Wolf Spiders

The wolf spiders are a term given to the members of the Lycosidae family comprising approximately 2300 species divided into over 100 genera. Robust and agile, they are adept hunters known for their powerful eyesight.

Physical Description & Identification

Adults

Size: These species differ in size ranging between 10 and 35 mm (0.4-1.38 inches).

Color: Wolf spiders have a brown body, though they may also be available in gray and black shades.

Other characteristics: They possess eight eyes arranged in rows of three. These species are highly tactile because of the sensory hairs present on their bodies and legs.  Their legs could be heavy (burrowing wolf spiders) or thin (as that of the members of the Pardosa genus).

Eggs

The sac is round and globe-shaped made of silk, which remains fixed to the female’s spinnerets situated on their abdomen, right at the end. In this manner, it gets easy for them to carry their little ones along always even before they are born.

Spiderlings

After emerging from the silken egg case, the spiderlings cling on to the dorsal part of their mother’s abdomen. The female carries the juvenile spiders until they can get about on their own.

The Web

They are hunting spiders and are not known to spin webs. Instead, they get after their prey using their strong hunting skills.

Are the Wolf Spiders Poisonous and Do They Bite

Though venomous, having the ability to paralyze their prey, it is not known to be dangerous to humans.  They are non-aggressive and would attack only when provoked. Their bite is equivalent to a bee sting causing itching, redness, and pain which may last for a few days.

Quick Facts

Lifespan Approximately one year
Distribution Continents of Asia, North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Australia
Habitat Shrublands, west coastal forests, woodland, homes and suburban gardens
Common Predators Wasps
Diet Cockroaches, ants, beetles, grasshoppers, crickets as well as small reptiles and amphibians

Did You Know

  • The Carolina Wolf Spider is known to be South Carolina’s state spider since 2000.
  • The largest wolf spider species is said to belong to the Hogna genus, with the Carolina wolf spider (H. carolinensis) being the biggest.
  • Species of the small genera dwell in Ireland and Britain.
  • Their ability to carry their unborn babies as well as spiderlings is considered to be the most unique, not seen in any other spider.
  • The fishing spider which is as good a hunter as the wolf spider with a sharp vision can often be confused with the latter. However, the significant differentiation factor is the arrangement of their eyes. In the former, there are four eyes arranged in two rows, while in the latter the eyes are placed in three rows.
  • Members of the Geolycosa genus are referred to as burrowing wolf spiders since they dwell in burrows.
  • They have an excellent jumping ability and can pounce on their prey with ease when on a hunting spree.