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Is a purple spider poisonous?

Spiders come in a variety of colors, including shades of purple. While many people may associate bright or unusual colors with danger in the animal kingdom, a spider’s color does not necessarily indicate whether or not it is poisonous. There are poisonous spiders found in purple hues, but also many harmless purple spider species. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common purple spiders and what we know about their toxicity.

Common Purple Spider Species

Some of the most well-known purple spiders include:

  • Purple Recluse Spider – While not truly purple, this brown spider has a purple hue and is poisonous.
  • Violet or Purple Jumping Spider – These small, hairy spiders are generally not dangerous to humans.
  • Orb Weavers – Some species of orb weavers have purplish markings or legs and are not medically significant.
  • Purple Cobweb Spiders – These little purple and orange spiders make messy webs but have mild venom.
  • Velvet Spiders – Brilliant blue and purple velvet spiders have a painful but non-lethal bite.

Poisonous Purple Spiders

Very few purple spider species are actually dangerous to humans. The main spider with potent venom is the Purple (or Brown) Recluse Spider. Here are some key facts about this venomous spider:

  • Scientific Name: Loxosceles reclusa
  • Venom Type: Cytotoxic (cell destroying)
  • Region: Midwest and Southern United States
  • Identifying Traits: Violin-shaped marking, six equal-sized eyes
  • Effects of Bite: Tissue damage, skin lesions, organ damage in rare cases

The Purple Recluse has a hemotoxic venom that destroys cell membranes and can cause a painful lesion at the bite site. While extremely rare, severe reactions can damage blood cells and organs. Other purple spiders like the velvet spider and orb weaver have mild, non-dangerous venom.

Non-Poisonous Purple Spiders

Most purple spiders are harmless and cannot inflict much damage with their small fangs and mild venom. Some common non-poisonous purple spiders include:

Spider Description Region
Violet Jumping Spider Small, hairy, and iridescent; no significant venom Americas
Velvet Spider Colorful and fuzzy; painful but non-lethal bite Worldwide
Orb Weaver Spider Intricate webs; some have purple markings/legs Worldwide

These spiders either cannot bite humans or have venom that only causes a mild irritation but no lasting effects. Many also have vivid purple coloring that wards off predators, indicating they are not dangerous.


While the color purple can seem unusual and striking on a spider, it does not necessarily mean the spider is poisonous. Very few purple spider species pose a threat to human health, with the Purple Recluse Spider being the main exception. Other vibrant purple spiders like jumping spiders and orb weavers are harmless. So while caution is always advisable around unfamiliar spiders, in general a purple coloration does not signify a poisonous spider.

When dealing with any spider you cannot identify, key signs of danger include a violin shape on the body, a cylindrical body, aggressive behavior, and pinching mouths. Adhering to basic safety like wearing gloves when moving objects and inspecting shoes/clothing can allow us to peacefully coexist with helpful, impressive purple spiders in our ecosystem.