“What kinds of spiders can you find in Turkey?“
Many people are terrified of spiders and find them extremely creepy. This is unfortunate because not only are most spiders completely harmless, they are crucial to 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 spider species found in Turkey. Because of the sheer number of these arachnids, it would be impossible to cover them all. For example, some estimates claim there are 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 and easily identified.
Here are the 16 MOST common SPIDERS found in Turkey!
#1. Cross Orbweaver
- Araneus diadematus
Also known as the European Garden Spider, Cross Spider, Orangie, or Pumpkin Spider.
- Colors range from extremely light yellow to very dark grey.
- All individuals have white markings across the top of the abdomen, with four or more segments forming a cross (LOOK AT THE PICTURE ABOVE).
- Females range in length from 6.5 to 20 mm, while males range from 5.5 to 13 mm.
Cross Orbweavers are one of the most well-known spiders in Turkey.
These spiders are common in many habitats, including forest clearings, hedgerows, meadows, and gardens. They are also seen near humans, such as near buildings or lighted stairwells. Cross Orbweavers typically hang upside down at the center of their spiral webs.
Cross Orbweaver Range Map
Interestingly, when approached, they start shaking and vibrating their web in hopes of startling the perceived intruder. If this fails, then the spider will typically drop straight down out of sight. Luckily, Cross Orbweavers are not aggressive and typically only bite when accidentally grabbed. Bite symptoms include mild pain, redness, and swelling that lasts for a few days.
Believe it or not, these common spiders build a new web EVERY DAY. Yes, they eat the entire web every night and then begin construction on a new one. And lastly, if you are a male Cross Orbweaver, you must be careful with females, as you will often be eaten directly after mating!
#2. European Nursery Web Spider
- Pisaura mirabilis
- Slender abdomen with LONG legs (the fourth one is the longest).
- Colors range from light to reddish brown and from gray to black. A lighter stripe is visible down the middle of the back.
- The male is between 10 and 13 mm, while the female is 12 to 15 mm.
These spiders are commonly found in Turkey in tall grass, shrubs, or along the edges of woodlands.
Looking similar to wolf spiders, European Nursery Web Spiders get their name for how females protect their egg sacs. After carrying the egg sac in her mouth for a bit, she hides it under a leaf and spins a protective silk enclosure around the egg sac. From there, she sticks around to protect the babies until after their first molt. 🙂
European Nursery Web Spiders have a fascinating mating ritual! First, males find a gift, such as a dead insect, to offer to a prospective female. Then, after presenting the gift, the female will bite onto the gift if she is interested. From there, the male will move to deposit sperm with his pedipalps. WATCH THIS BEHAVIOR BELOW (and to see if the male survives)!
Interestingly, during copulation, the male almost ALWAYS keeps a leg on the gift, just in case the female decides to run away with it or attack him. If the female does change her mind about mating and starts to show aggression, the male typically will pretend to play dead until she calms down, at which point he may try mating again. The things spiders will do for love!
#3. Goldenrod Crab Spider
- Misumena vatia
Also called the Flower Spider or Crab Spider.
- Females can grow up to 10 mm (0.39 in) while males are quite small, reaching only up to 5 mm (0.20 in).
- They are usually yellow or white or a combination of these two colors. Shades of pale green and pink also exist.
- This species has a wide, flat body.
Crab spiders get their name from the unique way they can walk sideways, forwards, and backward, similar to a crab.
Goldenrod Crab Spiders primarily prey on insects much larger than themselves. To accomplish this feat, they rely on venom, which immobilizes their victims. But have no fear, as the venom is not dangerous to humans and their fangs are not powerful enough to penetrate our skin.
These spiders have the unique ability to change their color depending on the flower they are resting on, which helps them stay camouflaged as they hunt! Their color can also change depending on their diet, as colorful prey can show through their thin, transparent epidermis. For example, eating red-eyed fruit flies can make the abdomen turn pink. 🙂
#4. Walnut Orbweaver
- Nuctenea umbratica
- Wide and flattened with leathery skin. Females grow up to 15mm, males only 8 mm.
