|Spiders are not insects, but eight-legged "Arachnids", more closely related to ticks and scorpions than they are to ants and beetles. They live all over the world, but here in Alaska, we don't have as many different species as warmer areas do. We don't have any of the very large ones either. There is a difference of opinion whether or not there are any poisonous spiders here. There are some reports of people who had bites that looked like the type of injury typical of Brown Recluse Spiders, but the culprits themselves were never found. Most spiders are either harmless, or actually helpful, because they can catch harmful insects in their webs.|
Flower Spiders (AKA Crab Spiders):
These small spiders are commonly found on flowers, and they tend to move much like crabs, so both common names are used. They are in the Family Thomisidae, and Genus Misumenops. I don't know the species of this individual. It was seen on a wild rose in Anchorage. They don't form webs, but sit and wait for insects to come to the plant. They eat harmful insects, such as aphids, but helpful polinators as well.
Orb Weaver Spider
We had a cool, rainy summer here in Anchorage this year (2006) and it seemed to be ideal conditions for our Orb Weaver Spiders, as they have been unusually numerous. They are our largest spiders, about 3/4" long (body length), and quite attractive when you look at them close up. There are about 3000 different species, divided into a couple hundred genera, so I'm not even going to try to identify it beyond "Orb Weaver", in the family Araneidae. This is the type of spider that builds large webs with "spokes" radiating out from a center circle.
Common House Spider
This is a very small spider, about 3/16" inch long (body), frequently found inside homes and buildings. They build cobwebs to snare food. There are many species that are very similar in appearance. I believe the genus of this one is Steatoda. The cobweb builders are classed with the family Theridiidae.