Wolf spiders come in many different shapes and sizes, and they are found in many places throughout the world. Do you want to learn more about these amazing arachnids and the specific places they call home? Keep reading as we discuss wolf spider habitat facts and other information.
What You'll Learn Today
What Are Wolf Spiders?
Wolf spiders are a type of arachnid belonging to the family Lycosidae. This is a very large family containing about 125 genera and almost 2,400 individual species.
Wolf spiders are so-named because, instead of building webs, they tend to hunt their prey like wolves: by stalking, ambushing, and pouncing on unsuspecting insects. Wolf spiders usually hunt after dark and have excellent night vision.
Wolf spiders eat many different kinds of insects, many of which are harmful to plants and crops, so they are considered beneficial to have around. Some of the larger wolf spiders may also eat small reptiles and amphibians.
Wolf spiders often grow up to two inches in diameter, with the females generally growing larger than the males. They are sometimes mistaken for tarantulas.
Check out this video to see a large wolf spider found in Florida:
Wolf spiders are often tan, brown, gray, or greenish in color, with darker lines or other markings on their backs; these colors and markings help them camouflage well with their surroundings. One of their identifying features is the fuzzy pedipalps which look like buck teeth hanging down from the face.
They have eight eyes arranged in rows: two large ones on top, then four small ones, then two more small ones underneath. Though most spiders have poor eyesight, wolf spiders can see incredibly well both in the daytime and at night.
Female wolf spiders carry their egg sacs attached to their spinnerets. When the young hatch, their mother often carries them around on her back, caring for them until they are old enough to disperse.
Wolf spiders typically live for anywhere from a year to 18 months, though some can live for several years. Their venomous bite is often painful and itchy but is generally considered harmless for humans.
Where Do Wolf Spiders Live?
In terms of distribution, wolf spiders are found worldwide. They live on every continent except for Antarctica.
They are also found in almost every country of the world. They do not live in extreme northern or southern regions, as it is too cold for them to survive near the poles.
Wolf spiders are nearly as common in the U.S. as they are in other countries. Of the 2,400 species living worldwide, around 200 are found in the United States.
What Is a Wolf Spider’s Preferred Habitat?
As a whole, wolf spiders don’t appear to have a preferred habitat. Individual species may prefer certain environments over others, but wolf spiders can be found in nearly every habitat throughout the world.
As mentioned above, wolf spiders don’t live in Antarctica or the polar regions. They are also rarely found in the harsher climates of tundra and taiga habitats.
Aside from these habitats, however, wolf spiders don’t seem to be very picky when it comes to the places they call home.
Young wolf spiders typically disperse through the air, so it’s not uncommon for them to travel far and wide from their place of birth. This is one reason for their wide distribution.
The other reason is that they can survive in a multitude of habitats. They are commonly found in meadows, grasslands, and plains regions; however, they will live anywhere they can find an abundance of insects to eat.
Some of the many habitats wolf spiders call home include:
- Coastal areas
- Woodland regions
- Alpine meadows
- Home gardens
- Swamps and wetlands
In addition to being found in the wild, many wolf spiders make their homes in urban residential areas. They are commonly seen in yards and gardens.
When the weather grows cold, they often move closer and closer to humans in an effort to find warm places to overwinter. It isn’t uncommon to find them in houses, garages, sheds, barns, and other manmade structures.
Wolf spiders are large arachnids with excellent eyesight that hunt their prey using attack and ambush techniques. These spiders can be found throughout the world and live in many different kinds of habitats. The only places they are unlikely to live are in cold polar and tundra environments.