8 COMMON Spiders Found in Namibia! (2024)

What kinds of spiders can you find in Namibia?

Types of spiders in Namibia

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 Namibia. 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.

8 common SPIDERS in Namibia!


#1. Common Garden Orb Web Spider

  • Argiope australis

Also called Black and Yellow Garden Spider or Garden Orb Spider.

Common Namibia spiders

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The abdomen is bright yellow and black with knobby outlines, and the legs have bands of dark and light coloring.
  • Females are around 25 mm (0.9 in), and males are around 5 mm (0.2 in).

The Common Garden Orb Web Spider is prevalent across sub-Saharan Namibia.

It creates massive webs resembling wheels, which they use for several days before moving and creating a new one. The webs are typically constructed one meter off the ground and spread across plants.

Common Garden Orb Web Spiders have an efficient (but sort of gross) way of eating their meals. To overpower large prey, like grasshoppers, bees, flies, butterflies, and dragonflies, they wrap their victim in silk to incapacitate it. Then, they paralyze their victims by injecting them with poison. Before eating, the spider injects enzymes that liquefy the prey’s insides. The spider then consumes the liquid left over, sort of like a bug smoothie!


#2. 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.

Common spiders found in Namibia

Identifying Characteristics:

  • 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 Namibia is to look for their egg sacs. They have pointy protrusions and are frequently referred to as “fluffy” or “spiky” in appearance.


#3. Banded-legged Golden Orb-web Spider

  • Trichonephila senegalensis

Also called the Giant Wood Spider or Banana Spider.

Spiders of Namibia

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The spider’s name refers to its joints’ characteristic golden yellow color.
  • Females are bright yellow with a dark pattern in the middle and reach 30 to 40 mm (1.1-1.5 in).
  • Males have the same color pattern but are usually paler and ten times smaller than females.

The Banded-legged Golden Orb-web Spider is usually found in Namibia in warm, humid gardens, open forests, grasslands, and savannas.

These spiders weave beautiful, sturdy, golden-colored webs. They can regulate the amount of pigment and stickiness in their webs to adapt to their environment. Interestingly, the females keep food supplies on their webs. Up to 15 insects are carefully arranged and wrapped in silk to prevent deterioration of the prey.

Male Banded-legged Golden Orb-web Spiders often linger near the edge of the female’s web. When he is ready to mate, he will tap on the edge of the web to ensure that the female is in a good mood and bring her food as courtship. Then, while the female is eating, he will approach quietly, inject his semen into her abdomen and flee as soon as possible to avoid being eaten.


#4. Tropical Tent-web Spider

  • Cyrtophora citricola

Types of spiders in Namibia

Identifying Characteristics:

  • 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 Namibia 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.


#5. 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 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 Namibia 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.


#6. Southern Baboon Spiders

  • Subfamily Harpactirinae

Note: Baboon spiders are a subfamily of tarantulas broadly present on the African continent. Around nine genera and over one hundred species are present in Namibia. This section gives general information on the entire group.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • This species reaches a maximum length of 15 cm (5.9 in), including the legs.
  • Their coloring varies from light brown to dark brown or black. Some species can also have grey, beige, orange, or light yellow colors.
  • Hair covers the legs and body.

Southern Baboon Spiders are members of the Tarantula family. These ground-dwelling spiders use their fangs and chelicerae (pincer-like mouth appendages) to dig burrows that they line with silk. Their natural habitats are savanna forests, arid scrublands, and grasslands.

They are vicious hunters, preying on insects, small rodents, reptiles, and just about anything else they can take down. Baboon Spiders lift their front legs to appear bigger and more intimidating when disturbed or threatened. If the threat continues, they will bite and release venom.

The fangs of a Baboon Spider can be more than a centimeter long! As you can imagine, a bite from one can be very painful, and their venom can cause localized swelling. However, it doesn’t pose a major health concern to humans.


#7. Bark Spiders

  • Genus Caerostris

Note: Bark Spiders are a genus of 18 species that range over the African continent.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Females are black or brown, with long white hairs on the upper body. Some individuals are spotted with red, yellow, or orange.
  • Males have a lighter color, usually without any spots. In addition, they are considerably smaller, one-third of the length of an average female.

Bark Spiders are a genus of orb-weaving spiders in Namibia, most commonly found in tropical climates.

They get their name from their incredible effective camouflage, which helps them blend into tree bark as they climb and move throughout the forest.

The silk that Bark Spiders produce is the toughest biological material humans have ever studied, twice as strong as any other spider silk known to science. And not only do Bark Spiders have the strongest silk, but they also build the largest webs. This impressive species holds the record with a surface area of up to 2.8 square meters (30 sq ft).

Perhaps the most fascinating thing about Bark Spiders is the unique location of their webs. They construct them directly above a river or stream, so insects flying above the water are snared in its web. This genus has both brawn and brains!


#8. Lobed Argiope

  • Argiope lobata

Identifying Characteristics:

  • 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.


Check out these other guides about animals found in Namibia!


Which of these spiders have you seen before in Namibia?

Leave a comment below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *