Maui is home to several species of spiders, both native and introduced.
One of the most common species is the Hawaiian garden spider (Argiope appensa), which can be identified by its distinctive yellow and black markings. These spiders are often found in gardens and wooded areas, where they spin large webs to catch insects.
Another common spider found on Maui is the long-jawed orb weaver (Tetragnatha spp.), which is known for its long, thin legs and small body. These spiders are often found near water sources, such as streams and ponds, where they build their webs to catch flying insects.
The cane spider (Heteropoda venatoria) is another species that is commonly found on Maui. These large, brown spiders are often seen indoors and can be quite startling to encounter; I know because I almost stuck my hand on one while doing laundry outside near some shaded bricks. However, cane spiders (though large) are generally harmless to humans and actually help to control populations of other insects.
There are also several introduced species of spiders on Maui, such as the brown widow (Latrodectus geometricus) and the golden orb weaver (Nephila clavipes). While these spiders are not native to Hawaii, they have become established on the islands and can be found in various habitats.
While some species of spiders on Maui may look intimidating, the vast majority are harmless to humans. Whenever I’m hiking or moving piles of wood, I remain cautious and avoid disturbing spiders or their webs, as some species may bite if provoked. I’d rather not chance an owie.
Which Spiders on Maui Are Potentially Dangerous to Humans?
While most species of spiders on Maui are harmless to humans, there are a few that can be potentially dangerous. The two most notable species are the black widow (Latrodectus mactans), brown widow (Latrodectus geometricus), and potentially the brown recluse (Loxosceles reclusa), all of which are not native to Hawaii but can be accidentally introduced.
Black widows are shiny black spiders with a distinctive red hourglass-shaped marking on their abdomen. Their bite can cause a range of symptoms, including muscle pain, cramping, and sweating, and in severe cases, can be fatal. However, black widow bites are relatively rare on Maui.
Brown recluse spiders are brown spiders with a distinctive violin-shaped marking on their back. Their bite can cause necrosis, or tissue death, which can be slow to heal and may require medical attention. Brown recluse spiders are not commonly found on Maui, but they have been reported in isolated instances.
It’s important to note that while these spiders can be potentially dangerous, bites are still relatively rare on Maui. Visitors can reduce their risk of encountering these spiders by avoiding dark, undisturbed areas where spiders may be hiding, wearing protective clothing when hiking or exploring natural areas, and shaking out clothing and shoes before putting them on.
Spider Bites: Risks and What to Do
There are many species of spiders found throughout Hawaii, including Maui. While most spiders are harmless and important to the island ecosystem, there are a few species that you should be aware of that may pose a risk to humans. In this guide, we’ll provide you with information on the spiders to watch out for, their symptoms, and tips on how to prevent spider bites.
Spider Species to Watch Out For
The Southern Black Widow and Brown Widow spiders are two species of concern that are found in Hawaii. Their bites can be dangerous and require medical attention. The Brown Widow spider is a little smaller than the Black Widow spider but its venom is twice as potent. However, Brown Widows are generally less aggressive in defending their webs. The Bold or Daring Jumping Spider is another spider to be cautious of, as its bite is painful and may produce redness, swelling, and blistering.
Symptoms of Spider Bites
Symptoms of a spider bite can range from mild to severe, depending on the species of spider and the individual’s reaction to the venom. Symptoms may include itching or rash, pain radiating from the site of the bite, muscle pain or cramping, reddish to purplish color or blister, increased sweating, difficulty breathing, headache, nausea and vomiting, fever, chills, anxiety or restlessness, and high blood pressure.
Spider Bite Prevention
To reduce your exposure to potentially dangerous spiders, you can take preventative measures. This includes:
- removing spider webs from around your home,
- sealing any cracks or openings around your home and installing window screens,
- wearing protective clothing when handling piles of materials or rocks,
- eliminating tall grasses and reducing debris and rubble from outdoor work areas,
- and inspecting and shaking out clothing and shoes before getting dressed. I always check my shoes before sticking my foot in there (thanks, Arachnophobia movie).
What to Do if Bitten by a Spider
If bitten by a spider, it’s important to stay calm and identify the type of spider if it is possible to do so safely.
Wash the bite area with soap and water, apply a cloth dampened with cold water or filled with ice to the bite area to reduce swelling, and elevate the bite area if possible. [source]
Do not attempt to remove venom and seek professional medical attention immediately.
While spider bites are rare, it’s important to be aware of the few species of spiders that may pose a risk to humans while on Maui. By taking preventative measures and knowing what to do if bitten, you can help protect yourself and enjoy all the beauty and adventure that Maui has to offer. Mahalo!
Are There Spiders on Maui That Jump?
There are several species of brown jumping spiders that can be found on Maui, but one of the most common is the bold jumping spider (Phidippus audax). This spider is native to North America but has become naturalized in many parts of the world, including Hawaii.
The bold jumping spider is named for its ability to jump great distances, often several times its own body length. They are typically brown or black with white or yellow markings on their body and legs. The males are usually smaller than the females, with a body length of around ½ inch.
Bold jumping spiders are active hunters and prey on a variety of insects, including flies, moths, and other spiders. Most jumping spiders are poisonous, but they carry venom in minimal doses that won’t cause much harm to humans beyond an initial sting and some redness at the site of the bite.
These spiders are commonly found in gardens, parks, and other outdoor areas, where they can be seen perched on leaves or other surfaces, waiting for prey to come by. They are also known for their curious behavior and can be observed approaching and investigating humans who come near them.
Overall, the bold jumping spider is a fascinating and harmless species that can be appreciated for its beauty and interesting behavior.
Some Facts About Spiders on Maui
- Giant webs appearing in yards upcountry in Hawaii are feats of engineering by spiders.
- The spotted orb weaver, an introduced spider, is one of approximately 205 species of spiders in Hawaii.
- There are an estimated 77 introduced spider species, which arrived in Hawaii accidentally or unknowingly over the last few hundred years.
Native Spiders in Hawaii
- All 126 species of spiders native to Hawaii are endemic and found nowhere else in the world.
- Native spiders colonized the islands by drifting here on the wind courtesy of the tiny spider parachutes attached to their young.
- Happy face spiders are one of the most famous native spiders; they live in remote rainforests tucked under a leaf.
Introduced Spiders in Hawaii
- The impact of introduced spiders like the orb weaver seems to be negligible, and they are not particularly venomous.
- The presence of introduced spiders may contribute to an imbalance in the invertebrate food webs.
- Cane spiders, garden spiders, spiny backed orb-weavers, and false funnel spiders are common introduced spiders in Hawaii that live among houses and gardens.
- Black widow spiders and the brown violin spider are both present in Hawaii and fairly widespread and dangerous.
- All spiders have a venomous bite, but only a few introduced arachnids are harmful.
- The introduced spiders in Hawaii are too widespread to be controlled by any organization or agency.
- Strong and well-funded inspection of incoming cargo can help stop harmful spiders (and snakes) from arriving in Hawaii.
- Interested individuals can find good information and identification help for common spiders online.
There are several websites that people can use to identify spiders and spider bites:
- Spidentify – https://spidentify.it/
- BugGuide – https://bugguide.net/
- Spider ID – https://spiderid.com/
- CDC Venomous Spiders – https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/spiders/
- Mayo Clinic Spider Bites – https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/spider-bites/symptoms-causes/syc-20352371