Trigger warning: you're about to see a bunch of pictures of the only venomous spider in New York state that is poisonous to humans. On the bright side, at least they can't jump out of the screen and bite you.

A Saugerties, NY resident was recently left shaken after coming into contact with a bright yellow spider. Creepy-looking? Absolutely. Is it the spider that has necrotic venom can cause painful wounds in humans? Let's investigate.

Is this a venomous yellow sac spider or a harmless (to humans) goldenrod crab spider? Keep reading to learn the difference (SweetBabeeJay via Canva)
Is this a venomous yellow sac spider or a harmless (to humans) goldenrod crab spider? Keep reading to learn the difference (SweetBabeeJay via Canva)
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Venomous Spider Potentially Spotted in Saugerties, NY

"I've never seen this bold yellow spider before", began a recent Facebook post from a Saugerties, NY resident.  "Google Lens identified it as a potential Yellow Sac Spider, which is poisonous. Has anyone seen this one before?", she asked. The comment section exploded.

The fangs and spinnerets of the yellow sac spider (cheiracanthium mildei) help make identification easier (Canva)
The fangs and spinnerets of the yellow sac spider (cheiracanthium mildei) help make identification easier (Canva)
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Identifying Yellow Sac Spider in New York

"Keep it in Saugerties", said one arachnophobe. "I'm stomping on my phone to kill it", said another. Soon, however, the conversation turned to the correct identification of the spider. Was this really a yellow sac spider, or a harmless insect that was simply misidentified?

Identifying New York Spiders

"[That is a ] golden rod crab spider. Yellow sac spider is more widow shaped", observed one commenter. "Looks like a crab spider", echoed another. Here are the major differences between the two spiders; one of which has venom that is poisonous to humans, and the other which is only harmful to their insect prey.

Yellow sac spider (L) and the goldenrod crab spider (R) (ePhotocorp/VitaSerendipity via Canva)
Yellow sac spider (L) and the goldenrod crab spider (R) (ePhotocorp/VitaSerendipity via Canva)
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Identifying the Yellow Sac Spider in New York

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) describes the yellow sac spider as "light colored spiders with noticeably protruding spinnerets and dark fangs". Their elongated abdomens and lighter colors are two of the main differentiators between the sac spider and the crab spider, which gets its name for several obvious reasons.

Crab Spiders in New York

Crab spiders, including the goldenrod crab spider, are named due to not only their similarity in shape to one of our favorite crustaceans, but the way they move as well. "Crab spiders get their name from the way they hold their legs out to their sides and walk with a crab-like scuttle", says the NYS DEC. "The first two pair of legs are often greatly enlarged, making them even more crab-like in appearance."

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It's important to note that while a yellow sac spider's bite can cause a painful ulcer, they are not deadly to healthy adults, nor are they as dangerous as some spiders found elsewhere in the United States. As the NYS DEC says, "in New York, bites attributed to brown recluse spiders are almost certainly from yellow sac spiders". Learn more about fascinating insects below.

Quiz: Do you know your state insect?

Stacker has used a variety of sources to compile a list of the official state insect(s) of each U.S. state, as well as their unique characteristics. Read on to see if you can guess which insect(s) represent your state. 

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