16 COMMON Spiders Found in French Guiana! (2024)

What kinds of spiders can you find in French Guiana?

Types of spiders in French Guiana

Before we begin, I want you to know that the list below is just a fraction of the spider species found in French Guiana. 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)!

With that being said, I did my best to develop a list of spiders that are MOST often seen, to help you identify what you’ve found.

16 SPIDERS found in French Guiana!


#1. Silver Garden Orbweaver

  • Argiope argentata

Common French Guiana spiders

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Females average 12 mm (0.47 in) long, and males average 4 mm (0.15 in) long.
  • They have a silver or white head and abdomen, and the back half of their abdomen is bumpy and dark colored with “windows” of white.
  • Their underside is dark brown, their long legs have bands of orange, silver, white, black, or dark brown, and they have two sets of eyes.

Silver Garden Orb Weavers produce seven distinct types of silk. The silks have different compositions, each used for a different purpose when constructing the web.

These webs are incredibly important for the survival of the Silver Garden Orb Weaver 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, and this is their only water source.

These spiders will occasionally bite people in self-defense. However, Silver Garden Orb Weaver venom is not toxic to humans. Bites are typically less severe than a bee sting, with minor redness and swelling.


#2. Golden Silk Spider

  • Trichonephila clavipes

Common spiders found in French Guiana

Identifying Characteristics:

  • They have reddish-brown and yellow coloring and a yellow oblong abdomen.
  • Their legs are long, straight, and yellow, with black bands covered with hair.
  • The head is small and grayish-white with black dots that look like a skull.

Golden Silk Spiders in French Guiana produce a truly amazing web.

First, the asymmetrical webs of golden-colored silk can be up to 2 m (6.5 ft) in diameter! These clever spiders often construct their webs above garbage, helping to attract insects. Unfortunately, Golden Silk Spiders must repair damage to their webs constantly because birds and large insects are always flying through them.

The silk of this species is also being tested in medical applications. For example, some studies have shown that a piece of silk can connect severed neurons, allowing them to heal properly after injuries. In addition, the silk doesn’t elicit an immune reaction from the body, which means it could be used to help people with paralysis or brain injuries. It sounds like science fiction, but it could be groundbreaking in the future!


#3. Gray Wall Jumping Spider

  • Menemerus bivittatus

spiders of French Guiana

Identifying Characteristics:

  • 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.

The Gray Wall Jumping Spider is native to Africa but has 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 on objects and distinguish between different colors easily. 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!


#4. Adanson’s House Jumper

  • Hasarius adansoni

Types of spiders in French Guiana

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Males have more colorful bodies, with black abdomen color and two white crescents on their bodies. They grow up to 6mm (0.23 in).
  • Females are dark brown and don’t have any noticeable pattern, and are about 8mm (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 French Guiana. 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.


#5. Brown Widow

  • Latrodectus geometricus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The coloring is mottled tan and brown with black accent markings.
  • This species has an hourglass similar to the black widow, but it’s often orange or yellow.
  • The striped legs are usually dark brown or black with light yellow bands.

The Brown Widow Spider employs a neurotoxic venom, causing pain, muscle rigidity, vomiting, and sweating. However, the bites of the Brown Widow are often much less harmful than those of the famous Black Widow.

Females create webs in isolated, safe locations near houses and branch-heavy woods. Brown widows frequently choose empty containers like buckets, planters, mailboxes, and entryway corners. So, checking these places thoroughly before disturbing them is a good idea!

One of the easiest ways to identify a Brown Widow is to look for its egg sacs. They have pointy protrusions and are frequently referred to as “fluffy” or “spiky” in appearance.


#6. Red House Spider

  • Nesticodes rufipes

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adult females are about 7 mm (0.27 in) long, while males are about 3 mm (0.11 in) long.
  • Their body and legs have a reddish-brown coloration, and their abdomen is dark and globe-shaped.
  • Adult females have a red band on the underside of their abdomen that resembles an hourglass.

Red House Spiders in French Guiana thrive in warm climates.

As their name suggests, you’re most likely to find them in your home. Despite their need for warm weather, they prefer cool shaded areas like cupboards, closets, door frames, and eaves.

Red House Spiders construct messy, tangled webs with multiple different anchor points. These webs help protect them from predators, and they don’t leave unless disturbed. They quickly fall to the ground using a dragline if they’re threatened.

These spiders aren’t aggressive but will bite in defense. While their bites aren’t life-threatening, they can be painful and cause redness and swelling in the area. Due to the female’s hourglass marking, people often mistake them for black widows. It’s best to see a doctor if you’re bitten to be safe.


#7. Banded Garden Spider

  • Argiope trifasciata

Also known as the Banded Orb Weaving Spider.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • This species has an oval abdomen and bright body markings. The back of the abdomen is pale yellow with silvery hairs and lateral bands of black stripes. Males are usually paler, sometimes even white.
  • Adult females are around 13-14.5 mm (0.51-0.57 in) long.
  • Males are considerably smaller, reaching only one-third of the females’ length.

The Banded Garden Spider builds an enormous web, typically around 60 cm (23.6 in) in diameter. Occasionally, they can reach up to 2 m (78.7in) long. The web itself is sticky and strong, able to hold very large insects like wasps and grasshoppers.

One interesting feature of their webs is the so-called “stabilimentum,” a vertical zigzag pattern made from dense silk. Researchers think this feature is a way to attract insects that the Banded Garden spider eats.

These spiders rarely bite humans and are not aggressive. If disturbed, they may drop from the center of their web. They may bite in defense if handled and bothered, but it’s unlikely that the bite would cause more discomfort than a bee sting.


#8. Pantropical Jumping Spider

  • Plexippus paykulli

Identifying Characteristics:

  • 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 or agricultural areas. They cleverly spend time around light sources that attract insect prey.

Unlike many spiders in French Guiana, Pantropical Jumping Spiders do not construct a web. These incredible spiders have excellent eyesight and can take down prey twice their size. They feed on cockroaches, wasps, ants, and other insects. They stalk their prey and jump on it, relying on their brute strength to overpower it, injecting it with venom.

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.


#9. Pantropical Huntsman Spider

  • Heteropoda venatoria

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 2.2-2.8 cm (0.86-1.1 in) long with a leg span of 7-12 cm (3-5 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 Asia 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.


#10. Amazon Thorn Spider

  • Micrathena schreibersi

Identifying Characteristics:

  • They have a black body, yellow or white abdomen, and orange, reddish, or black legs.
  • Their abdomen has black spikes, and two large black-tipped, orange spikes protrude from the rear.
  • Males are smaller and have shorter spines.

This species has my vote for the best-looking spider in French Guiana!

These fascinating spiders have long spikes and hardened abdomens, which help deter predators. In addition, although they aren’t venomous, they have bright coloring that makes them appear more dangerous, which is another adaptation to avoid being eaten!

Amazon Thorn Spiders in French Guiana are most commonly found in tropical woodlands. They’re active during the day and retreat to the safety of their webs at night. Instead of actively hunting, this species waits in the safety of its web for prey to become trapped.


#11. Translucent Green Jumping Spiders

  • Genus: Lyssomanes

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Females measure 7-8 mm (0.27-0.31 in) long, while males measure 5-6 mm (0.19-0.23 in).
  • Most are pale, translucent green, with other characteristics ranging from bands on the legs, colorful fringe around the eyes, or spots on the body.

Translucent Green Jumping Spiders are often found in warm, humid forests. As their name suggests, this genus of spiders is often pale green with a nearly translucent exoskeleton. Although they look dangerous, most jumping spiders are harmless and good for pest control.

These common spiders in French Guiana don’t construct webs. They have excellent vision and hunt their prey rather than waiting for it to get stuck in a web. They wait and ambush their prey, leaping on it when it gets close and then biting, immobilizing it. These accomplished hunters can take insect prey three times their size!

While Translucent Green Jumping Spiders have venom that can easily incapacitate their prey, their venom isn’t harmful to humans. They rarely bite and will only do so when roughly handled. Their bites typically only result in mild redness and irritation that subsides in a couple of days.


#12. Pinktoe Tarantula

  • Avicularia avicularia

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adult males reach about 9 cm (3.5 in) long, while females reach 13 cm (5.1 in).
  • Adults are hairy and black or gray with reddish pink, violet, purple, or reddish-orange “toes.”
  • Adult males are thinner with longer legs and have hooks on their first set of legs for grappling with females during courtship.

Look for these tree-dwelling spiders in French Guiana in dense rainforests.

They’re nocturnal hunters and rely on their large size and strength to subdue prey rather than trapping it in a web. Their fangs fold down under their body, and they strike downward to impale and kill their prey.

Interestingly, when threatened, Pinktoe Tarantulas can throw urticating (skin-irritating) hairs as a form of defense. These hairs cause irritation and can become embedded in predators’ skin or eyes.

They’ll also bite, but only as a last resort. Despite their intimidating appearance, their venom is relatively mild. Their fangs leave puncture marks, and they may draw blood like a pinprick, but their venom causes a reaction similar to a wasp sting.


#13. Goliath Birdeater

  • Theraphosa blondi

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults grow up to 13 cm (5 in) long, with a leg span of up to 30 cm (11.8 in). Their fangs can be up to 2.5 cm (1 in) long!
  • Their coloring is golden-brown to black.
  • They have hair on their abdomen and legs and large fangs that fold under their body.

