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Rabid Wolf Spider (Rabidosa rabida): Facts, Identification, & Pictures Rabid Wolf Spider (Rabidosa rabida): Facts, Identification, & Pictures
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Rabid Wolf (Rabidosa rabida)

Do you know about the Rabid Wolf spider? It’s a yellow spider living in certain areas of North America. Even though its name sounds scary, it doesn’t have rabies. Instead, the name comes from how quickly and energetically it moves. Stay tuned for more interesting facts about this spider!

Scientific Classification

Rabid Wolf Spider

Physical Description and Identification

Adults

  • Size: The females are larger than the males, with the former being 16 to 21 mm in length, while the latter has an average length of 13 mm.
  • Color: The cephalothorax part has two black stripes, while the abdomen has only one, and is of the same color. The rest of the body of the spider is yellow.
Rabid Wolf Spider Size
  • Other Characteristic Features: They are active hunters and chance predators that would wait until a prey arrives close enough to attack suddenly. They do not spin webs.
Male Rabid Wolf Spider

Photo Credit: Manda Whispell

Eggs

The egg sacs are between 7 and 10 mm in diameter. The female of the species drags their egg mass around along with them. The mass is attached to their bodies by a silken cocoon spun around it. As the time for the eggs to hatch nears, the cocoon gradually turns darker – from glossy white to a muddy brown.

Rabid Wolf Spider Egg

Photo Credit: Gary Myers

Spiderlings

As the eggs hatch, around 168 to 365 very tiny baby spiders come out and ride on the back of their mother. They move along with the mother until they are ready to get dispersed, which takes almost six months.

Rabid Wolf Spiderlings

Are Rabid Wolf Spiders Venomous?

Yes, Rabid Wolf Spiders are venomous. They use their venom to help catch their meals, but it’s not too strong for humans.

Female Rabid Wolf Spider

Can Rabid Wolf Spiders Bite?

Yes, Rabid Wolf Spiders can bite. They are not aggressive and usually run away if they feel threatened, or in danger. They would only inflict a bite if there is no other option, and the bite can be mildly painful, but has been defined as ‘medically insignificant’ (does not give any infection to humans).

Rabid Wolf Spider Web

Ecological Importance and Behavior of Rabid Wolf Spider

This species is an important biological control agent, preying on a variety of invertebrates including locusts, ants, grasshoppers, and crickets. Their presence helps maintain a balance in the ecosystems they inhabit, curbing potential insect overpopulation.

Natural Predators: Rabid Wolf Spiders themselves are prey to birds, larger wolf spiders, snakes, and occasionally domestic animals like dogs and cats. This predation is a natural part of the ecological cycle, ensuring the spider’s population remains in balance with the environment.

Prey-Predator Dynamics: The Rabid Wolf Spider’s interactions with its prey and predators reflect the dynamic balance of the ecosystems they inhabit. They are a crucial link in the food web, influencing the abundance and health of other species populations.

Relationship with Humans: While venomous, Rabid Wolf Spiders are not aggressive towards humans and tend to flee rather than bite. If they do bite, it’s generally considered medically insignificant. They are often found in human-proximate habitats but pose no significant threat.

Rabidosa rabida

Photo Credit: Bryan Tobias

Quick Facts

LifespanUp to two years in the wild
DistributionEastern to central parts of Texas and Oklahoma, in Nebraska, as far east as Maine, and down south as Florida
HabitatOn the ground in different open areas including farm fields, grassy lands, firewood or ground tunnels, under piles of leaves, or other ground clutter
Common predatorsBirds, larger wolf spiders, snakes, dogs, and cats
DietMostly prefer eating small insects and other invertebrates including locusts, ants, grasshoppers, crickets, and other smaller spiders

Did You Know

  • The rabid wolf spiders have the ability to swim in water.

In summary, the Rabid Wolf Spider is a non-web-spinning arachnid whose predatory nature aids in the regulation of insect populations, playing a vital ecological role.

Do you know about the Rabid Wolf spider? It’s a yellow spider living in certain areas of North America. Even though its name sounds scary, it doesn’t have rabies. Instead, the name comes from how quickly and energetically it moves. Stay tuned for more interesting facts about this spider!

Rabid Wolf Spider

Physical Description and Identification

Adults

  • Size: The females are larger than the males, with the former being 16 to 21 mm in length, while the latter has an average length of 13 mm.
  • Color: The cephalothorax part has two black stripes, while the abdomen has only one, and is of the same color. The rest of the body of the spider is yellow.
Rabid Wolf Spider Size
  • Other Characteristic Features: They are active hunters and chance predators that would wait until a prey arrives close enough to attack suddenly. They do not spin webs.
Male Rabid Wolf Spider

Photo Credit: Manda Whispell

Eggs

The egg sacs are between 7 and 10 mm in diameter. The female of the species drags their egg mass around along with them. The mass is attached to their bodies by a silken cocoon spun around it. As the time for the eggs to hatch nears, the cocoon gradually turns darker – from glossy white to a muddy brown.

Rabid Wolf Spider Egg

Photo Credit: Gary Myers

Spiderlings

As the eggs hatch, around 168 to 365 very tiny baby spiders come out and ride on the back of their mother. They move along with the mother until they are ready to get dispersed, which takes almost six months.

Rabid Wolf Spiderlings

Are Rabid Wolf Spiders Venomous?

Yes, Rabid Wolf Spiders are venomous. They use their venom to help catch their meals, but it’s not too strong for humans.

Female Rabid Wolf Spider

Can Rabid Wolf Spiders Bite?

Yes, Rabid Wolf Spiders can bite. They are not aggressive and usually run away if they feel threatened, or in danger. They would only inflict a bite if there is no other option, and the bite can be mildly painful, but has been defined as ‘medically insignificant’ (does not give any infection to humans).

Rabid Wolf Spider Web

Ecological Importance and Behavior of Rabid Wolf Spider

This species is an important biological control agent, preying on a variety of invertebrates including locusts, ants, grasshoppers, and crickets. Their presence helps maintain a balance in the ecosystems they inhabit, curbing potential insect overpopulation.

Natural Predators: Rabid Wolf Spiders themselves are prey to birds, larger wolf spiders, snakes, and occasionally domestic animals like dogs and cats. This predation is a natural part of the ecological cycle, ensuring the spider’s population remains in balance with the environment.

Prey-Predator Dynamics: The Rabid Wolf Spider’s interactions with its prey and predators reflect the dynamic balance of the ecosystems they inhabit. They are a crucial link in the food web, influencing the abundance and health of other species populations.

Relationship with Humans: While venomous, Rabid Wolf Spiders are not aggressive towards humans and tend to flee rather than bite. If they do bite, it’s generally considered medically insignificant. They are often found in human-proximate habitats but pose no significant threat.

Rabidosa rabida

Photo Credit: Bryan Tobias

Quick Facts

LifespanUp to two years in the wild
DistributionEastern to central parts of Texas and Oklahoma, in Nebraska, as far east as Maine, and down south as Florida
HabitatOn the ground in different open areas including farm fields, grassy lands, firewood or ground tunnels, under piles of leaves, or other ground clutter
Common predatorsBirds, larger wolf spiders, snakes, dogs, and cats
DietMostly prefer eating small insects and other invertebrates including locusts, ants, grasshoppers, crickets, and other smaller spiders

Did You Know

  • The rabid wolf spiders have the ability to swim in water.

In summary, the Rabid Wolf Spider is a non-web-spinning arachnid whose predatory nature aids in the regulation of insect populations, playing a vital ecological role.