- Color ranges from red-brown and grey-brown to black.
- A dark, yellowish, leaf-like marking covers its back, where small dents are visible.
The best time to see this common garden spider in Turkey is at night.
During the day, Walnut Orbweavers, which are also called “Evening Spiders,” hide in all sorts of small crevices and cracks. Their flat body allows them to fit into some very confined spaces! They are often found in close proximity to people near garden sheds, fences, walls, or under bark.
Walnut Orbweaver Range Map
Once the sun goes down, these timid spiders build an orb-shaped web that can reach up to 70mm across. If you find one of these webs at night, you should be able to see the Walnut Orbweaver sitting in the center.
#5. Pink Crab Spider
- Thomisus onustus
- Females measure 7–11 mm. Males are much smaller and range between lengths of 2–4 mm.
- Females are pink, yellow, or white. Males are brown to green-yellow.
- Both sexes have a triangular-shaped body.
The best places to find Pink Crab Spiders in Turkey are on flowers or other vegetation that is low to the ground.
They differ from other similar species in that they prefer to sit in the center of flowers, as opposed to the petals.
Pink Crab Spider Range Map
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. Interestingly, 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. In fact, some plants even release an emission after being attacked that attracts Pink Crab Spiders in the hopes they feed on the intruder(s).
#6. Radiated Wolf Spider
- Hogna radiata
Wolf spiders are one of the most recognizable spiders in Turkey!
They are found everywhere and in almost any habitat. I know that I see them often when flipping over rocks or logs. Unfortunately, there are so many individual species of wolf spiders that it would be impossible to list them here, especially since most look very similar.
But the most common wolf spider in Turkey is the Radiated Wolf Spider (Hogna radiata).
Interestingly, 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 will bite if provoked, but they 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.
#7. Wasp Spider
- Argiope bruennichi
- Striking yellow and black markings across its body.
- The legs also have stripes.
- Females are around 17 mm. Males measure less than 5 mm.
This species is one of the most recognizable spiders in Turkey!
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 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.
#8. Napoleon Spider
- Synema globosum
- Large, circular abdomen that can be red, yellow, or white with a black pattern.
- Males reach 2–4 mm, while females are 7–8 mm 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 Turkey, 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.
#9. Cricket-bat Orbweaver
- Mangora acalypha
- Females grow up to 6 mm, with males being roughly half the size.
- The abdomen is normally yellowish with black markings.
If you look closely at the black markings on the abdomen, there are three rows of black spots followed by a longitudinal line. If you use your imagination, this pattern loosely resembles a “cricket bat,” which is how the Cricket-bat Orbweaver got its name!
These spiders are common in Turkey in meadows, gardens, and open forest clearings. They are very small and can be easy to miss but are normally situated in the center of their small, dense, orb-shaped web. The webs are normally built fairly low to the ground to catch small flying insects.
#10. 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 long, with males being slightly smaller.
These jumping spiders are usually found in Turkey living 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 actively 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.
#11. Lobed Argiope
- Argiope lobata
- The female’s abdomen has black and white stripes and appears jagged, or as many people 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 long. Males are much smaller and only measure around 6 mm.
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 make them stand out. They are usually found in bushes in warm rocky areas that are dry and sunny.
Lobed Argiope Range Map
Make sure to look at the center of their web, as you should see a zig-zag 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 with 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.
#12. Marbled Cellar Spider
- Holocnemus pluchei
- Legs are thin, long, and fragile.
- Black and white circles wrap around the leg joints.
- The bodies of both sexes range in size from 5-7.5 mm.
The best place to find a Marbled Cellar Spider in Turkey is in your house!
They are commonly found living in the corners of basements and attics. You have nothing to fear, though, as even though they have venom to subdue their prey, their jaws are not strong to bite a human.