The Goliath Birdeater is the largest spider in French Guiana!

Despite their name, these giant spiders rarely eat birds. The name comes from an illustration by naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian, depicting one eating a hummingbird. However, these opportunistic hunters feed on many insects and terrestrial vertebrates, including frogs, rodents, and snakes!

Goliath Birdeaters are found in humid, tropical forests, including the Amazon rainforest. They’re a terrestrial, nocturnal species that lives in marshy or swampy areas. They spend their days in deep burrows. They sit and wait to ambush their prey at night, then grab it and inject it with venom using their long fangs. Finally, they bring their prey back to their burrow to eat.

When threatened, Goliath Birdeaters have a set of defensive tactics they use before resorting to biting. First, they rub their front legs together to produce a hissing sound that you can hear from 4.5 m (15 ft) away! Then they rear up on their hind legs to display their large fangs. Finally, they flick skin-irritating hairs off their abdomen at their attacker. The hairs are barbed and can get lodged in the attacker’s skin, eyes, or mouth.

Goliath Birdeaters will bite with their large fangs if all these defenses fail. The fangs are 2-4 cm (0.78-1.57 in) long and can easily break human skin. Thankfully, their venom is fairly harmless to humans and feels like a wasp sting. They may also “dry” bite and inject no venom at all.

To get an idea of how truly massive Goliath Birdeaters are, watch the short documentary below!


#14. Striped Lynx Spider

  • Oxyopes salticus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults range from 4-6 mm (0.15-0.23 in).
  • Females are orange, cream, or brown with a pale yellow head and stripes on the body and abdomen.
  • Males have a coppery head and an abdomen covered in iridescent scales that can appear silvery green or purple.
  • Both sexes have dark bristles or spines on their legs.

This small spider in French Guiana is abundant in yards, gardens, and agricultural areas.

It prefers habitats with short grass or low vegetation. Look closely to observe them waving their front legs and rapidly jumping through the vegetation.

Striped Lynx Spiders are generalist predators that get their name from their cat-like hunting style. These spiders don’t make webs. Instead, they slowly stalk and pounce on their prey. Farmers and gardeners like these spiders because they eat agricultural pests. Amazingly, Striped Lynx Spiders can detect odors given off by these insects and follow the scent to a meal.

In addition to their usefulness as a pest controller, Striped Lynx Spiders in French Guiana only bite if they’re handled roughly. Their venom is relatively harmless, although it can cause mild pain and localized swelling.

Unfortunately, studies show that insecticide use significantly affects Striped Lynx Spiders. They’re vulnerable to eating contaminated insects.


#15. Spinybacked Orb Weaver Spider

  • Gasteracantha

spinybacked orb weaver spider

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Females are bright-colored and have a hard shell-like abdomen. They grow to 5-10 mm (0.2-0.4 in).
  • Six spines stand out from their body.
  • Males are much smaller and are not brightly colored. In addition, the spines are not as prominent.
  • Also is known as Spiny-backed Orb-weaver, Spiny Orb-weaver, Thorn Spider, or Spiny Spider.

Many people don’t even realize these arachnids are spiders! Their hard body with spikes sticking out makes them incredibly unique for spiders that live in French Guiana. Luckily, they aren’t dangerous to humans and will only bite out of self-defense.

Like most spiders, they make their webs at night. But here’s the interesting part, they have to make a new web EVERY day since they eat their web each morning.

Spinybacked Orb Weaver Spider webs are constructed a little differently than other spiders. They actually add little silk balls to the web so larger insects and birds don’t run into or destroy it. These act as a warning to larger insects and birds to save the spider the work of repairing holes made by larger animals.


#16. Tropical Tent-web Spider

  • Cyrtophora citricola

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Mainly brownish with grey hair, but individuals vary in color.
  • Females tend to resemble leaf debris.
  • Body length in females normally reaches 10 mm (0.40 in), with males being much smaller at only 3 mm (0.11 in) long.

This species might be the most social spider found in French Guiana.

Look for Tropical Tent-web Spiders living in colonies that can get so large they span across entire trees. Within the colonies, all of the webs are attached to each other with communal webbing. Even with so many spiders living near each other, they are very peaceful to members of the same species.

Tropical Tent-web Spiders got their name because of the unique webs they construct. First, they build a horizontal orb web which is then followed by a network of webs above that resemble a tent. The point of the tent is that it deflects insects into the orb web to be consumed.

And unlike most other spiders, the web is not sticky! One big advantage of a web that isn’t adhesive is that it does not need to be re-spun each day, which saves them lots of energy and time. You can easily recognize their web by the rectangular (instead of triangle-shaped) cells.


Check out these other guides about animals found in French Guiana!


Which of these spiders have you seen before in French Guiana?

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