Spiders are thought to play a significant role in limiting pest outbreaks in agroecosystems such as vineyards, orchards and cotton. The diversity and impact of spiders in vegetable crops are less well understood, although there is evidence that predators may be important for suppression of lepidopteran pests in Brassica crops, particularly early in the season before parasitoids become established. Sampling was conducted in early season plantings of Brassicas in the Lockyer Valley (South East Queensland, Australia) in order to determine the most commonly occurring spider families. The most numerous were Theridiidae, which were more strongly associated with cauliflower and poorly associated with cabbage. The Lycosidae and Clubionidae/Miturgidae (formerly in the ‘catch-all’ family Clubionidae) also occurred commonly. Lycosidae (and to a lesser extent Salticidae) had above average abundance in Chinese cabbage and below average abundance in broccoli compared with average abundance for these spider families; Clubionidae/Miturgidae had above average abundance in cauliflower. Laboratory studies were then conducted to explore the predatory capacity of these three most commonly occurring spider families. All three were capable of feeding on larvae of the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (Linnaeus), and cabbage cluster caterpillar, Crocidolomia pavonana (Fabricius), under laboratory conditions. Theridiidae, which are thought to prey on small pests such as leafhoppers and aphids, were able to successfully attack larvae up to five times their body size. Predation rates varied from an average of 1.7 (SE = 0.47) (1.6 control corrected) larvae consumed over a 24 h period in the case of the Theridiidae, to 3.3 (SE = 0.60) larvae for the Clubionidae/Miturgidae.