If you wanted to find a checklist of the bird species of Minnesota, it is relatively easy to locate a copy and I have discovered that holds true for the other vertebrate animals as well.  With a little searching you may be able to find a checklist to Minnesota’s vascular plants and even checklists to invertebrate animals such as butterflies or dragonflies for the state.  But if you were to do some searching for a Minnesota spider checklist, you would come up empty…until now.

Argiope aurantia female Kutz Prairie--27 Aug 2011--Blue Earth Co

Golden Argiope (Argiope aurantia)

This site is designed to fill that hole.  The original plan was to publish a preliminary checklist of Minnesota’s spiders in a peer-reviewed journal, but every time I arrived at a “final draft”, new discoveries forced another revision.  With changes frequently being made to the list, it seemed better to simply make it available on the web and update it as needed.

This website is not intended to help you identify that spider in your house that may or may not have bitten you.  For such instances, I recommend that you visit BugGuide and either search through the Guide to find a spider that looks like yours or submit a photograph to their ID Request.  BugGuide is designed to help users identify unknown insects and spiders and their experts are very helpful (though I am admittedly biased).

Very little is known about the abundance and distribution of Minnesota’s spiders.  Even a common, easily recognized species like the Golden Argiope above has but a handful of records across Minnesota’s 87 counties (21 counties with records or 24% as of 26 November 2017).  You can help with that understanding by submitting photographs to the Spiders of Minnesota Project on iNaturalist.  I hope to see you there!

This site is maintained by Chad Heins, Assistant Professor of Biology at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota.