Hobo spiders (Agelenidae) and grass spiders (Agelenopsis) are two spider species that are very commonly confused. However, there are some key differences.
A hobo spider is usually slightly brighter in color than a grass spider. It also doesn’t have the same patterns that a grass spider would have on its back. Additionally, grass spiders are usually only found in grasslands and other grassy areas, while hobo spiders are more likely to enter your home.
Similarities include their low toxicity, their funnel webs, and their shared habitats.
Hobo Spider vs Grass Spider
|Feature||Hobo Spider||Grass Spider|
|1. Scientific Name||E. agrestis||Agelenopsis|
|2. Body Size||7 – 14mm||14 – 19mm|
|3. Size Including Legs||51mm||38mm|
|4. Color||Various shades of brown.||Various shades of brown.|
|5. Pattern||Indistinct patterns displaying dark and light browns.||Two dark bands on back. Large distinct spinnerets.|
|7. Where they Live||Pacific North-West||All over the USA and Canada|
|8. Type of Web||Funnel Web||Funnel Web|
These are the factors that make these two spider species similar.
One of the key similarities between these two spiders is that both like to create the so-called funnel webs.
The function of these webs is not only to protect the spider but also to assist them in catching their prey. Another minor function of these webs is to catch debris inside the web, which can make life a bit more comfortable for the spider.
For grass spiders, you’ll see large-scale funnel webs created in grasslands and among plants and blades of grass, while hobo spiders like to create them in other concealed areas in nature, such as between wooden logs, in holes, near the ground, or anywhere where the hobo spider might live.
Overall, the webs of grass spiders tend to be larger than the webs of hobo spiders. These webs of grass spiders can stretch for several feet and might cover an entire lawn if the grass spider is given space and time to maneuver.
2. Shape and Size
Even though grass spiders tend to be slightly smaller than hobo spiders, it would be very hard to tell the difference between the two instantly.
Grass spiders will reach a body size (excluding legs) of about an inch at most, while most hobo spiders will reach a size of about 1.5 inches at most.
Another crucial factor that makes them seem so similar is their shape. Both have thin legs, and they also don’t have many hairs on their bodies (they do have some subtle urticating hairs on their legs, though).
The abdomen of both these species is thin and the cephalothorax is a bit thicker than the abdomen. The legs appear thin and sharp, which is a typical feature of both of these species.
Both hobo spiders and grass spiders have a very similar type of diet – both prefer to eat insects as their primary type of food.
They’ll also catch bugs and other spiders that are smaller than themselves.
A large factor that helps them catch these animals is their webs. These funnel webs are created in such a way that it’s easy for their prey to get stuck inside, especially insects.
Once an insect has been caught inside the web, the hobo or grass spider will proceed to inject venom. The venom will then cripple or paralyze the affected target, which leaves them unable to move. At the same time, the spider will use their enzymes to start liquifying the target, which makes it then easier to consume.
Firstly, the colors of both of these animals are slightly different. Hobo spiders tend to be slightly brighter in color than grass spiders, as their colors are grey to light brown, while grass spiders tend to be a slightly darker brown.
However, colors are not the best way to distinguish between very similar spiders because the colors can vary significantly within a species. Furthermore, the hobo and grass spiders can often be of a very similar color. But, the general rule is that hobo spiders tend to be slightly brighter than grass spiders.
2. Body Patterns
Perhaps the most noticeable difference between these two species is the patterns that they both have on their backs.
In this regard, hobo spiders don’t have nearly the same or as many patterns on their backs as grass spiders do. Grass spiders often have two to three brown stripes on their back (usually two). Hobo spiders, on the other hand, don’t have these stripes.
You’re more likely to find hobo spiders in a house whereas grass spiders prefer to hang out in the garden.
Grass spiders, as the name suggests, prefer to live in grasses and grasslands where they will create larger webs between plants and grasses. They also love outdoor areas and in particular, areas where there’s a lot of greenery near the ground where they can create their webs for hunting.
Hobo spiders, on the other hand, prefer more secluded areas in nature where they can hide from the rest of the world. This includes holes and spaces in nature, such as between wooden logs, where they can hide and live in peace and not be disturbed by other animals.
On the whole, hobo spiders are far more commonly seen in households where they can hide in sinks and other enclosed spaces.
Grass spiders can sometimes enter houses, but they will only do so in autumn when temperatures start dropping and if they don’t have any other options outdoors.
Which is More Venomous?
On the whole, both grass spiders and hobo spiders are not dangerous to humans. They are equally as venomous as each other.
However, they still possess venom, which is crucial for their survival. It enables them to catch other animals and kill them using their venom, so it has to be potent enough for them to paralyze their prey.
But for an adult human being, a sting from either of these two species should not prove problematic. They both might cause pain and some discomfort, but that’s about as bad as it will get – unless you’re allergic to spider bites.
Always seek professional advice if you have been bitten by a spider.
Both spiders’ venom is not powerful enough to harm a human. But both spiders are also not dangerous because their fangs are not strong enough to penetrate human skin sufficiently to inject enough venom for it to be too dangerous. That’s why in the majority of the cases where people are bitten by either of these two species tend to resolve quickly and on their own.
Thus, these two spiders look far more menacing than they really are.
Other Spider Comparisons:
Hobo and grass spiders might appear similar to each other as most funnel-web spiders do, but there are some differences between the two. Primarily, hobo spiders are brighter than grass spiders and don’t have patterns on their backs.