An Introduction to Wolf Spiders
The Wolf spider (also known as the ‘hunting spider’ and the ‘ground spider’) is from the Lycosidae family. ‘Lycosidae’ meaning ‘Wolf’ in Greek. They most likely got their name due to their wolf-like stalking and chasing of prey.
Wolf spiders are typically large and hairy and are a mix of black, brown and grey in color. They are dangerous to humans as they are poisonous, however, their venom is not lethal.
|Color||Usually dark brown, often with paler (or sometimes yellow) stripes or markings|
|Shape||Stout-robust body with long, spiny legs|
|Size||3/8 – 1 3/8“ (female) 1/4 – 3/4“ (male)|
|Region||Found throughout U.S.|
Origins of Wolf Spiders
Wolf spiders fact can be found worldwide, but are most commonly found in Australia. They are distributed widely across inland regions due to their ability to disperse aerially as young spiders over large distances.
A fully grown wolf spider is usually around a half an inch to two inches in length. Their bodies are low to the ground, which makes them look like that they’re always on the prowl for prey, and have markings that resemble a Union Jack. The wolf spider has eight eyes in three rows: the top row features two medium-sized eyes, the middle row two very large eyes and the lower row has four small eyes.
Wolf spiders hunt day or night wandering for prey, like insects and small spiders. They mainly use their sight to locate prey, but also by touch. Their front legs are used to grab hold of prey and then bite, crushing it with their powerful mouthparts.
Wolf spiders dig holes or live under rocks. When it gets colder in the fall they look for warm places and can be found in and around homes, for example, around doors, windows, plants, and in basements and garages.
The mother Wolf spider carries her eggs around in a large silk sac on her abdomen. She usually lays a dozen eggs at a time. After hatching, the newborn spiders ride around on their mother’s back for a week.
Wolf spiders can live up to two years.
Quick Facts About Wolf Spiders
- Wolf spider’s fang-like mouthparts are called the ‘chelicerae’.
- When a Wolf spider grows to an adult, it sheds its skin several times.
- There are more than 2000 species of Wolf spider.
- There are 125 species of Wolf spider in the US, 50 in Europe.
- The Wolf spider was mentioned in Aristotle’s ‘History of Animals’.
- Wolf spiders do not make webs.
- Wolf spiders have an acute sense of touch