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Long-bodied cellar spider

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Pholcus phalangioides

These spiders, which often live indoors, are recognizable by their long, thin legs and their elongated, greyish-white bodies. The females’ legs are five or six times as long as their bodies, which measure about 9 mm. The males are slightly smaller.

They are also known as skull spiders, because their cephalothorax vaguely resembles a human skull.

Zebra spider

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Salticus scenicus

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These are small, sturdy spiders, 5 to 7 mm long, with fairly short legs. They owe their name to the black and white (or brown and white) stripes on their hairy abdomens. As with all salticid (jumping) spiders, the two eyes on the front of the cephalothorax are much larger than the others.

These spiders can leap to attack their prey and move about.

Jumping spiders

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This is a large family of spiders, with a wide variety of size and colouration. Jumping spiders range from 1 to 22 mm, but most are small. They often have contrasting bright or iridescent colours, especially the males. Their legs are relatively short.

They are generally recognizable by the shape of their cephalothorax (the front part of a spider’s body, combining the head and thorax) and particularly by the size and location of their eight eyes.

Four of the eyes are located at the front of the cephalothorax, and the two anterior median eyes are especially large and mobile.

The other four eyes are located in back, giving jumping spiders a 360° field of vision.

Jumping spiders do not spin webs. They produce silken threads that they use as safety lines when leaping, or to make shelters.

Goldenrod spider

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Misumena vatia

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These spiders, like the other Thomisidae, have characteristics normally associated with crabs: their first two pairs of legs are longer and often held apart, ready to catch their prey, and they scuttle sideways when disturbed.

The females are yellow or white. Their abdomens, wider toward the rear, have two bright pink longitudinal stripes. They are from 6 to 11 mm long, without their legs. The males are smaller (3 to 5 mm) and darker. Their legs and bodies are reddish brown, with a white mark above the eyes.

Crab spiders

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It’s easy to understand why the Thomisidae are called “crab spiders”: their flattened bodies, the way they often hold their front legs apart, ready to catch their prey, and the way they scuttle sideways when disturbed.

They are from 1.5 to 11.3 mm long. Their first two sets of legs are generally longer than the others. They are used for hunting, while the four hind legs are used for movement. These spiders generally move sideways or backwards.

Many species use mimicry to camouflage themselves in their surroundings.

Some resemble bird droppings, while others can even change colour to match the flower they are living and hunting on.

The males are often much smaller than the females. In some genera, the two sexes are quite dissimilar, even of different colours.

Yellow sac spider

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Cheiracanthium mildei

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These small spiders are 7 to 10 mm long. Their body is pale, greenish, tan or whitish yellow. The abdomen is slightly translucent and may change colour depending on what the spider has eaten. It ends with conical, rather than cylindrical, spinnerets.

Their front legs are longer than the others, and all eight legs end in a small pair of claws. On the head, there are two horizontal rows of four similarly sized eyes. The palps and chelicerae are brown.

Garden spiders

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Two species of garden spiders are found in Quebec: Argiope aurantia Lucas (the yellow garden spider) and Argiope trifasciata (the banded garden spider)

These large, brightly coloured spiders, which are often found immobile in the centre of their large web marked with a zigzag, are among the most beautiful and easiest spiders to recognize.

The yellow garden spider’s abdomen is black and yellow and pointed at one end. Sometimes its abdomen also features white, orange and red patches. Its legs are black and may have coloured stripes. Females are much larger than males. They measure between 19 and 28 mm long, while their partners are only 5 to 8 mm long.

The banded garden spider’s pale yellow abdomen has horizontal silver, yellow and black spots. This species is a bit smaller. Females measure between 15 to 25 mm long, while their partners are only 4 to 5.5 mm long.

Western black widow spider

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Latrodectus hesperus

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Western black widow spiders are small, from 7 to 15 mm long. They have a large abdomen and four small pairs of legs. They are black with a red geometric hourglass pattern on the underside of the abdomen. Females are much larger than males and usually a duller colour.

Cobweb spiders

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Cobweb spiders, like all spiders, have eight legs. In most species, the abdomen is marked with colourful patterns that simplify identification. These spiders have “combs” on their hind legs that they use to wrap their prey in layers of silk.

The shapes of the webs woven by these spiders vary greatly from one species to another. The spiders often rest head down on their webs.

Tarantulas

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This family includes large spiders with bodies as big as a thumb and often even larger. Many species are quite hairy. Some are covered with special, highly urticating hairs that can be irritating on contact.

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