What kinds of spiders can you find in Morocco?
Many people are terrified of spiders and find them extremely creepy. This is unfortunate because not only are most spiders completely harmless, 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 Morocco. 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.
10 common SPIDERS in Morocco!
#1. Brown Widow
- Latrodectus geometricus
Also known as the brown widow, brown button spider, grey widow, brown, black widow, home button spider, or geometric button spider.
- The coloring is mottled tan and brown with black accent markings. On the sides of the abdomen, there are three diagonal stripes.
- 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 employs a neurotoxic venom, causing pain, muscle rigidity, vomiting, and sweating. However, while deadly to their prey, the bites of the Brown Widow are often much less harmful to humans than the infamous 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 these spiders in Morocco is to look for their egg sacs. They have pointy protrusions and are frequently referred to as “fluffy” or “spiky” in appearance.
#2. Tropical Tent-web Spider
- Cyrtophora citricola
- Females are 10 to 15 mm (0.3-0.5 in) long.
- Males are about 3mm (0.12 in).
- Color variations in females are typical – some are brown, while others have black and white markings on their abdomen. Males are usually solid black.
The Tropical Tent-web Spider makes an unusual web that resembles mesh curtains. Prey is deflected onto the orb-web by a network of threads that support the orb-web and form a tent. This species spends most of its time on its complex web. Each spider has its own space, but they often form large groups with interconnected webs.
These spiders can be hard to find in Morocco because they are nocturnal, which keeps them hidden from predators throughout the day. However, they spend most of the night capturing prey, including moths and flies.
Tropical Tent-web spiders catch prey in three distinct phases. In the initial stage, the spider bites or wraps its prey in silk to incapacitate it. Then, they remove it from the web itself and carry the prey to the hub of the web. Finally, once they reach the safety of the center of the web, they consume their meal.
#3. Banded Garden Spider
- Argiope trifasciata
Also known as the Banded Orb Weaving Spider.
- 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 to 14.5 mm (0.51-0.57 in) long.
- Males are considerably smaller, reaching only ⅓ of the females’ length.
The Banded Garden Spider builds an enormous web, typically around 60 cm (23.6 in) in diameter. 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.
The female can usually be found resting at the center of the web, facing downwards. They face their webs east-to-west to take advantage of the rising and setting sun and hang in the center with their dark underside facing south. All this allows them to gain as much warmth as possible, enabling them to stay active later in the year.
These spiders rarely bite humans in Morocco 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.
#4. 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 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 Morocco. 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. Half-edged Wall Jumping Spider
- Menemerus semilimbatus
- Yellowish or greyish with a pattern of several white V-shaped markings.
- Large, forward-facing eyes. Covered in grayish-white hairs.
- Females are about 6.5–8.4 mm (0.25-0.33 in) long, with males being slightly smaller.
These jumping spiders in Morocco usually live near humans.
Half-edged Jumping Spiders seem to benefit from the artificial environments created by backyard gardens. Look for them on flat surfaces, such as the sides of buildings or fence posts, which provide perfect areas for them to hunt prey. They are even comfortable living inside houses. 🙂
Like all jumping spiders, this species does not make webs. Instead, Half-edged Wall Jumping Spiders have excellent eyesight to locate their next meal. They also have the unique ability to jump, which they use to pounce on prey or leap from plant to plant.
#6. Pink Crab Spider
- Thomisus onustus
- Females measure 7–11 mm (0.27-0.43 in). Males are much smaller and range between lengths of 2–4 mm (0.07-0.15 in).
- Females are pink, yellow, or white. Males are brown to green-yellow.
- Both sexes have a triangular-shaped bodies.
The best places to find Pink Crab Spiders in Morocco are on flowers or other vegetation that is low to the ground.
Pink Crab Spiders don’t use webs to catch their prey. Instead, they sit and wait inside flowers for something to eat. Once a suitable victim comes by, they use their long forelegs to ambush it and make the kill. When insects are in short supply, such as during bad weather, they eat pollen and nectar to avoid starvation.
Lastly, they have developed a mutualistic relationship with certain plant species as these spiders feed on and help deter harmful insects. Some plants even release an emission after being attacked that attracts Pink Crab Spiders hoping they feed on the intruder(s).
#7. Lobed Argiope
- Argiope lobata
- The female’s abdomen has black and white stripes and appears jagged or, as many say, “lobed.”
- Males have the same coloration but don’t have the lobes on the abdomen.
- Females are large and grow up to 25 mm (0.98 in) long. Males are much smaller and only measure around 6 mm (0.23 in).
It’s hard to miss a female Lobed Argiope if you come across one. In addition to being incredibly large, they have a unique body shape and coloration that makes them stand out. Look for them in bushes in warm rocky areas that are dry and sunny.
Make sure to look at the center of their web, as you should see a zigzag stabilimenta, which is a silk-shaped web decoration. Scientists aren’t exactly sure what the purpose is of having a stabilimenta, but the dominant theory is that it helps attract insects to the web by reflecting UV light. Interestingly, it is said that after E. B. White observed a stabilimenta in a spider’s web, he was inspired by the idea of a writing spider for his book Charlotte’s Web.
Despite its intense appearance, the venom from a Lobed Argiope bite is not dangerous to humans.
#8. Pantropical Jumping Spider
- Plexippus paykulli
- Adult females range from 9 to 12 mm (0.35-0.47 in) long, while adult males range from 9 to 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 Morocco, 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.
#9. Napoleon Spider
- Synema globosum
- Large, circular abdomen that can be red, yellow, or white with a black pattern.
- Males reach 2–4 mm (0.07-0.15 in), while females are 7–8 mm (0.27-0.31 in) long.
I want you to look closely at the black pattern on the back of the Napoleon Spider. If you use your imagination, can you see the silhouette of Napoleon wearing his iconic hat? Whether you agree or not, this is how this species got its name!
To find these spiders in Morocco, look for them on flowering plants waiting for their prey. Napoleon Spiders don’t make webs but instead use their two pairs of elongated front legs to hunt and immobilize their victims.
#10. Radiated Wolf Spider
- Hogna radiata
Interestingly, Radiated Wolf Spiders do not make webs to catch their prey. Instead, they wait for an insect to walk by and then chase it down using their incredible eyesight! They also have retroreflective tissue in their eyes, which produces a glow if you flash light on their face.
Radiated Wolf Spider Range Map
Wolf Spiders bite if provoked but do not always inject venom. Therefore, they are not considered dangerous to humans. Bite symptoms are minimal and may cause itching, swelling, and mild pain.
Check out these other guides about animals found in Morocco!
- 8 Amazing ANIMALS to see in Morocco! (ID guide w/ pics)
Which of these spiders have you seen before in Morocco?
Leave a comment below!