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Similar Looking Spiders in Different Families

Eye arrangements for Zora & Anahita can look similar. I'd say look for the stripes on the legs of Zora and the more broken pattern on Anahita.



"Cheiracanthium are distinguished from the closely related species of Clubiona by lacking a conspicuous dorsal groove in the midline of the carapace, the lack of a cluster of long curved erect setae at the anterior end of the abdomen, by having the first pair of legs the longest, and by having a long, pointed spur extending back from the cymbium over the tibia. Species of Cheiracanthium are also characterized by having relatively thinner legs and more robust bodies than Clubiona." From article by Jørgen Lissner seen here. Hibana have the dorsal groove, but also have brown markings on the carapace. They also almost always have two brown rows of spots running down the length of the abdomen.




The following are generally similar looking, but are easily told apart by looking at the length of the pedipalps and the eye arrangements. Some people might also confuse some cellar spiders with these because they have the "violin" mark, but I don't think they look very similar. There is one more spider that has just been found in Florida, Cithaeron praedonius. You can see images here.


Kukulcania (male)


While each of these three has its own distinct look their general appearance and coloring may confuse some people. Especially some Tibellus and Pisaurina can look very similar.




Arachosia cubana


Coloring varies on these, especially in different lighting. The best way to tell these apart is to look at the eye arrangement and the chelicerae. Dysdera have only six eyes and very large chelicerae compared to Trachelas which has eight eyes and more normal sized chelicerae.



These are easy to tell apart if you get a good shot of the eye arrangement. Modisimus have eight eyes and Scytodes have six.



Mimetus & A. miniatus have similar markings, but Mimetus has longer legs. These might also look similar to Modisimus & Scytodes above. However Modisimus has much longer, thinner legs & Scytodes has thinner legs and a different eye arrangement. Metellina mimetoides can also look very similar to Mimetus. Look for the two white comma shaped marks on the anterior of the abdominal hump on Metellina mimetoides, and look for the longer tibiae and curved femurs on Mimetus.


Araneus miniatus

Metellina mimetoides

Again eye arrangement is key when pattern is not obvious.

Dolomedes tenebrosus


The dorsal abdominal pattern of the following might be confusing, but D. triton can be separated from the Pirata/Piratula by the markings on the carapace. When seen in the field (not just an image) it's obvious that the Dolomedes are much larger spiders.

Dolomedes triton

Pirata or Piratula

Amaurobiidae, Amphinectidae, Cybaeidae, Dictynidae, Tengellidae, Zorocratidae
Both Cybaeidae and Amaurobiidae have eyes in two transverse rows with similar carapace shapes. SONA says that Cybaeidae differs from other families by spinneret characters (3 longitudinally arranged pairs), ventral tibial macrosetae (numerous and conspicuous) and smaller size (1-14 mm). In my opinion Cybaeidae may appear to have longer legs in relation to its body than Amaurobiidae.

M. simoni has three pairs of ventral macrosetae on tibia and metatarsus; calamistrum in single row. Amaurobiidae does not have ventral macrosetae, so shots showing the ventral hairs (side views) will be valuable. I think I see the hairs on tibias III & IV of Lenny Vincent's image seen here.

While the color and markings of some Cybaeopsis & Callobius spiders look nearly identical the shape of the carapace is drastically different. Look for the wide front & eyes in the genus Callobius.





Finally you can separate Cybaeus from Cryphoeca exlineae by looking for the white hairs on the abdomen of the latter and Grammonata can be separated by its less striped legs. Grammonata can also be separated from Meriola by its thinner legs.

Cryphoeca exlineae



The following look very similar, but the Plectreurys have thickened front tibia or lateral apophyses on the front tibia.


Kukulcania (female)

We aren't sure how to separate Phrurotimpus from the Liocranidae or whether they even look that similar. We may have some placed incorrectly in the guide. Some comments here.



At this point we aren't sure how to separate Anyphaena from the Agroeca or whether they even look that similar. We may have some placed incorrectly in the guide. More research is being done. After reviewing the photos online my initial guess is that we're confusing live specimen patterns of Anyphaena with dead specimen patterns of Agroeca. I don't think that the patterns of Agroeca are the same when the spider is living. Adding to the confusion is the possibility of juvenile specimen patterns looking completely different than the adults patterns.




Dirksia cinctipes

Anyphaena pacifica

Both spiders have a 'Steatoda look' and white mottling on the abdomen. T. gemmosum may have a different pattern of white. More images needed.

T. gemmosum

S. triangulosa

Between Enoplognatha & Zygiella (& Parazygiella) look for the heavier black line in the center of the abdomen of Enoplognatha. Also Enoplognatha pattern ends with a horizontal black line on the posterior of the abdomen.

Enoplognatha marmorata


Both groups of spiders can have green legs & green/tan carapaces with a stripe down the middle. Looking closely at the dorsal pattern can differentiate between these. Also, the hairs on Mangora's legs are thicker and longer and it is missing the dark line around the carapace that is found in Leucauge. Neriene can also be confused with these two.. see below.






Not sure on field marks yet. May be able to tell by spinnerets & eyes.





Hypselistes vs. Hypsosinga
Best clue is to record the spider's web type. Kyron has some new tips:
I think shape of the carapace may be enough to tell Hypselistes from Hypsosinga. Hypselistes seems to have a fairly typical erigonine face with AMEs closer together than PMEs, and a tall clypeus. The front looks pretty round when viewed from above, which I've also seen a lot in erigonines.

In contrast, my impression of Hypsosinga is that the AMEs and PMEs form a rectangular shape, the clypeus is kind of short, and the carapace is more cornered off at the front.

Finally I notice some difference in the chelicerae. Hypsosinga's just "look" Araneid in nature to me. I can't figure out quite how to describe it though.



Males of the following genera may be confused because of their constricted abdomens. However, Microlinyphia males have a long wiry embolus that turns a full circle larger than the pedipalp itself; both Neriene & Microlinyphia males have a much longer carapace than Coleosoma.




Cyclosa turbinata


**There are also some spiders that look more like other insects. Here is an example of a spider that looks like something in another order.

Obviously if you looks closely you'll see one is a spider, one is a broad-headed bug and one is an ant. However, they have similar coloring and shapes.



P. californicus

I know
you already have Mimetus with Araneus miniatus, but some of the Mimetus might also look similar to the Modisimus/Scytodes.

Thanks John
I already had them next to eachother, but I've added more wording to explain the differences.

Dolomedes triton vs. Pirata piraticus
I would add Dolomedes triton and Pirata piraticus to this list.

I added those.


This is fantastic Lynette, thank you! FYI, I also have people bringing Hibana (Anyphaenidae) to me to ask whether they are Cheiracanthium. That could be another confusing one.


Paired Ventral Spines
Interesting image from Kevin regarding the differences between Xysticus & Ozyptila & the paired ventral spines. It apears they may be harder to see than we originally thought. When you look at the leg from the side how can you tell if it's a single spine or a pair of spines? This could affect our decisions for Amaurbiidae as well.


SONA says that this family is lacking paired ventral spines on the legs. I'm not sure what to make of this comment. They can have ventral spines, but not paired ones? We have plenty images images under Coras that have spiders with ventral spines. See

I would expect that there would be lots of similarities between species modeling themselves on things like ants- same model, similar appearance. I don't know how much depth you want to go into, but it might be good to at least touch on it.

Thanks Chuck
That might be fun.

This will be quite useful to me. Thanks for your work on this article! I'm sure there are even more examples of inter-family mimics - I'll try to add them here when I run across them or remember them...

that will be helpful.

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