Marbled Cellar Spider Range Map
These spiders display an interesting behavior where individuals will join together and share an existing web. In addition, most spiders will migrate to many different webs over their lifetime. It’s been observed that Marbled Cellar Spiders living together in groups have a smaller abdomen, which means they are probably eating less than if they were by themselves. But the trade-off is that they don’t have the energetic costs of making their own web.
It has actually been very hard for researchers to figure out the lifespan of a Marbled Cellar Spider because of their habit of migrating to new webs!
#13. Triangulate Combfoot
- Steatoda triangulosa
- Small spiders that are only 3-6 mm in length.
- The cephalothorax (head) and legs are brownish-orange.
- The round, bulbous abdomen is creamy in color. Look for the triangle-shaped pattern on top.
These spiders are found in Turkey NEAR PEOPLE!
Triangulate Combfoots are primarily house spiders and are typically observed in corners, especially in basements or rooms that are not often used. Although native to Eurasia, they have now spread across the entire world, moving from house to house. 🙂
Triangulate Combfoot Range Map
Honestly, there are probably a few in your home right now, but you shouldn’t be scared of Triangulate Combfoots. They are actually helpful because they feed on small insects and pests in your houses like ticks, ants, pillbugs, and other spider species (even potentially dangerous ones).
Even though they are relatively docile, bites occur due to their proximity to humans. But have no fear; their venom is not dangerous (unless you are allergic).
#14. Pantropical Jumping Spider
- Plexippus paykulli
- Adult females range from 9 to 12 millimeters long, while adult males range from 9 to 11 millimeters 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 are often found near buildings or other areas inhabited by humans. They cleverly spend time around light sources that attract insect prey.
Unlike many other spiders in Turkey, Pantropical Jumping Spiders do not construct a web to catch their prey. Instead, they actively hunt, relying on their athletic abilities to find food. You may be able to find their silken retreats, though, which are often found in the corner of a ceiling or other elevated position. They use this retreat to rest and hide between hunting.
Although they look dangerous, Pantropical Jumping Spiders will only bite if handled roughly. Their bites are relatively harmless and, at worst, may resemble a bee sting.
#15. Red-bellied Jumping Spider
- Philaeus chrysops
- Males are very colorful with an abdomen that is bright orange-red that has a black stripe down the middle.
- Females are pale brown or orangish-brown. Look for two whitish stripes on the back of her abdomen.
Unusual for spiders in Turkey, males are often bigger than females!
Like other jumping spiders, this species does not make webs to catch prey. Instead, they actively hunt, using their excellent vision to locate their next meal, then jump on them to finish the job. Red-bellied Jumping Spiders ONLY hunt during the warmest parts of the day, so if you observe closely, you may be able to watch them in action!
Look for Red-belled Jumping Spiders in dry, open, warm areas with low vegetation. They are most often seen during the warm spring and summer months.
#16. Mediterranean False Black Widow
- Steatoda paykulliana
- Globular abdomen is shiny black, except for two reddish stripes, although the patterns range in color.
- Males are roughly half the size of females with less distinct markings.
True to its name, this spider closely resembles the infamous Black Widow. But luckily, the venom from a Mediterranean False Black Widow is NOT deadly nor particularly dangerous to humans like the Black Widow.
But that does not mean that you should carelessly handle this spider, as their bite doesn’t come without consequences. Being bitten by a Mediterranean False Black Widow is very similar to getting stung by a bee. Common symptoms include blistering, muscle spasms, pain, fever, sweating, and a general feeling of discomfort lasting for several days.
False Black Widows are considered a cosmopolitan species, which means they are common to find in and around homes. They prefer dark areas, such as under furniture or basement corners. But please don’t live in fear, as these spiders normally don’t bite unless they are accidentally pinched or squeezed.
Check out these other guides about animals found in Turkey!
Which of these spiders have you seen before in Turkey?
Leave a comment below!