Visiting Cuba should be on everyone’s list of places to see. Its incredible endemic flora and fauna spread wide across the island and is home to all kinds of animals. From birds and insects to spiders and larger mammals. Spiders have always played a major role in the ecosystem by helping get rid of insects that are considered pests to crops and other vegetation.
Spiders in Cuba range in size, shape, and color, and most of them are venomous. However, none pose a threat or risk to humans. Whether you’re a fan of these eight-legged creepy crawlies or not you’ll find them just about anywhere, from the undisturbed corners of homes and garages to perching on trees and the surface of ponds.
We’ve put together the ultimate guide of 7 spiders in Cuba so you can be aware of them, identify them, and if you’re a spider fanatic even go out searching for them.
1. Rustic Wolf Spider (Trochosa Ruricola)
|Habitat:||Grassland, woodland scrubs, and lawns|
|Characteristics:||Dark brown in color with a pale band that runs down the carapace and abdomen|
Rustic Wolf Spiders are distinctively dark brown in color and have a pale band that runs down their carapace and abdomen. The female rustic wolf spider can be anything from 15 mm to 25 mm in size while the males tend to be smaller at around 10 mm.
These spiders tend to hunt on the ground and eat small invertebrates. As they are ground spiders they can often get caught in pitfall traps. They tend to be found in grasslands, woodland scrubs, and lawns in parts of Europe, North America, Cuba, and Asia.
Although these spiders may look large and scary they are actually gentle giants, they don’t tend to bite unless provoked. Even if they do bite you though, they aren’t harmful or poisonous to humans, although some people can be allergic to their venom. So if you see one, it’s much more likely to be more scared of you than you are of it.
2. Six-Spotted Fishing Spider (Dolomedes Triton)
|Habitat:||Ponds, lakeshores, slow-moving streams|
|Characteristics:||Grey to brown body with a white to cream stripe running down each side of their body|
|Diet:||Aquatic insects, small fish, frogs, and tadpoles|
The six-spotted fishing spider is part of the nursery web spider family. You’re likely to find this spider skirting across the surface of a pond, slow-moving stream, or even on the shores of a lake. These spiders are fairly large in size and have very distinctive markings. The six-spotted fishing spider ranges in color from grey to brown and will have a white or pale cream-colored stripe down each side of their body and light-colored spots.
Females can grow to around 60mm including leg span which is far larger than the male. Juveniles look identical to adults but are a lot smaller in size, they also go through several molting cycles during their lifetime before they reach adulthood. These semi-aquatic spiders can hunt and kill fish up to five times their body size and they use venom to help immobilize their prey.
While these spiders do have venom they aren’t likely to hurt or kill a human. These scary-looking spiders will probably run away if they see you and only tend to bite if they feel threatened. Their bite is no more painful than a bee or wasp sting.
3. Swift Crab Spider (Mecaphesa Celer)
|Habitat:||Shrubs, bushes, small trees, crop plants|
|Characteristics:||Two long legs at the front, two short legs at the back. Size and color vary between males and females|
|Diet:||Insects that feed on plants (bees, wasps, butterflies, etc.)|
Found across the United States and in places like Canada, Cuba, and Mexico, the Swift Crab Spider is an interesting-looking creepy crawly. With two long front legs and two short back legs, you can see where the crab spider part came from. You tend to find these spiders in Cuba on plants such as shrubs, bushes, flowers, small trees, and crop plants.
Like many other species of spider, the females are larger than the males usually measuring around 1.65mm wide as opposed to 1.28mm for the males. The colors of a female Swift Crab Spider tend to be yellow or yellowish-white with dark stripes on either side of its body. The males tend to be darker in color and have red bands around their legs. Females also have two rows of red dots at the end of their abdomen whereas males have two solid red lines in the shape of a V.
These spiders play a huge role in the ecosystem by eating the insects that are considered pests for crops, they are also preyed upon by some wasp species who use them to provide food for their offspring. They also have no adverse effect on humans and are considered to be completely harmless.
4. Hentz Jumping Spider (Hentzia Palmarum)
|Characteristics:||Small, two long red front regs, the rest are yellow, two red pedipalps which are part of their jaw, large round eyes with an orange band of hairs, and a set of smaller eyes.|
|Diet:||Flies, mosquitoes, aphids, ants,|
These small spiders may give you a fright when they jump but they’re actually quite beautiful. The Hentz Jumping Spider can be found among leaf litter and on the ground outside and like some spiders, you may even find them in your home. Rather than creating a web to catch prey, the jumping spider pounces on it in an ambush attack. For such small spiders, they can jump a fair distance and will often give you a fright if you’re a little scared of them.
They are not harmful to humans and should you get close enough to one they will more than likely jump or scurry away quickly. These spiders in Cuba can be identified by their two long red front legs and average yellow legs, they have two large eyes in the front of the head and a further two smaller ones on either side surrounded by an orange band of hairs. These spiders also have two red-colored pedipalps which are often thought to be a 5th pair of legs, these are in fact part of their jaw.
