Jumping Spiders can produce sounds as part of courtship behavior. The hairs on their femurs and the teeth on the chelicerae (small claws on the front of the mouth) make clicking noises that attract females. These sounds are too low and quiet for humans to hear, but it isn’t hard to imagine the creepy noise!
Check out these other guides about animals found in China!
Which of these spiders have you seen before in China?
Leave a comment below!