Their heads tend to be brown-red in color and are bordered by a white hairy band. This band also borders each side of the abdomen. Across the abdomen, you’ll find a subtle band of dark hairs as well as dark and white mottling on the top of the cephalothorax.
5. Cuban Bronze Tarantula (Phormictopus Auratus)
|Habitat:||Rainforest and humid climates|
|Characteristics:||Golden brown/bronze in color with thick legs and a heavy body|
|Diet:||Crickets, locusts, house flies, and cockroaches|
The Cuban Bronze Tarantula is a new world species that is endemic to the island of Cuba and is usually found more in the Camagüey, Las Tunas, and Holguín regions in the south. They love tropical forestry habitats and while they might look scary they pose no threat to humans. These spiders have fine and dense golden hairs giving them their bronze-like appearance. The Cuban Bronze spider can grow up to 7cm in size and have thick legs and heavy bodies.
Should you see one of these spiders you’ll be forgiven for thinking it’s just another tarantula. These large spiders will give anyone the creeps and they are considered to be one the most dangerous animals in Cuba. Although their bite can’t kill you it could still give you a nasty infection if left untreated. They can also cause an allergic reaction so seeking medical attention is advised.
6. Long-Jawed Orb Weaver (Tetragnatha Versicolor)
|Habitat:||Wide range of environments from wetlands and forests to grasslands and shrubs|
|Characteristics:||Small in size, dark yellow or pale orange markings on its carapace and legs, with silver markings along the sides of the abdomen|
|Diet:||Small flying insects|
When searching for information about spiders in Cuba you may come across this small but strange-looking one. The Long-Jawed Orb Weaver is found throughout North America, Canada, Central America, and Cuba. These spiders can be found in a range of habitats from wetlands, grasslands, and forests to trees, shrubs, and flowers. It’s rare to find these spiders near aquatic environments but they have still been spotted there.
Long-Jawed Orb Weavers are usually dark yellow to orange in color and are around 5mm in length for males and around 6.5mm in length for females. These small spiders are about the size of the tip of your finger and are distinctively much longer than they are wider. These orb weavers can be easily distinguished from others in the Tetragnatha family due to the separation of the anterior and posterior eyes and the appearance of their reproductive organs.
Just like other orb weavers, they spin webs to catch their prey which consists of flying insects such as flies and mosquitoes. They also tend to be nocturnal so that they can avoid being eaten by predators. These spiders pose no threat to humans even though they have a venomous bite.
7. Huntsman Spider (Diminutella)
|Habitat:||Under bark and rocks, sometimes found in garages, houses, cars, garden sheds|
|Characteristics:||Large with either gray or brown bodies. Some may have bands or markings over their legs or body. Eight eyes|
|Diet:||Insects, small mammals, other spiders, small lizards|
When you hear the name Huntsman Spider you tend to think of Australia but the huntsman can also be found across Cuba, Africa, Central America, North America, South America, and Asia. Believe it or not, this spider is the smallest of the giants. A female Diminutella huntsman’s body is only around 4.5 mm. It’s the only species in its genus that’s found in Cuba.
Most huntsman spiders are brown or gray in color, have flat hairy bodies, and their legs can fold uniquely allowing them to find in some small spaces despite their large size. Most of the time you shouldn’t find this creepy-crawly inside your home but if you do they tend to be in garages, garden sheds, outbuildings, and barns. However, you could also find them in your home behind curtains, blinds, and paintings. They have even been spotted inside people’s cars.
Although these spiders a pretty scary, they don’t pose a threat to humans. A bite from a huntsman can be painful as they are venomous, however, the venomous doesn’t usually kill a human unless they suffer from an allergic reaction. Most of the time a bite from a huntsman won’t require hospital treatment.
What Is The Largest Spider in Cuba?
There are plenty of spiders in Cuba and the biggest is the Cuban Bronze Tarantula. This spider measures around 70mm in size so should be relatively easy to spot in the wild should they make themselves known. These spiders are a browny-bronze color and tend to favor tropical forestry areas. They pose no threat to humans despite their large size.
Are Spiders Common in Cuba?
Just like everywhere in the world, you’ll find plenty of spiders in Cuba. From large tarantulas to tiny jumping spiders, if you look hard enough you’ll find one. Most spiders will stay well away from humans and will scurry away if they sense predators coming. The main thing to remember when you spot a spider is that it’s probably way more scared of you than you are of it and most pose no real threat to humans. If threatened they may bite but none should require medical attention should that happen.
Are There Venomous Spiders in Cuba?
All spiders are venomous including ones you find in Cuba however, they pose no threat or risk of death to humans. While there are some poisonous spiders in Cuba, they tend to stay well away from humans, and should you get bitten most won’t require any medical attention unless you are allergic to their poison.